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Borderline (1930)

Not Rated | | Drama | 13 October 1930 (UK)
A negro woman having an adulterous affair with a white man causes his wife to go mad and re-enforces the towns-folk's prejudice against Negroes.

Director:

Kenneth MacPherson (as Kenneth Macpherson)

Writer:

Kenneth MacPherson (as Kenneth Macpherson)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Robeson ... Pete - a Negro
Eslanda Robeson Eslanda Robeson ... Adah - a Negro Woman
Hilda Doolittle Hilda Doolittle ... Astrid (as Helga Doorn)
Gavin Arthur Gavin Arthur ... Thorne - Her Husband
Charlotte Arthur Charlotte Arthur ... The Barmaid
Blanche Lewin Blanche Lewin ... The Old Lady
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Storyline

Adah, a black woman, has an affair with Thorne, a white man, much to the dismay of some of the prejudiced townsfolk and Thorne's wife, Astrid. Adah attempts a reconciliation with her man, Pete, but eventually leaves him and the town. Meanwhile, Astrid goes mad and cuts Thorne's face and arm with a knife, but then mysteriously dies. Thorne is tried but acquitted. Because of the events, the mayor sends Pete a letter asking him to leave town for the good of all concerned. Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

UK

Release Date:

13 October 1930 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Límite: Borderline See more »

Filming Locations:

Lake Geneva, Switzerland

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pool Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #371. See more »

Alternate Versions

A version with an organ accompaniment has been released by Rohauer Films, Inc. The music was composed and performed by Lee Erwin, and recorded at Carnegie Hall Cinema, New York. The running time is 63 minutes. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lack of adequate inter-titles make this silent film about inter-racial love and racism hard to appreciate, but Paul Robeson is always a pleasure to watch.
23 October 1998 | by Art-22See all my reviews

This experimental silent film, made in Switzerland by an independent British film company, is chiefly remembered as Paul Robeson's first film. It's very artistic, with shots often seeming meaningless to the story, which is difficult to understand anyway because of the lack of enough inter-titles. From what I gathered, Robeson's wife, Adah, is in an inter-racial love affair with a white man called Thorne. It doesn't bother the cigar-chomping owner of the bar/hotel where Thorne lives (and she seems to be having a lesbian relationship with a barmaid), but an old lady expresses the town's point of view in an inter-title: "If I had my way, we wouldn't allow negroes in here." Thorne is also called "nigger lover" by someone in the bar. Adah tries a reconciliation with Pete (Robeson), but eventually leaves him. Thorne's wife, Astrid, goes off the deep end, brandishes a knife, cuts Thorne's arm and cheek, and somehow dies. Thorne must have been accused of murder because we learn he was acquitted. As for Pete, he gets a letter from the mayor telling him it is best for everyone that he leave town. So the film is more about racism than anything, but in an up note, the owner tells Pete "The sad thing is, they think they're right. That's the way we are." The meaning of the title is a mystery. It may refer to Adah being light-skinned (a borderline negro) or to the borderline behavior of of the main characters.


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