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Bordertown (1935)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  23 January 1935 (USA)
7.2
Your rating:
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 951 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 7 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:
...
...
...
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 »
Edit

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 »

Connections

Featured in All About Bette (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

La Cucaracha
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by guests at Johnny's graduation party
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Bordertown" evokes memories of "They Drive By Night"...
7 May 2009 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

PAUL MUNI with dark make-up and an Hispanic accent is a hot-blooded Mexican lawyer who turns to a different sort of life when his career as a lawyer leads nowhere. He works for EUGENE Palette in a gambling joint and is soon the jovial man's partner. On the sidelines watching him is BETTE DAVIS, in one of her early femme fatale roles, a bleached blonde whose advances toward Muni are promptly rebuffed.

A sub-plot involving Muni's romance with a society girl (MARGARET LINDSEY) is really rather predictable, especially when she flirts with him from the start and then turns on him when he becomes serious, flinging words at him like "savage" and "brute" and telling him to stay with "his own tribe." The script resolves this ill-fated affair in an abrupt manner before the fade-out.

The highlight of the drama is Bette Davis turning on Muni too, on the stand, declaring that he conspired with her to kill her husband, when in fact she is the guilty one. She goes to pieces on the stand, allowing us a Bette Davis moment that was an indication of the kind of actress she was on the verge of becoming.

Frankly, this whole story bears a strong relationship to another tale Warners produced in '41 with Ida Lupino as the stressed out woman filled with guilt over the murder of her husband. Lupino was even more impressive in her mad moment than Davis. In fact, the whole picture was smoother and produced with more polish than this similar version using some of the same story elements.

Summing up: Intense drama suffers from Muni's overacting as the Mexican lawyer and a script that doesn't develop the wife's character sufficiently to lead to her mental breakdown. A better version is THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT ('41)with George Raft and Ida Lupino and Alan Hale as the hubby she wants to get rid of.


4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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