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Bordertown (1935)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  23 January 1935 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 902 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 6 critic

Johnny Ramirez rises from bouncer to partner in Charlie Roark's border town casino. Charlie's wife Marie loves Johnny, but Johnny loves society woman Dale. Marie kills her husband, making ... See full summary »

Director:

(as Archie L. Mayo)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Marie Roark
...
Dale Elwell
...
Charlie Roark
Robert Barrat ...
Padre
Soledad Jiménez ...
Mrs. Ramirez (as Soledad Jimenez)
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
Harry
Gavin Gordon ...
Brook Manville
William B. Davidson ...
Dr. Carter (as William Davidson)
Arthur Stone ...
Manuel Diego
Vivian Tobin ...
Mrs. Garner
Edit

Storyline

Johnny Ramirez rises from bouncer to partner in Charlie Roark's border town casino. Charlie's wife Marie loves Johnny, but Johnny loves society woman Dale. Marie kills her husband, making it look like suicide. She tells Johnny she committed murder for him and, still rejected, tells the police that she and Johnny murdered Charlie. She goes crazy in court and Johnny goes free. Dale runs from Johnny and dies in an auto crash. Johnny sells the casino. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

23 January 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Barreira  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Muni hired a Mexican man as chauffeur to study his accent and mannerisms in preparation for this role. See more »

Goofs

Camera shadow on Johnny and Dale when they are dancing at the opening of Johnny's casino. See more »


Soundtracks

La Cachimba de San Juan
(uncredited)
Music by Lorenzo Barcelata
See more »

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User Reviews

 
South of the border
26 June 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Archie Mayo's "Bordertown" is a film that by today's standards would be deemed politically incorrect. The idea of the poor Mexican immigrant that wants to better himself, only to see people step all over him, is at the center of this tale.

Juan Ramirez, the young lawyer, trying to defend the victim of an accident caused by the young and reckless Dale Elwell, is defeated by a much more experienced Anglo lawyer, who happened to know the system and the judge, obviously. As a result, Juan, decides to leave L.A. to go to a border town, probably Tijuana, where he becomes a partner of Charlie Roark, a decent man who sees the potential in Johnny, as he calls himself now.

What Charlie doesn't know is that he is married to a scheming woman that couldn't care less for him. She has to get rid of her husband in order to get her hands on his money and looks to Johnny to help her, but of course, he wants nothing to do with her.

Paul Muni was a great star at Warner Bros. at the time of this film. We were never fans of Mr. Muni, who in this film gives a clichéd account of the Hispanic Juan in a performance that goes over the top and doesn't convince anyone. On the other hand, Bette Davis, as Marie Roark, is her usual excellent self in a more nuanced performance. We see why later on, Ms. Davis will use all what she shows in this film and more to be the great star that she was. In minor roles, the formidable Eugene Palette plays Charlie Roark and Margaret Lindsay is seen as Dale Elwell, the rich girl that provoked the accident.

This film is a rarity seldom seen these days.


20 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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