Bordertown (1935)

89 mins | Drama | 23 January 1935

Director:

Archie Mayo

Cinematographer:

Tony Gaudio

Editor:

Thomas Richards

Production Designer:

Jack Okey

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Productions Corp.
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HISTORY

The film's pre-release title was New Bordertown. FD notes that Miriam Hopkins was considered for the lead opposite Muni. According to DV, the studio did not intend to credit Carroll Graham because they felt the script was so different from the book. Although credited to different writers, portions of the 1940 Warner Bros. film They Drive By Night closely resemble scenes in this film. Modern sources note that the opening scenes were shot in Los Angeles' Olvera St. According to modern sources, Muni hired a Mexican chauffeur named Manuel and studied his accent and gestures as part of his preparation for the role. ...

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The film's pre-release title was New Bordertown. FD notes that Miriam Hopkins was considered for the lead opposite Muni. According to DV, the studio did not intend to credit Carroll Graham because they felt the script was so different from the book. Although credited to different writers, portions of the 1940 Warner Bros. film They Drive By Night closely resemble scenes in this film. Modern sources note that the opening scenes were shot in Los Angeles' Olvera St. According to modern sources, Muni hired a Mexican chauffeur named Manuel and studied his accent and gestures as part of his preparation for the role.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
13 Aug 1934
p. 1
Daily Variety
17 Aug 1934
p. 2
Daily Variety
23 Aug 1934
p. 3
Daily Variety
14 Jan 1935
p. 3
Film Daily
18 Jun 1934
p. 8
Film Daily
24 Jan 1935
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jan 1935
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jan 1935
p. 2
Motion Picture Daily
15 Jan 1935
p. 8
Motion Picture Herald
29 Sep 1934
p. 51
Motion Picture Herald
2 Feb 1935
p. 58
New York Times
24 Jan 1935
p. 22
Variety
29 Jan 1935
p. 14
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus comp
Vitaphone Orch cond
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Border Town by Carroll Graham (New York, 1934).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
New Bordertown
Release Date:
23 January 1935
Production Date:
began 17 Aug 1934
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
15 December 1934
LP5174
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
89
Country:
United States
PCA No:
399
SYNOPSIS

In Los Angeles, Johnny Ramirez, a poor Mexican, graduates from Pacific Night Law School, having worked days as a mechanic. Although Johnny is convinced that he will be a great lawyer, earning lots of money, his clients are all poor people from the neighborhood. When he loses his first court case against socialite Dale Elwell because he's poorly prepared, he angrily punches the opposing lawyer, Brook Manville, thinking he has been patronized and discriminated against. As a result, Johnny is disbarred. His dreams of being the Mexican-American Abe Lincoln shattered, Johnny leaves behind his adoring mother and hitchhikes to a border town in Mexico, determined to return as a rich man. He does very well, working his way into a partnership in a successful night club, whose owner, Charlie Roark, admires Johnny, as does his wife Marie. Thinking that her husband is all that stands between her and Johnny, Marie locks a drunken Charlie in the garage, leaving the car motor running. Johnny, in partnership with Marie, remodels the club into a stylish night club designed to attract the wealthy. One night Dale visits the club with some friends. She playfully starts a flirtation with Johnny, who, misunderstanding, falls in love with her. Sick with jealousy, Marie publicly accuses Johnny of murdering Charlie, but at his trial, she breaks down on the witness stand, having gone insane with guilt. Free at last, Johnny drives to Los Angeles to propose to Dale, who tells him their differences make any marriage impossible. To escape Johnny's anger, she runs into the street, where she is hit by a car. Once again, ...

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In Los Angeles, Johnny Ramirez, a poor Mexican, graduates from Pacific Night Law School, having worked days as a mechanic. Although Johnny is convinced that he will be a great lawyer, earning lots of money, his clients are all poor people from the neighborhood. When he loses his first court case against socialite Dale Elwell because he's poorly prepared, he angrily punches the opposing lawyer, Brook Manville, thinking he has been patronized and discriminated against. As a result, Johnny is disbarred. His dreams of being the Mexican-American Abe Lincoln shattered, Johnny leaves behind his adoring mother and hitchhikes to a border town in Mexico, determined to return as a rich man. He does very well, working his way into a partnership in a successful night club, whose owner, Charlie Roark, admires Johnny, as does his wife Marie. Thinking that her husband is all that stands between her and Johnny, Marie locks a drunken Charlie in the garage, leaving the car motor running. Johnny, in partnership with Marie, remodels the club into a stylish night club designed to attract the wealthy. One night Dale visits the club with some friends. She playfully starts a flirtation with Johnny, who, misunderstanding, falls in love with her. Sick with jealousy, Marie publicly accuses Johnny of murdering Charlie, but at his trial, she breaks down on the witness stand, having gone insane with guilt. Free at last, Johnny drives to Los Angeles to propose to Dale, who tells him their differences make any marriage impossible. To escape Johnny's anger, she runs into the street, where she is hit by a car. Once again, Johnny must reassess his life. He sells his club, endows a law school with the money, and returns to Los Angeles to live with his own people.

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.