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Lost Boundaries (1949)

 -  Drama  -  2 July 1949 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 188 users  
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This story is a true account of the lives of Scott and Marsha Carter. Having graduated from medical school, Scott Carter, a fair-skinned African American, marries Marsha Mitchell and moves ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Beatrice Pearson ...
Scott Mason Carter
Susan Douglas Rubes ...
Shelly Carter (as Susan Douglas)
Robert A. Dunn ...
Rev. John Taylor (as Rev. Robert A. Dunn)
Richard Hylton ...
Howard 'Howie' Carter
Grace Coppin ...
Mrs. Mitchell
Carleton Carpenter ...
Seth Arnold ...
Clint Adams
Wendell Holmes ...
Mr. Morris Mitchell
Parker Fennelly ...
Alvin Tupper
Ralph Riggs ...
Loren Tucker
William Greaves ...
Arthur 'Art' Cooper
Ray Saunders ...
Dr. Jesse Pridham (as Rai Saunders)
Leigh Whipper ...
Morton Stevens ...
Dr. Walter Brackett


This story is a true account of the lives of Scott and Marsha Carter. Having graduated from medical school, Scott Carter, a fair-skinned African American, marries Marsha Mitchell and moves to Georgia. When he arrives at the black clinic in Georgia, he discovers that the job must inconveniently go to a Southerner. Discussions between two nurses at this clinic suggest that Scott's light skin may have some bearing on the decision not to hire him. Defeated but not conquered, Scott returns to Massachusetts to live with his in-laws until he can get employment. He tries unsuccessfully to obtain employment as an African American. Because Marsha is pregnant, Scott decides to take a job at Portsmouth Hospital, but he reluctantly does so as a white man. While there, he manages to save the life of Dr. Bracket, who encourages him to take a postion in Keenham, New Hampshire. Scott decides to continue "passing" for white. In Keenham, Dr. Scott Carter proves to be quite a success for the town. For ... Written by Broncine G. Carter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The True Story Of A Family Who Lived A Lie For Twenty Years!




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Release Date:

2 July 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Den osynliga gränsen  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$250,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Dr. Carter is shown traveling by U.S. Coast Guard boat from Portsmouth N.H. to the Isle of Shoals, about 6 nautical miles from the city harbor. However, when the boat arrives to its destination it is actually the Cape Neddick Lighthouse station (a.k.a. the Nubble) just off the coast from York, ME. The house the doctor is shown entering is the lighthouse keeper's residence. See more »


Referenced in That's Black Entertainment (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

Is Light skin better? The hypocrisy of Hollywood!
19 May 2006 | by (Michigan) – See all my reviews

Quite moving. The only complaint I have is Hollywood was very hypocritical. They do a movie on blacks passing as white because of lack of opportunities but they won't give real blacks a chance to play the leading parts in Pinky and Lost Boundaries. The leading characters are good in their roles, they try really hard to step in the shoes of the Negro but they don't know what it's really like for a Negro or a white-looking Negro. The movie would have been more so effective with white-looking, mulatto Black actors/actresses playing the part. Fredi Washington was the only white-looking Negro to play a true mulatto in Imitation of Life. There were many white looking black actors and actresses who could have played the leading parts such as Hilda Simms, Anne Wiggins Brown, Fredi Washington, Jack Carter, Barrington Guy, Monte Hawley, Niles Wells, Dick Campbell, Lorenzo Tucker, Frank Silvera but Hollywood rather use white actors and actresses who didn't even look mulatto to play white Negroes. I feel if your gonna do a movie on light-skinned Blacks passing as whites, at least, get whites who look the part. Linda Darnell would have been perfect as the mulatto in this movie and in Pinky because Linda looks mulatto, she don't look like the average white woman just like Ava Gardner and Helen Morgan who played mulattoes in Showboat. Hollywood's main audience were white so they catered to white audiences and they knew whites didn't want to see REAL white-looking Negroes passing for white being among whites on screen, it would be too real for white America, they rather see white actors playing the "passing" role.

I often wonder how could a so-called Black look white and not be white? I feel if you look white, why not be white if that's dominant in you regardless if you have one or two drops of black blood. No one is pure 100% white or black. Whites made the rule that if you got one or two drops of black blood in you, your Black even if you look white. White America didn't want mixed blood in their race, even if it was their fault, so they called the mixed blood ones mulattoes and kept a close eye on them making sure they didn't pass. One thing I want to add is not every mulatto wanted to be white, not all of them were confused and ashamed like these movies try to make lighter complected Negroes out to be. Not all of them were forced to be Black by society, many chose to be Black. Many white looking Blacks were more prouder to be Black then some darker ones. Many never took the easy way out by passing when they could have but it never crossed the minds of ones actors mentioned above. Leonard Reed, a popular performer in his time lived as Black and white but he was mostly involved in the Black race.

When people say light skin is better do they mean if your light you have a better chance at a better life because you can pass for white? This movie proved whites didn't care how light a black person looked, if you had black ancestry, black family, black blood, your in the same boat as darker Blacks. Don't let other people's prejudice and racism be your problem, that's their problem. Being white doesn't automatically mean your free and perfect. This same year this movie came out, one of the first black female playwrights Elsie Roxborough committed suicide after passing for white for over 10 years, she wasn't much of a success as a white woman as she was a Black woman which goes to prove the grass isn't always so greener on the other side.

The young kids in the movie after finding out their Black already know at a young age the ridicule they will face in life and automatically they think something is wrong with them because society teaches kids at a young age, white is right and black is bad by separating and by talk. Movies of this type always try to make it look like Black people's problems are their own faults and whites done nothing wrong when it was whites who taught self-hatred to the Negro and brainwashed everyone to feel something is wrong with Blacks. If this really was the land of the free no one would hate or feel the need to pass to have a better life.

Some passed for white to help their race later like in slavery time mulattoes would pass later to return to buy their family who were still slaves and give them freedom. Many would trick whites like by buying a home from whites that they couldn't get if it was known they were Black. Some felt the white man do wrong by being prejudice so blacks did wrong by passing. This movie proves judge a person by their work, heart, goodness, forget color and race. This movie also proves not everyone hates their race but if their desperate enough to pass to get what they want they will pass. Merle Oberon hid her true race because she knew she wouldn't have become a big star. So she tricked Hollywood. Frank Silvera was a black man who passed in Hollywood movies. Some still don't know that he was a black man. He played different races on screen but off screen he was a black man. The only way for him to show his talent and not be judged was by tricking the whites in Hollywood and Broadway. Many non-whites passed and hid their true identity, or let people guess in Hollywood, Broadway, and in the world so they couldn't be judged wrongfully. So maybe light skin is better if you chose to pass. A racist and prejudice person is a person has an inferiority complex they have to make others feel something is wrong with them to make themselves feel good.

7 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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