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Border River (1954)

6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 169 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 5 critic

A Confederate officer and his men journey to Mexico to buy guns to continue the war effort. A Union officer determines to stop them.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Clete Mattson
...
Carmelita Carias
...
General Calleja (as Pedro Armendariz)
Alfonso Bedoya ...
Captain Vargas
Howard Petrie ...
Newlund
Erika Nordin ...
Annina Strasser
George J. Lewis ...
Sanchez
Nacho Galindo ...
Lopez
Ivan Triesault ...
Baron Von Hollden
George Wallace ...
Fletcher
Lane Chandler ...
Anderson
Joe Bassett ...
Stanton
Salvador Baguez ...
General Robles
Felipe Turich ...
Pablo
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Storyline

Zona Libre is a small enclave across the river from America. Despotically ruled by General Calleja, it offers sanctuary to outlaws, at a price. Newly arrived is Clete Mattson who has $2million in gold to buy guns for the Confederacy. But who can he trust with so much money around? Certainly not Calleja, but maybe the eye-catching Carmelita? The General thinks she's his property but she seems rather to fancy Mattson. Whatever's going on, Mexico wants the place back. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Zona Libre ... where everything had its price ... but her kind of trouble was free !

Genres:

Romance | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 January 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Teufelspassage  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Fred H. Detmers, Technicolor's domestic sales manager, in the June-July 1968 issue of "Films in Review," this was the last film shot in the Three-strip Technicolor process. See more »

Quotes

General Eduardo Calleja: [to Carmelita] So. you prefer the gringo. Well, I tell you one thing - you'll never have him.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great cast, mediocre action, retread plot
27 April 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As a longtime Joel McCrea fan, I thought I had seen most all, if not all, of his westerns. But I evidently was wrong (for once in my 75 years!!!), as I had never seen this one until it showed up on the Western Channel recently.

As westerns go it was "Ho-um", which was surprising considering the cast: Joel McCrea, Luscious Yvonne De Carlo, and the always hilarious Alfonso Bedoya; who's animated performance steals every scene he is in.

Other reviewers have criticized this film for its sympathetic portrayal of Southern rebels trying to get stolen Yankee gold to the Confederacy, but this is not the first film to do a similar story. Virginia City with Errol Flynn & Randolph Scott, and Great Day in the morning with Robert Stack are two that come to mind. All three of these are fanciful Civil War out west tales about a Confederate scheme at the last minute to smuggle several millions in gold bullion into the South for supplies to keep the war going. And what happens in the end of all of these strains credulity to say the least.

BUT, these are movies, NOT documentaries, and made for entertainment, to sell tickets & popcorn, not to pay homage to the South, and not to be to closely analyzed as there are plenty of ridiculous plot holes and unreal situations.

Since this film was directed by George Sherman I had expected it to have the same quality great action scenes that he had been known for in all his many westerns from the 30's & 40's. Needless to say it fell flat there for the most part.

One area that they tried to be accurate on was the type of handgun every one carried: the Remington 1858 Cap & ball, fairly correct for the period. Except during the final showdown/shootout they more conveniently substituted the Single Action Colt, which was modified to look like the Remington. My guess is that this was more economical as it allowed used of the then popular 5-in-1 blanks used in most Westerns. For the uninitiated, these were blanks that would fit & fire in any revolver of 38-40, 44-40, 45 Colt calibers, and lever actions of 38-40 or 44-40 calibers.

The best part of any western, especially ones shot in color, are the beautiful outdoor location scenes, and here they almost overshadow the weak script.

This could've been a really good western, it's a shame it didn't live up to its potential, but its worth watching if only for the two leads.


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