IMDb > Borderline (1930)

Borderline (1930) More at IMDbPro »

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Kenneth MacPherson (written by)
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Release Date:
13 October 1930 (UK) See more »
A negro woman having an adulterous affair with a white man causes his wife to go mad and re-enforces the towns-folk's prejudice against Negroes. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Absorbing, Jarring, Atmospheric...Not for Everyone See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Paul Robeson ... Pete - a Negro
Eslanda Robeson ... Adah - a Negro Woman
Hilda Doolittle ... Astrid (as Helga Doorn)
Gavin Arthur ... Thorne - Her Husband
Charlotte Arthur ... The Barmaid
Blanche Lewin ... The Old Lady
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Winifred Ellerman ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Kenneth MacPherson  (as Kenneth Macpherson)
Writing credits
Kenneth MacPherson (written by) (as Kenneth Macpherson)

Produced by
Bryher MacPherson .... producer
Kenneth MacPherson .... producer
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
63 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:


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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
Absorbing, Jarring, Atmospheric...Not for Everyone, 13 July 2004
Author: Enrique Sanchez from Miami, FL

Yes, and odd and confusing and a dozen other adjectives that make you think just what kind of movie this is!

This is not a movie for most people. It's more like an experience, an ahead-of-its-time extended music video. Most of the action is stifled, static and repressed. The images seem like set-pieces, paintings in time, feelings encased in poses. All which remind me of famous Greek director, Theo Angelopoulos and his static images - which were not static at all - since they housed emotions and a participation of audience in conjecturing what they were seeing by a process of mental elimination of causes and possible actions.

BORDERLINE - instead of being images of things, gazes at people and we are challenged to discover just what it is they are thinking. Mostly because the number of intertitles is scant and far between.

All this is to say -- this is not an easy film to watch. I enjoyed immersing myself in the images, however. The story is rather odd in itself - perhaps it was risqué for its time. In fact, I am sure that a biracial relationship was off-center for those times. As were its sexual undertones.

Indeed, I think the film's title is about the BORDERLINE type of lifestyle that these people wanted to live. And in turn, the consequences, emotional and social, which affected their decisions surrounding this.

This sort of "experimental" film has been done and redone thousands of times by professionals and film students during the 20th century. Perhaps never as compelling as in this film - which is a landmark of sorts for film buffs.

Yet, I repeat, not for everyone.

The film is really about the myriad psychological states that we go through during a relationship -- and racial prejudice is the juice that runs this study. But there are sometimes subtle and sometimes obvious moments of homosexual metaphor scattered throughout.

Don't watch this movie if you are in a hurry. The film won't go faster just because you want it to.

Intriguing but not altogether successful - but highly recommended for film buffs and Gothic types. Both in which I've dabbled through the years.

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