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The Great Divide (1929)

Passed | | Western | 17 March 1930 (Sweden)
Steven Ghent has decided to sell the mine he's owned for fifteen years, located at the border of Mexico where the Great Divide ends. When the representatives are delayed for a few days, he ... See full summary »


Reginald Barker


William Vaughn Moody (by), Fred Myton (screen version & dialogue) | 3 more credits »


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Cast overview:
Dorothy Mackaill ... Ruth Jordan
Ian Keith ... Steven Ghent
Myrna Loy ... Manuella
Creighton Hale ... Edgar Blossom
Lucien Littlefield ... Texas Tommy
Ben Hendricks Jr. Ben Hendricks Jr. ... Dutch Romero
George Fawcett ... Macgregor
Claude Gillingwater ... Winthrop Amesbury
Roy Stewart ... Joe Morgan
Jean Laverty ... Verna
Frank Tang Frank Tang ... Wong


Steven Ghent has decided to sell the mine he's owned for fifteen years, located at the border of Mexico where the Great Divide ends. When the representatives are delayed for a few days, he visits the annual Fiesta for the last time, and he encounters Ruth Jordan, the daughter of his long-dead partner, and discovers that she is a decadent, world-weary society girl. He decides that she's in need of reforming, and that a dose of the Greats Outdoors might do it - so he kidnaps her. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Kidnaped! By the man she hated...and loved. Yes, loved enough to sacrifice her reputation to save his life! (Print Ad- St. Joseph News-Press, ((St. Joseph, Mo.)) 14 September 1929)




Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 March 1930 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Amor Silvestre See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Apparatus)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Released in both a sound and a silent version, allowing it to be distributed to theaters not yet equipped with sound systems. See more »


Version of The Great Divide (1915) See more »


Si, Si, Señor
Lyrics by Herman Ruby
Music by Ray Perkins
Copyright 1929 by M. Witmark & Sons
See more »

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User Reviews

Worth seeing just to see Myrna Loy playing a fiery Mexican-American!
7 December 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Despite Myrna Loy's wonderful niche as a smart, sweet and somewhat sexy girl-next-door type in the 1930s and 40s, early in her career MGM had no idea what to do with this actress and had her appearing in many bizarre roles--roles which today just seem ludicrous. But hindsight is 20/20...although it's easy to laugh at her playing Chinese ladies ("Mask of Fu Manchu"), a murderess ("Thirteen Women"), the witch, Morgan le Fe ("A Connecticut Yankee") and a Mexican-American with a crazy accent here in this film. This is reason enough to see this early western talkie as Loy seldom made bad films or embarrassed herself like she did in this one! It is fortunate that TCM showed the sound version...otherwise so much of her odd performance would have been lost!

Speaking of sound. 1929 was still early in the talking picture business and the sound here is scratchy. Additionally, they decided to make this a singing cowboy sort of western and the songs are pretty crappy. I don't hold this against the film...the medium was young and the sound was tinny in all movies in 1929. In fact, to have singing they hadn't even worked out having the singers sing to recorded music and they had to literally have an orchestra just off camera playing live to have music in films! So cut the film a bit of slack...even when the hero sings with his incredibly high voice and when Myrna croons (though I doubt if she's actually singing)!

As for the plot, Steven (Ian Keith) is going to sell his mine located near the Mexican border and move. So, he decides to go to the local fiesta for one last time and there meets Ruth (Dorothy Mackaill) and is shocked that she is a haughty, decadent jerk- face...and she also happens to be the daughter of his old partner that died long ago. Deciding to teach her a lesson and make her a better person, he does what any normal, sane person would do...he kidnaps her!! He thinks that forcing this spoiled lady to spend life in the great outdoors is just what's needed to reform Ruth!* Fortunately, she comes down with a case of the Stockholm Syndrome and all is well by the end of the picture.

So is all this any good? Well, for 1929 it's okay. When seen today, it comes off as silly and very dated. The actors tried hard (Myrna tried TOO hard) and such silly and inconsequential films would become passé even by 1932 or 1933. Worth seeing if you are a film historian or you like seeing famous stars in god-awful performances...otherwise it's an easy film to skip.

*NOTE: Do NOT take Steven's advice! Although this invariably works out just fine in films, you're likely to earn at least 10-15 years in prison for such a lesson! Kidnapping is wrong...and punishable in a Federal penitentiary. Repeat after me...'Kidnapping is against the law and punishment will be swift and sure'.

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