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The Border Menace (1934)

Ranger Bill Williams goes to prison to get information on Chuck Adams. Then a fake posse chase gets him invited into Adams' gang. But just as he learns who Adams' boss is and is about to ... See full summary »

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(original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Bill 'The Shadow' Williams
Miriam Rice ...
Helen Millette
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Chuck Adams
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Polecat Pete (as Jimmie Aubrey)
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Dragon Morris (as Benny Corbett)
Frank Clark ...
Banker Harris
James Donnelly ...
Millette (as Jim Donelly)
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Storyline

Ranger Bill Williams goes to prison to get information on Chuck Adams. Then a fake posse chase gets him invited into Adams' gang. But just as he learns who Adams' boss is and is about to make his move, his cell mate who escaped from prison returns to identify him. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

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Western

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1 April 1934 (USA)  »

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(International Recording System)

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1.37 : 1
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Has been described by many western film historians, reviewers and aficionados as the worst "B" western ever made. See more »

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A Professional Rat
26 June 2010 | by See all my reviews

After years of watching B westerns as a kid when television ran them endlessly to now when I can view them with a critical eye, there are distinctions to be made. If you were a B picture cowboy if you were lucky you got to Republic Pictures for which the B western was their bread and butter. Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and the most famous cowboy of all John Wayne worked for Republic. If you were lucky you also worked in the B picture unit of a class studio like Paramount where Bill Boyd did the Hopalong Cassidy series.

But the worst of them were these fly by night independent studios like Arwon Pictures which produced The Border Menace which starred Bill Cody a great western name and no relation at all to Buffalo Bill.

The premise of The Border Menace is that Cody is an undercover Texas Ranger who infiltrates gangs and then rats them out. I'm sure that back in the old west as today, when one goes undercover the idea is to BLEND in. Cody with his cowboy hero Tom Mix like get up just doesn't convince.

He infiltrates a gang trying to get some oil lands in Texas and the idea is to find out the real brains behind the outfit. It's not the strong arm guy George Cheesebro. It's rather obvious who it is, but Cody nearly gets done in when a guy he doublecrossed into prison gets out and joins the gang. The same gimmick nearly did in Edmond O'Brien as the undercover guy in White Heat. But that's a film light years better.

The best part of the film is the rip snorting comic relief provided by Jimmy Aubrey with the great western name of Polecat Pete. From the distance folks kept from him, I assume that was a comment on his personal hygiene.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but essentially Cody is a professional rat in The Border Menace. He only looks the part of the cowboy hero here.


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