5 user 1 critic

Border Phantom (1937)

Cowboy Larry O'Day and his sidekick Lucky Smith happen upon a distraught Barbara Hartwell, who is about to be arrested for the murder of her uncle. With Barbara behind bars, Larry is ... See full summary »


S. Roy Luby


Fred Myton (original story), Fred Myton (screenplay)

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Complete credited cast:
Bob Steele ... Larry O'Day
Harley Wood ... Barbara Hartwell
Don Barclay ... Lucky Smith
Karl Hackett Karl Hackett ... Obed Young
Horace Murphy ... Sheriff
Miki Morita Miki Morita ... Chang Lu
Perry Murdock Perry Murdock ... Jim Barton
John S. Peters John S. Peters ... Dr. Von Kurtz (as John Peters)
Frank Ball ... Prof. Andrew Hartwell


Cowboy Larry O'Day and his sidekick Lucky Smith happen upon a distraught Barbara Hartwell, who is about to be arrested for the murder of her uncle. With Barbara behind bars, Larry is determined to find the real killer and soon finds himself in the middle of a mystery involving crazed German entomologists and a smuggling ring bringing Chinese "picture girls" across the Mexican border for sale to wealthy Chinese bachelors. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

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Release Date:

7 June 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Fantasma da Fronteira See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Supreme Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


"Variety" (17 February 1937) credits Hans Joby with the role of Dr. Von Kurtz, but film credits as well as visual examination confirm that John S. Peters plays the part. See more »


[first lines]
[to a reporter who is cleaning his fingernails]
Big-City Editor: If you discover paydirt, let me know.
See more »

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User Reviews

Slick, Well Acted and Dull
29 June 2018 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Entomologist Frank Ball is bughunting near the Mexican border. He tells his niece, Harley Wood, to take a message in to sheriff Horace Murphy. As Miss Wood goes to her horse, she hears a shot and rushes back to find her uncle dead. Soon she finds herself in jail under suspicion of murder. Can wandering cowboy Bob Steele and comic sidekick Don Barclay untangle the mystery?

Bob Steele's westerns were a lot slicker now that they were being financed and released by Republic Pictures, and there's little doubt that director S. Roy Luby, whose other job was editor, knew how to order the set-ups for under-rated cameraman Jack Greenhaigh efficiently. The problem is with the script by Fred Myton, who had been writing silents and B movies since 1916. Steele was an action star, whose athletic and acrobatic movements had been well served by direction by his father, Robert Bradbury. In this one, he has to spend most of his time talking. He doesn't even get into a fistfight with anyone until 51 minutes into the movie, and then all the action shots are chopped up by cross-cutting.

Myton's script also uses standard tropes: dumb cops, mysterious Orientals who dress in traditional Chinese garb in the middle of the American desert... with changes of costumes the whole movie could have been shifted to an urban setting with little loss. While the actors give good performances, and that's nice, that's not what's supposed to distinguish westerns; good westerns, even B westerns, require open vistas, horses, action and more of the culture that makes the West different from downtown than a comic sidekick wearing chaps.

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