"Borderline is a fun, early 50s crime drama, played with some humor. The chase across Mexico plotline is similar to Robert Mitchum's The Big Steal.
In addition to moving along nicely, Borderline has three other special qualities. First, as always, Claire Trevor is great. Second, you get to see Fred McMurray and Raymond Burr play bad guys and third, this seems to be one of the only oldies.com DVDs with good quality. "
An entertaining surprise!
Good Brother Cadfael | Virginia | 03/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""I'm trying to make up my mind, whether you have a touch of class or not." That's Fred MacMurray, talking to Claire Trevor as they are speeding down a dirt road in Mexico with a parrot cage full of drugs. They are both narcotics agents, but neither realizes this about the other. Oops, here's a wagon full of hay blocking the road; that balky donkey won't go. And, wow, it just got worse: the bad guys have just arrived. Lucky that Claire has that cigarette lighter!
It's fast-paced action, clever dialogue, silly situations and innocent romance between the two talented principals as they try to get back to the border. You will watch this movie over and over, and lend it to your buddies to enjoy. Treat yourself to some fun! "
South of the Border Fun
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 08/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This fun and funny crime caper has a great cast and lots of south-of-the-border flavor that makes it an entertaining 88 minutes at the movies. William A. Seiter's Borderline is a nifty little film that has more in common with The Big Steal than the noir film it is often advertised as. It is a blend of humor, crime and fun that grows on you more and more until its snappy ending.
It seems both the L.A.P.D. and United States Treasury Customs wants to stop a dope smuggling ring bringing narcotics across the border from Mexico. Claire Trevor is the enthusiastic if green L.A. cop Madeline Haley, a former O.S.S. agent who talks her way into the assignment of going down south in an attempt to get information on the nasty middleman Pete Ritche, hoping it will lead them to Mr. Big. TV's Perry Mason, Raymond Burr, is the heavy in the white suit, Ritche, and plays the role with menace.
Madeline sort of stumbles into Ritchie but before she can find anything out, Johnny Mackland, an unknown player working for the L.A. end of the connection, hijacks Ritchie's gold so he can make a deal for the next shipment. He ends up taking Madeline with him after the guns are drawn and the chase is on.
The chase across Mexico, as they try to avoid Ritchie and elude the cops is a lot of fun. Madeline and Johnny start telling each other tall tales and warming up to each other along the way. When Johnny's pal Miguel gets shot they have a body on their hands to deal with, complicating the chase even more. Fred MacMurray is good as Johnny, the cop who doesn't know Madeline is a cop, who doesn't know he's a cop!
Sort of a fun pulp film with more flavor than a habanero pepper, Trevor gives a cute performance as she begins to like Johnny, even getting a bit jealous of the oh so friendly young and pretty daughter of a not too smart Mexican cop. He unknowingly helps them garner a plane to Encinada for the big deal. As the two near the border, each regrets having to turn the other one in because they've fallen for each other.
Once they get straightened out on just who works for who, a rousing shoot-out with Ritchie and his gang climaxes a great ending to this very fun to watch film. A film that's meant as entertainment, it doesn't take itself too seriously, and neither should you. Fans of genre films like this will enjoy going south of the border with this one."
An amusing romantic chase movie, with drugs, death and Raymo
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 08/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, we have ballet noir (The Car Man (Matthew Bourne)), family values noir (Home Sweet Homicide), even "Oh, come on, that's not noir" noir (The Third Man - Criterion Collection (2-Disc Edition)). Why not easy-going romantic comedy noir? Borderline, with Claire Trevor and Fred MacMurray, fills a noir niche no one seems to have noticed was empty. And not badly, either.
Pete Ritchie (Raymond Burr) is a shrewd, ruthless drug dealer. The Feds want him, but Ritchie can spot a Fed agent at ten yards. He's holed up in a dusty Mexican town where he sends drug shipments into the States using innocent tourists as well as paid mules. Ritchie's smart but he's a sucker for dames. That's where Madeleine Haley (Claire Trevor) comes in. She's an L.A. cop and, as she points out to the Feds, a female. In short order, Gladys LaRue arrives in this Mexican town and gets a job singing and dancing (badly) in a sleazy cantina that Ritchie, in a white suit, frequents. Just when she starts making progress with Ritchie in his room, Johnny Macklin, a tough guy for hire, bursts in with a gun in his hand and a plan in his head. He's been hired by another gangster to hijack one of Ritchie's drug shipments. Wait a minute...isn't that Fred MacMurray?
Then we realize -- this is no spoiler -- that there are two U.S. agents working to bag Ritchie, and neither knows about the other. It's not long before the two of them are on the road headed for the U. S, staying overnight -- coyly, of course -- in a sleazy hotel. They're toting the drug shipment Ritchie's gangster competitor assigned them, as well as a suspicious music box, a fruitcake and a parrot in a big cage. Soon there's cold cream on Gladys' face and everything from a container for fingerprint power to a camera in Macklin's coat pockets. When one goes to the lobby, the other whips out a camera to take secret photos. When one goes down the hall for a bath, the other...whips out a camera to take secret photos. And then Ritchie and his goons show up and a dangerous race, complete with cheery Mexican music and wise cracks, gets underway. Corpses are left in the dust with a tip of the sombrero to siesta time. Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer never had something like this to deal with.
There may be guns and gunzels, as well as too much noir drama at the end, but Borderline quickly becomes an easy-going romantic chase comedy with drugs, death and Raymond Burr thrown in. Most importantly, the movie has two attractive leads. Listening to Trevor and MacMurray, still unaware of who they really are, trade stories about how they got started in the crime business does credit to their ability to keep straight faces.
Borderline is a pleasant movie, even if at times it's not sure just what kind of noir it is. It may not be an A production but it's considerably better than a programmer. As much as MacMurray and Trevor work well together, Claire Trevor steals the show.
The DVD looks okay. There is one extra that gives background on the people who wrote, directed and photographed the movie."
Snowbrocade | Santa Barbara, CA | 09/05/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film was mentioned in a documentary about noir films, so I was looking forward to the stark lighting, pessimistic and violent story line, cynical men and sultry women. Unfortunately this was a romantic comedy along the lines of a Doris Day 50's film.
The story barely holds together about a woman (Claire Trevor) working for LAPD who goes undercover in Mexico and ends up traveling with Fred MacMurray who plays a drug dealer. The head drug dealer (Raymond Burr) is after them and there are chases and hi-jinks through the Mexican countryside.
After a while I lost track of the plot and realized that the story only served to put MacMurray and Trevor in as many romantic situations as possible. MacMurray was pretty sexy and played a bad guy and a romantic lead with his usual expertise. Trevor was a good comedic actress, she reminded me a lot of Lucille Ball. Burr burned up the screen whenever he appeared--a wonderful intense actor.
Overall, not my cup of tea. I would give it two stars except I think the actors did a really good job; they held together an otherwise poorly constructed film."