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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

Modern film for its time
18 December 2009 | by JoeytheBritSee all my reviews

This little-seen experimental film definitely won't be to everyone's taste, but I was impressed by how modern it looked (apart from the lack of sound, it wouldn't have looked out of place in the late-1950s, early 1960s) and the bohemian atmosphere it created. The film makes very little use of intertitles, and so the story can be a little tricky to follow at times, but it isn't all that complicated and an attentive viewer should be easily able to fill in any gaps along the way.

Paul Robeson stars as the husband of a half-caste woman who has had an affair with a white man in a small village in Switzerland. She has ended the affair, but too late to save the marriage, and her lover – who is also married – is having trouble coming to terms with the split. The racial tolerance subject matter and message is fairly rare for the time, and is handled with a surprising amount of maturity. For the peripheral figures caught up in the fallout from the affair, life eventually continues unchanging, and the entire film is pervaded with an air of melancholia.

Although the story does drag a little at times, and the director's choice of shot is sometimes open to question, the look and feel of the film, and the way it brims with innovative ideas (for its time) make this worth watching.


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