To penetrate a gang exploiting illegal Mexican farmworkers smuggled into California (and leaving no live witnesses), Mexican federal agent Pablo Rodriguez poses as an ignorant bracero, while his American counterpart Jack Bearnes works from outside. Soon, both are in deadly danger from the ringleader, sinister rancher Owen Parkson, and find night on the farm to be full of shadowy film-noir menace...Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Near movie's end, Pablo Rodriguez (Montalban) is almost fully submerged in quicksand. However, immediately upon being pulled out, he looks like he's had a shower; the quicksand that had been on his face and hair is completely gone. See more »
Border Incident is directed by Anthony Mann and adapted to screenplay by John C. Higgins from the George Zuckerman story. It stars Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, Howard Da Silva, Charles McGraw, Arthur Hunnicutt and James Mitchell. Music is by Andre Previn and cinematography by John Alton.
The great Anthony Mann creates what is the perfect crossover movie that blends film noir style with western shadings. Mann would next go on to make the well regarded psychological westerns with James Stewart, Border Incident is the tasty meat in his noir/western sandwich.
In essence it's a remake of T-Men, only Mann and his team have shifted away from a hustle and bustle city setting to tell a story down on the sweaty American/Mexico border. We are probing into immigration issues, human smuggling and the abuse of such, Mann and his writers daring to portray the human suffering of farm workers from Mexico, lured in as slave labour, only to then be abused and used and much worse...
Having the legendary Alton on photography duties aids the downbeat thematics considerably, whilst also deftly averting attention from what is a pretty bog standard script, the low budgets never a problem where Mann and Alton were concerned. In fact, in noirville they worked it to their advantage with some striking lighting techniques and camera movements.
The pic is often vicious, sadistic even, landing violent scenes in the conscious that refuse to move until it's all over and the screen goes blank. Suspense is never far away in Border Incident, with a mostly on form cast (George Murphy is uneven as McGraw does nasty brilliantly) bringing the material to life as the dream team cloak it all in pictorial assertiveness. Not in the same league as Raw Deal, but highly recommended for reasons already stated. 8/10
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