6.2/10
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Forbidden Passage (1941)

Approved | | Short, Crime, Drama | 8 February 1941 (USA)
The MGM Crime Reporter introduces Frank J. Maxwell, Florida District Director of the US Immigration Service, who talks about illegal immigration, and the unscrupulous people and ... See full summary »

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(original story), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Frank J. Maxwell
...
Otto Kestler
...
Clements
...
American Consul in Lisbon
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Storyline

The MGM Crime Reporter introduces Frank J. Maxwell, Florida District Director of the US Immigration Service, who talks about illegal immigration, and the unscrupulous people and organizations that smuggle in illegal immigrants for a fee, often with deadly results to the immigrants if they become a liability. In one such case, wrapped bodies are found at the bottom a Florida swamp, found to be dumped while the victims were still alive. One victim is identified as Pablo Rivas, a foreigner who had previously lived in the US, but was sent back to Portugal where he was placed on a quota waiting list for permanent reentry. Because the dead were a mixture of different races, Immigration Services believes the smugglers have a Caribbean transit camp used as the direct entry point into the US. Meanwhile, Otto Kestler, an Austrian national, is much in the same position as Rivas, he now on a waiting list for reentry to join his family already living in the States. Not willing to wait the year the... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

8 February 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Crime Does Not Pay (1940-1941 season) #4: Forbidden Passage  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
The Forbidden Passage Is To America And Freedom
11 February 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Immigration issues are always tricky to deal with in American cinema because the contribution of immigration to our national character and prosperity due to the unlimited immigration of the 19th century is still a matter of pride and should be. But during the Roaring Twenties when we adopted more stringent immigration policy our attitudes changed. Even now sad to say its not uncommon for the descendants of immigrants to be the ones pushing the hardest for stringent immigration policy. It's like the last groups in want to bang the door shut and lock it against the future.

So in the Thirties with a whole lot of folks looking to get out of Europe because of Fascism, Communism and whatever other kind of totalitarianism you can name, we see MGM lauding the US Immigration Service in this Crime Does Not Pay Short. It's an ironic title here, Forbidden Passage, because the title is referring to a Forbidden Passage to America and freedom for the people you see in this short. Further ironical because it's directed by Fred Zinnemann who also fled Europe and would go on to a directorial career that got him two Oscars.

Addison Richards plays the intrepid head of the Florida branch of our Immigration Service and the short shows how he and our government deal with people who ruthlessly take advantage of the hopes and aspirations of millions of refugees. We still got those kind of ruthless people today.

This film might be timely for some even now because Moslem terrorism has kept immigration as an issue on the front burner. But in 1941 before Pearl Harbor this was one great message for our film industry to be sending abroad. Stay in Europe and be persecuted or risk running our strict immigration laws in America. I guess in one word a review of this film is YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESH.

And Forbidden Passage got nominated for Best Short Subject. All I can say is DOUBLE YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESH.


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