6.9/10
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Bordertown (1935)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 23 January 1935 (USA)
In Mexico, a former lawyer becomes the invaluable second-in-command to a casino owner, whose wife begins to fall for him.

Director:

Archie Mayo (as Archie L. Mayo)

Writers:

Laird Doyle (screen play), Wallace Smith (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Muni ... Johnny Ramirez
Bette Davis ... Marie Roark
Margaret Lindsay ... Dale Elwell
Eugene Pallette ... Charlie Roark
Robert Barrat ... Padre
Soledad Jiménez ... Mrs. Ramirez (as Soledad Jimenez)
Hobart Cavanaugh ... Harry
Gavin Gordon ... Brook Manville
William B. Davidson ... Dr. Carter (as William Davidson)
Arthur Stone ... Manuel Diego
Vivian Tobin ... Mrs. Garner
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Carmen Gould Carmen Gould
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Storyline

Embittered when prejudice cuts short his nascent law career, once-idealistic Johnny Ramirez leaves his home in Los Angeles and ends up in Mexico. He quickly becomes the invaluable second-in-command to Charlie Roark, the owner of a border-town casino. But Roark's wife falls hard for Johnny and goes to great lengths to make him hers, which sets in motion more perilous events. Written by Determined Copy Editor

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

23 January 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Barreira See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Muni hired a Mexican man as chauffeur to study his accent and mannerisms in preparation for this role. See more »

Goofs

Camera shadow on Johnny and Dale when they are dancing at the opening of Johnny's casino. See more »

Quotes

Marie Roark: The only fun I get is feeding the goldfish, and they only eat once a day.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

I Wish I Had Wings
(1932) (uncredited)
Music by Harry M. Woods
Played at the Silver Slipper
See more »

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User Reviews

 
South of the border
26 June 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Archie Mayo's "Bordertown" is a film that by today's standards would be deemed politically incorrect. The idea of the poor Mexican immigrant that wants to better himself, only to see people step all over him, is at the center of this tale.

Juan Ramirez, the young lawyer, trying to defend the victim of an accident caused by the young and reckless Dale Elwell, is defeated by a much more experienced Anglo lawyer, who happened to know the system and the judge, obviously. As a result, Juan, decides to leave L.A. to go to a border town, probably Tijuana, where he becomes a partner of Charlie Roark, a decent man who sees the potential in Johnny, as he calls himself now.

What Charlie doesn't know is that he is married to a scheming woman that couldn't care less for him. She has to get rid of her husband in order to get her hands on his money and looks to Johnny to help her, but of course, he wants nothing to do with her.

Paul Muni was a great star at Warner Bros. at the time of this film. We were never fans of Mr. Muni, who in this film gives a clichéd account of the Hispanic Juan in a performance that goes over the top and doesn't convince anyone. On the other hand, Bette Davis, as Marie Roark, is her usual excellent self in a more nuanced performance. We see why later on, Ms. Davis will use all what she shows in this film and more to be the great star that she was. In minor roles, the formidable Eugene Palette plays Charlie Roark and Margaret Lindsay is seen as Dale Elwell, the rich girl that provoked the accident.

This film is a rarity seldom seen these days.


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