Border Incident (1949)

92 or 95-96 mins | Film noir | 28 October 1949

Director:

Anthony Mann

Producer:

Nicholas Nayfack

Cinematographer:

John Alton

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Border Patrol . HR news items in Nov and Dec 1948 indicate that this film was originally to be produced by Aubrey Schenck and William Katzell for Eagle-Lion Films, and that production on the Eagle-Lion film was set to begin in late Oct 1948 at the United States-Mexican border. In Nov 1948, according to HR , M-G-M paid Eagle-Lion $100,000 for the completed screenplay and the services of director Anthony Mann. A Dec 1948 NYT news item put the amount paid by M-G-M for the screenplay at $50,000, and noted that it was originally entitled Wetbacks . According to a Nov 1948 V news item, Eagle-Lion sold the story to M-G-M because the projected $650,000 budget was too expensive for the independent studio. Border Incident marked the screen debut of Italian opera singer Teresa Celli. Actress and dancer Lita Barron was formerly known as Isabelita. Border Incident was the first film on which she used her new name. According to the NYT news item, the picture was filmed in the border region of Mexico and California. Studio publicity materials indicate that some filming took place in the border towns of Mexicali, Mexico, and in Calexico and El Centro, ... More Less

The working title of this film was Border Patrol . HR news items in Nov and Dec 1948 indicate that this film was originally to be produced by Aubrey Schenck and William Katzell for Eagle-Lion Films, and that production on the Eagle-Lion film was set to begin in late Oct 1948 at the United States-Mexican border. In Nov 1948, according to HR , M-G-M paid Eagle-Lion $100,000 for the completed screenplay and the services of director Anthony Mann. A Dec 1948 NYT news item put the amount paid by M-G-M for the screenplay at $50,000, and noted that it was originally entitled Wetbacks . According to a Nov 1948 V news item, Eagle-Lion sold the story to M-G-M because the projected $650,000 budget was too expensive for the independent studio. Border Incident marked the screen debut of Italian opera singer Teresa Celli. Actress and dancer Lita Barron was formerly known as Isabelita. Border Incident was the first film on which she used her new name. According to the NYT news item, the picture was filmed in the border region of Mexico and California. Studio publicity materials indicate that some filming took place in the border towns of Mexicali, Mexico, and in Calexico and El Centro, CA. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Aug 1949.
---
Daily Variety
26 Aug 49
p. 3.
Film Daily
26 Aug 49
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 48
p.9.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 1948.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 49
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jan 49
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 49
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Aug 49
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Aug 49
p. 4730.
New York Times
1 Dec 1948.
---
New York Times
21 Nov 49
p. 29.
Variety
29 Nov 1948.
---
Variety
30 Nov 1948.
---
Variety
31 Aug 49
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec supv
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Wetbacks
Border Patrol
Release Date:
28 October 1949
Production Date:
26 January--early March 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
25 August 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2505
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
92 or 95-96
Length(in feet):
8,563
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13741
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

At the All-American Canal, along the California-Mexico border, hundreds of Mexican farm workers, known as "braceros," wait to make their daily crossing into California. Some of the workers cross into the United States legally, while many others enter illegally. Many of the workers are robbed and sometimes stabbed by bandits, who ambush the braceros on their way home. Hoping to end the often deadly ambushes, the Mexican and American governments send officials to meet and discuss a possible solution to the problem. Soon after immigration investigators Pablo Rodriguez, a Mexican, and Jack Bearnes, an American, are assigned to the case by their respective countries, Pablo volunteers to disguise himself as a bracero and investigate the well-organized bandit operation. As part of their plan, Jack will follow Pablo and monitor all the contacts he makes on the Mexican side. After finding Owen Parkson, an American bracero broker posing as a rancher, Pablo tries to win his trust by telling him that he is running from the police. Though reluctant to believe Pablo's story, Parkson agrees to transport him across the border, and directs him to a truck filled with farm workers. Jack, meanwhile, loses his trail and falls into the hands of Parkson, who holds him prisoner in his camp, demanding the "stolen" immigration papers that Jack has offered him. Pablo sees Jack there, but does not offer him help for fear that he might expose their identities. Parkson eventually discovers the trap when he intercepts a telegram that Jack has sent to the immigration authorities. After ordering Jack killed, Parkson, realizing that he is the target of an investigation and is about to ... +


At the All-American Canal, along the California-Mexico border, hundreds of Mexican farm workers, known as "braceros," wait to make their daily crossing into California. Some of the workers cross into the United States legally, while many others enter illegally. Many of the workers are robbed and sometimes stabbed by bandits, who ambush the braceros on their way home. Hoping to end the often deadly ambushes, the Mexican and American governments send officials to meet and discuss a possible solution to the problem. Soon after immigration investigators Pablo Rodriguez, a Mexican, and Jack Bearnes, an American, are assigned to the case by their respective countries, Pablo volunteers to disguise himself as a bracero and investigate the well-organized bandit operation. As part of their plan, Jack will follow Pablo and monitor all the contacts he makes on the Mexican side. After finding Owen Parkson, an American bracero broker posing as a rancher, Pablo tries to win his trust by telling him that he is running from the police. Though reluctant to believe Pablo's story, Parkson agrees to transport him across the border, and directs him to a truck filled with farm workers. Jack, meanwhile, loses his trail and falls into the hands of Parkson, who holds him prisoner in his camp, demanding the "stolen" immigration papers that Jack has offered him. Pablo sees Jack there, but does not offer him help for fear that he might expose their identities. Parkson eventually discovers the trap when he intercepts a telegram that Jack has sent to the immigration authorities. After ordering Jack killed, Parkson, realizing that he is the target of an investigation and is about to be arrested, decides to hide the evidence of his operation by sending the braceros back to Mexico. Pablo, who is among the men who are to be sent back, spurs the braceros to riot, and a bloody fight ensues. Parkson and many of his henchmen are killed in the battle, but a border patrol unit arrives in time to bring order and arrest the remaining crooks. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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