Bordertown

1935

Bordertown

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 8

39%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 90
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Movie Info

Paul Muni stars in this drama about a romantic triangle that leads to madness and murder. Overly enthusiastic Mexican attorney Johnny Ramirez (Muni) is disbarred after his first trial for his flagrant disregard of courtroom etiquette. In desperate need of work, he takes a job as a bouncer in a sleazy bordertown night club owned by Charlie Roark (Eugene Pallette). Charlie's wife Marie (Bette Davis) is immediately attracted to Johnny and makes a none-too-subtle play for him. But Johnny has his eye on Dale Elwell (Margaret Lindsay), a socialite who enjoys slumming in low-class dives and admiringly refers to Johnny as a "savage." Johnny tells Marie that it's against his principles to get involved with a married woman, so she decides to do something about that: she traps drunken Charlie in his car while it's locked in a garage, allowing the carbon monoxide to take Charlie out of the picture. When Marie explains that she killed her husband and is now available to him, Johnny wants no part of her; bitter that Johnny has snubbed her, Marie implicates him in Charlie's murder, leading to a dramatic and surprising trial. Paul Muni reportedly moved in with his Mexican chauffeur in order to study his accent and reproduce it accurately for this film.

Cast

Paul Muni
as Johnny Ramierez
Bette Davis
as Marie Roark
Margaret Lindsay
as Dale Elwell
Eugene Pallette
as Charlie Roark
Gavin Gordon
as Brook Mandillo
Soledad Jiminez
as Mrs. Ramirez
Arthur Stone
as Manuel Diego
Oscar Apfel
as Judge at Law School
Samuel S. Hinds
as Judge at Trial
John Eberts
as Alberto
Eddie Shubert
as Marketman
Carlos Villar
as Headwaiter
Addie McPhail
as Carter's Girl
Frank Puglia
as Commissioner
Ralph Navarro
as Defense Attorney
View All

Critic Reviews for Bordertown

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (8)

  • Beautifully shot by Tony Gaudio, well acted, grippingly directed, the film makes acutely acerbic points about privilege and prejudice; but typically of Warners in its social conscience mode, settles in the end for the status quo.

    Sep 20, 2019 | Full Review…

    Tom Milne

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • "Bordertown" otherwise manages to impale the spectator's attention before the picturesque and somewhat hysterical materials of the story.

    Sep 16, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Finish is phoney, but it can't hurt the previous good work. Casting throughout the film, which is also well written [from a novel by Carrol Graham] and paced, is exceptionally good.

    Sep 16, 2019 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • [Muni's] performance, on the whole, is a typical Muni performance -- being vigorous, simple, unaffected and believable. He is one of those rare actors whose talents don't seem to be thrown pell-mell into the very teeth of the camera.

    Sep 20, 2019 | Full Review…
  • If you can forget some of the details (like Soledad Jiménez being the only authentic Hispanic person in the film), you will leave this film satisfied. [Full Review in Spanish]

    Sep 20, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The role of Johnny is one of those tense, slightly overwrought characterizations in which Paul Muni excels.

    Aug 6, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Bordertown

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