Border Incident


1h 36m 1949
Border Incident

Brief Synopsis

Police try to crack down on the illegal immigration racket.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Also Known As
Border Patrol, Wetbacks
Genre
Drama
Crime
Film Noir
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Oct 28, 1949
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Mexicali, Mexico; Calexico, California, United States; El Centro, California, United States; Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico; Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,563ft (10 reels)

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 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.

Photo Collections

Border Incident - Publicity Still
Here is a publicity still from MGM's Border Incident (1949), directed by Anthony Mann and Starring Ricardo Montalban and George Murphy. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Border Incident - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from MGM's Border Incident (1949), starring Ricardo Montalban and directed by Anthony Mann. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Border Patrol, Wetbacks
Genre
Drama
Crime
Film Noir
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Oct 28, 1949
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Mexicali, Mexico; Calexico, California, United States; El Centro, California, United States; Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico; Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,563ft (10 reels)

Articles

Border Incident


"If you're going to tell a story," director Anthony Mann once said, "instead of telling an intellectual story - which by necessity requires a tremendous number of words - you should pick one that has great pictorial qualities to start with." True to this strategy, Mann avoided scripts that were overtly political or moral as often as he could. As film historian Jeanine Basinger has pointed out, this helped make Mann's films powerful and direct, but also contributed to his being overlooked as an artist.

Border Incident (1949) is a perfect example. A dark, gripping film noir about illegal immigration on the Mexican border, the picture doesn't overly concern itself with politics. Instead, it depicts the plight of the immigrants, the ruthless cruelty of the smugglers, and the crime genre dramatics of the agents assigned to infiltrate the smuggling ring and bring it down.

Gorgeously shot by the great cinematographer John Alton - who worked with Mann many times - Border Incident is also a fine example of a film which makes its cheap budget an advantage, using shadows and lighting effects to involve an audience. Mann and Alton had just collaborated on T-Men (1947) and Raw Deal (1948), two exceptional noirs made for the low-budget indie studio Eagle-Lion. Invited to MGM to direct Border Incident, Mann wisely took Alton with him. Theirs is now considered one of the great director-cinematographer relationships in American film. Their styles were perfectly suited for one another; each seemed to draw on the other's strengths.

The final section of Border Incident, for example, is a masterpiece of suspense and intensity, as Ricardo Montalban eludes capture high on a water tower, steals a truck and bears silent witness to his partner's grisly murder by tractor. A climax that culminates in death by quicksand is also shot and edited for maximum disturbing effect. Both Mann and Alton would soon move on to A-pictures, with Mann directing a classic series of Westerns with James Stewart, beginning with Winchester '73 (1950).

Border Incident was something of a departure for both its leads. George Murphy had become a star through many romantic comedies (Tom Dick and Harry, 1941) and musicals (For Me and My Gal, 1942). Ricardo Montalban had been typecast as a Latin lover at MGM, and this was an attempt to break away from that image with a gritty drama.

Also in the cast, look for Alfonso Bedoya as "Chuchillo." You may recognize him as the Mexican bandit "Gold Hat" from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) - the one who famously tells Humphrey Bogart, "We don't need no stinking badges!" Bedoya made over 40 films in Mexico as a character actor in the 1930s and 40s before Treasure brought him to Hollywood. He acted in a dozen more pictures in America before he died in 1957.

Producer: Nicholas Nayfack
Director: Anthony Mann
Screenplay: John C. Higgins (also story), George Zuckerman (story)
Cinematography: John Alton
Film Editing: Conrad A. Nervig
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters
Music: Andre Previn
Cast: Ricardo Montalban (Pablo Rodriguez), George Murphy (Jack Bearnes), Howard Da Silva (Owen Parkson), James Mitchell (Juan Garcia), Arnold Moss (Zopilote), Alfonso Bedoya (Chuchillo).
BW-96m. Closed captioning.

by Jeremy Arnold
Border Incident

Border Incident

"If you're going to tell a story," director Anthony Mann once said, "instead of telling an intellectual story - which by necessity requires a tremendous number of words - you should pick one that has great pictorial qualities to start with." True to this strategy, Mann avoided scripts that were overtly political or moral as often as he could. As film historian Jeanine Basinger has pointed out, this helped make Mann's films powerful and direct, but also contributed to his being overlooked as an artist. Border Incident (1949) is a perfect example. A dark, gripping film noir about illegal immigration on the Mexican border, the picture doesn't overly concern itself with politics. Instead, it depicts the plight of the immigrants, the ruthless cruelty of the smugglers, and the crime genre dramatics of the agents assigned to infiltrate the smuggling ring and bring it down. Gorgeously shot by the great cinematographer John Alton - who worked with Mann many times - Border Incident is also a fine example of a film which makes its cheap budget an advantage, using shadows and lighting effects to involve an audience. Mann and Alton had just collaborated on T-Men (1947) and Raw Deal (1948), two exceptional noirs made for the low-budget indie studio Eagle-Lion. Invited to MGM to direct Border Incident, Mann wisely took Alton with him. Theirs is now considered one of the great director-cinematographer relationships in American film. Their styles were perfectly suited for one another; each seemed to draw on the other's strengths. The final section of Border Incident, for example, is a masterpiece of suspense and intensity, as Ricardo Montalban eludes capture high on a water tower, steals a truck and bears silent witness to his partner's grisly murder by tractor. A climax that culminates in death by quicksand is also shot and edited for maximum disturbing effect. Both Mann and Alton would soon move on to A-pictures, with Mann directing a classic series of Westerns with James Stewart, beginning with Winchester '73 (1950). Border Incident was something of a departure for both its leads. George Murphy had become a star through many romantic comedies (Tom Dick and Harry, 1941) and musicals (For Me and My Gal, 1942). Ricardo Montalban had been typecast as a Latin lover at MGM, and this was an attempt to break away from that image with a gritty drama. Also in the cast, look for Alfonso Bedoya as "Chuchillo." You may recognize him as the Mexican bandit "Gold Hat" from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) - the one who famously tells Humphrey Bogart, "We don't need no stinking badges!" Bedoya made over 40 films in Mexico as a character actor in the 1930s and 40s before Treasure brought him to Hollywood. He acted in a dozen more pictures in America before he died in 1957. Producer: Nicholas Nayfack Director: Anthony Mann Screenplay: John C. Higgins (also story), George Zuckerman (story) Cinematography: John Alton Film Editing: Conrad A. Nervig Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters Music: Andre Previn Cast: Ricardo Montalban (Pablo Rodriguez), George Murphy (Jack Bearnes), Howard Da Silva (Owen Parkson), James Mitchell (Juan Garcia), Arnold Moss (Zopilote), Alfonso Bedoya (Chuchillo). BW-96m. Closed captioning. by Jeremy Arnold

Border Incident - Ricardo Montalban in Anthony Mann's 1949 Film Noir - BORDER INCIDENT on DVD


In light of the current national debate on the subject of illegal immigration, Anthony Mann's Border Incident (1949) comes across as an unusually timely thriller, in spite of being made nearly 60 years ago. Recently released on DVD by Warner Bros. as part of the Film Noir Classic Collection Volume Three, the film focuses on the abuse--on both sides of the border--of illegal migrant workers in Southern California during the time of the bracero guest worker program. In addition to its social theme, this stylish crime drama is principally of interest today as the first major studio film for director Mann and cinematographer John Alton, and one of the first American lead roles for Ricardo Montalban.

The story: America's Immigration & Naturalization Services and Mexico's Policía Judicial Federal join forces to stop a gang of crooks who are smuggling Mexican migrant workers (called braceros) into the U.S., employing them illegally for substandard wages and then robbing and killing them when they cause trouble or try to get back to Mexico. Pablo Rodriguez (Ricardo Montalban) of the PJF goes undercover as a bracero and gains illegal passage across the border from Hugo Ulrich (Sig Ruman). He's put to work at the farm of Owen Parkson (Howard Da Silva), an outwardly respectable businessman in league with Ulrich who supplies illegal workers to several Southern California growers. Meanwhile, Jack Bearnes (George Murphy) of the INS follows Rodriguez's path and poses as a thief in possession of stolen work permits to infiltrate Parkson's organization. The cautious Parkson is not so quick to accept the stranger and secretly starts to check his story, while his foreman Jeff Amboy (Charles McGraw) grows suspicious of Rodriguez. As Parkson's efficient and ruthless organization nears the truth, both government agents find their lives in danger.

Although Warners has chosen to classify Border Incident as film noir, story-wise it's a police procedural, following the familiar pattern of identifying a social problem caused by a criminal element and then depicting, step-by-step, the techniques employed by law enforcement to restore order. The story device of agents putting themselves at risk by infiltrating the crooks' gang, with suspense revolving about the threat of exposure, was in vogue at the time; other films released around the same period employing the same idea include The Street With No Name (1948), White Heat (1949) and Anthony Mann's own T-Men (1948). Border Incident's script adds little to the basic established formula; the result is that the story is engaging but slightly predictable, a well-crafted minor variation on a crime movie staple.

The film does differentiate itself from others in the genre by choosing a rural backdrop and an offbeat subject matter based on then-current labor policies. The Bracero Program was initiated in 1942 to legally bring in Mexican "guest workers" to fill a need for agricultural labor made acute by the drafting of many American workers. Deductions from the braceros' paychecks were to be placed in savings accounts in Mexico as an incentive to return at the end of their contracts rather than stay in the U.S. illegally. Unfortunately, human rights abuses tarnished the reputation of the program, and few braceros ever received the money promised by the savings accounts, leading to bitter lawsuits that continue to this day. Border Incident heavily fictionalizes some of the problems with the Bracero Program and depicts a satisfying resolution that, sadly, never occurred in real life.

The element that truly makes Border Incident memorable is its visual style, the product of Anthony Mann's direction and the cinematography of John Alton. The two had previously worked together on Raw Deal (1947) and T-Men (1948), tense, brutal, modestly budgeted films noir released by Eagle-Lion, as well as the historical drama Reign of Terror (1949). The success of the two noir films was doubtless responsible for their elevation to the "big leagues" of MGM and their assignment to Border Incident. Stylistically the film opens in the manner of the pseudo-documentary thrillers 20th Century Fox pioneered with 1945's The House on 92nd Street: we see a montage of Southern California and the Mexican border while a narrator delivers opening exposition. Once Rodriguez and Bearnes are assigned to the case, though, the film adopts the dark, moody style Mann and Alton used in their earlier noirs. Scenes are often set at night, illuminated by a single, harsh source--a flashlight, headlights, a bare overhead lightbulb, etc.- creating a high contrast look that sculpts the characters' faces in hard shadows, and surrounds them with impenetrable darkness that feels pregnant with incipient violence. On the basis of this film alone, one could understand why Alton is considered one of the masters of black & white cinematography.

Extreme close-ups are used to good effect, bringing the viewer uncomfortably close to the menace of the villains or the dread fear of the heroes. As film historian Dana Polan observes on his commentary track, Mann and Alton often divide up the frame compositionally, with a figure in the extreme foreground on one side and a figure in the background on the other. This often helps create a slightly unbalanced feel, a sense of tension and claustrophobia. When violence does erupt, Mann depicts it as sudden and brutal, without the slightest hint of Hollywood gloss. The film's most famous scene, the unexpected and horrific death of one of the major characters, is still shocking today. The climax is slightly disappointing because it isn't able to top the impact of that sequence (a couple of contrived plot twists don't help), but Mann's taut direction keeps the tension level high throughout.

The two leads deliver good performances in underwritten parts. The script only defines agent Bearnes through his work; there's no hint of a family or home life, leaving George Murphy precious little to work with. The future California Senator lacks the star power and charisma of someone like Robert Mitchum or James Cagney to spice up the part, but he does a fine job communicating Bearnes' dedication to his job, his loyalty to Rodriguez and his skill as an undercover operative. Top-billed Ricardo Montalban fares better. We don't learn much about the personal life of Rodriguez either, but we see him protecting the braceros and trying to enlighten them on how they are being mistreated, making his character warmer and more appealing. Montalban delivers a thoughtful and sympathetic performance that wins over the audience while also conveying the courage and quick wits that makes Rodriguez a good agent. Prior to playing Rodriguez, Montalban had starred in several Mexican films and been featured in a trio of fluffy MGM musicals. His strong work in Border Incident suggested a promising future as a lead, but instead Montalban found his niche as a busy and respected character actor in both film and television, while offscreen earning a reputation as one of Hollywood's true gentlemen. In the 1980's he won a new generation of fans by starring in the long-running Fantasy Island television series, appearing with Leslie Nielsen in the hit comedy The Naked Gun (1988) and delivering a spectacularly entertaining performance as the eponymous archenemy of William Shatner's Admiral Kirk in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Now in his mid-eighties and confined to a wheelchair, Montalban continues to do voiceover work in animation and makes occasional on-screen appearances, including the popular Spy Kids movies.

Howard Da Silva effectively plays Parkson as a man used to wielding power and being obeyed. He doesn't bluster or bully; he speaks calmly because he is supremely confident of his ability to control all situations. The supporting cast features a number of familiar faces delivering solid performances: gruff-voiced Charles McGraw as Parkson's cruel foreman; Arthur Hunnicutt, quietly menacing as the driver transporting braceros across the border; and Sig Ruman as Ulrich. Except for Montalban's dignified performance as Rodriguez, the portrayal of Mexicans in the film is badly dated, with most of the braceros depicted as passive, pious sheep needing to be led, while Arnold Moss and Alfonso Bedoya ("Gold Hat" in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) play Ulrich's thugs as ignorant, childlike and greedy.

Warner Home Video's DVD of Border Incident features an excellent transfer that reproduces John Alton's cinematography as well as could be hoped. Extras consist of a trailer and Dana Polan's commentary, which does a good job covering Mann and Alton's contributions and discussing the film from a film genre perspective. The only disappointment is the lack of any contribution from Ricardo Montalban; a video interview or commentary would have been much appreciated. The disc is available only as part of the Film Noir Classic Collection Volume Three, which also includes Lady in the Lake, His Kind of Woman, The Racket, On Dangerous Ground and a bonus disc featuring a documentary on film noir and five "Crime Does Not Pay" short subjects.

For more information about Border Incident, visit Warner Video. To order Border Incident, which is only available as part of the "Film Noir Collection, Vol. 3", go to TCM Shopping.

by Gary Teetzel

Border Incident - Ricardo Montalban in Anthony Mann's 1949 Film Noir - BORDER INCIDENT on DVD

In light of the current national debate on the subject of illegal immigration, Anthony Mann's Border Incident (1949) comes across as an unusually timely thriller, in spite of being made nearly 60 years ago. Recently released on DVD by Warner Bros. as part of the Film Noir Classic Collection Volume Three, the film focuses on the abuse--on both sides of the border--of illegal migrant workers in Southern California during the time of the bracero guest worker program. In addition to its social theme, this stylish crime drama is principally of interest today as the first major studio film for director Mann and cinematographer John Alton, and one of the first American lead roles for Ricardo Montalban. The story: America's Immigration & Naturalization Services and Mexico's Policía Judicial Federal join forces to stop a gang of crooks who are smuggling Mexican migrant workers (called braceros) into the U.S., employing them illegally for substandard wages and then robbing and killing them when they cause trouble or try to get back to Mexico. Pablo Rodriguez (Ricardo Montalban) of the PJF goes undercover as a bracero and gains illegal passage across the border from Hugo Ulrich (Sig Ruman). He's put to work at the farm of Owen Parkson (Howard Da Silva), an outwardly respectable businessman in league with Ulrich who supplies illegal workers to several Southern California growers. Meanwhile, Jack Bearnes (George Murphy) of the INS follows Rodriguez's path and poses as a thief in possession of stolen work permits to infiltrate Parkson's organization. The cautious Parkson is not so quick to accept the stranger and secretly starts to check his story, while his foreman Jeff Amboy (Charles McGraw) grows suspicious of Rodriguez. As Parkson's efficient and ruthless organization nears the truth, both government agents find their lives in danger. Although Warners has chosen to classify Border Incident as film noir, story-wise it's a police procedural, following the familiar pattern of identifying a social problem caused by a criminal element and then depicting, step-by-step, the techniques employed by law enforcement to restore order. The story device of agents putting themselves at risk by infiltrating the crooks' gang, with suspense revolving about the threat of exposure, was in vogue at the time; other films released around the same period employing the same idea include The Street With No Name (1948), White Heat (1949) and Anthony Mann's own T-Men (1948). Border Incident's script adds little to the basic established formula; the result is that the story is engaging but slightly predictable, a well-crafted minor variation on a crime movie staple. The film does differentiate itself from others in the genre by choosing a rural backdrop and an offbeat subject matter based on then-current labor policies. The Bracero Program was initiated in 1942 to legally bring in Mexican "guest workers" to fill a need for agricultural labor made acute by the drafting of many American workers. Deductions from the braceros' paychecks were to be placed in savings accounts in Mexico as an incentive to return at the end of their contracts rather than stay in the U.S. illegally. Unfortunately, human rights abuses tarnished the reputation of the program, and few braceros ever received the money promised by the savings accounts, leading to bitter lawsuits that continue to this day. Border Incident heavily fictionalizes some of the problems with the Bracero Program and depicts a satisfying resolution that, sadly, never occurred in real life. The element that truly makes Border Incident memorable is its visual style, the product of Anthony Mann's direction and the cinematography of John Alton. The two had previously worked together on Raw Deal (1947) and T-Men (1948), tense, brutal, modestly budgeted films noir released by Eagle-Lion, as well as the historical drama Reign of Terror (1949). The success of the two noir films was doubtless responsible for their elevation to the "big leagues" of MGM and their assignment to Border Incident. Stylistically the film opens in the manner of the pseudo-documentary thrillers 20th Century Fox pioneered with 1945's The House on 92nd Street: we see a montage of Southern California and the Mexican border while a narrator delivers opening exposition. Once Rodriguez and Bearnes are assigned to the case, though, the film adopts the dark, moody style Mann and Alton used in their earlier noirs. Scenes are often set at night, illuminated by a single, harsh source--a flashlight, headlights, a bare overhead lightbulb, etc.- creating a high contrast look that sculpts the characters' faces in hard shadows, and surrounds them with impenetrable darkness that feels pregnant with incipient violence. On the basis of this film alone, one could understand why Alton is considered one of the masters of black & white cinematography. Extreme close-ups are used to good effect, bringing the viewer uncomfortably close to the menace of the villains or the dread fear of the heroes. As film historian Dana Polan observes on his commentary track, Mann and Alton often divide up the frame compositionally, with a figure in the extreme foreground on one side and a figure in the background on the other. This often helps create a slightly unbalanced feel, a sense of tension and claustrophobia. When violence does erupt, Mann depicts it as sudden and brutal, without the slightest hint of Hollywood gloss. The film's most famous scene, the unexpected and horrific death of one of the major characters, is still shocking today. The climax is slightly disappointing because it isn't able to top the impact of that sequence (a couple of contrived plot twists don't help), but Mann's taut direction keeps the tension level high throughout. The two leads deliver good performances in underwritten parts. The script only defines agent Bearnes through his work; there's no hint of a family or home life, leaving George Murphy precious little to work with. The future California Senator lacks the star power and charisma of someone like Robert Mitchum or James Cagney to spice up the part, but he does a fine job communicating Bearnes' dedication to his job, his loyalty to Rodriguez and his skill as an undercover operative. Top-billed Ricardo Montalban fares better. We don't learn much about the personal life of Rodriguez either, but we see him protecting the braceros and trying to enlighten them on how they are being mistreated, making his character warmer and more appealing. Montalban delivers a thoughtful and sympathetic performance that wins over the audience while also conveying the courage and quick wits that makes Rodriguez a good agent. Prior to playing Rodriguez, Montalban had starred in several Mexican films and been featured in a trio of fluffy MGM musicals. His strong work in Border Incident suggested a promising future as a lead, but instead Montalban found his niche as a busy and respected character actor in both film and television, while offscreen earning a reputation as one of Hollywood's true gentlemen. In the 1980's he won a new generation of fans by starring in the long-running Fantasy Island television series, appearing with Leslie Nielsen in the hit comedy The Naked Gun (1988) and delivering a spectacularly entertaining performance as the eponymous archenemy of William Shatner's Admiral Kirk in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Now in his mid-eighties and confined to a wheelchair, Montalban continues to do voiceover work in animation and makes occasional on-screen appearances, including the popular Spy Kids movies. Howard Da Silva effectively plays Parkson as a man used to wielding power and being obeyed. He doesn't bluster or bully; he speaks calmly because he is supremely confident of his ability to control all situations. The supporting cast features a number of familiar faces delivering solid performances: gruff-voiced Charles McGraw as Parkson's cruel foreman; Arthur Hunnicutt, quietly menacing as the driver transporting braceros across the border; and Sig Ruman as Ulrich. Except for Montalban's dignified performance as Rodriguez, the portrayal of Mexicans in the film is badly dated, with most of the braceros depicted as passive, pious sheep needing to be led, while Arnold Moss and Alfonso Bedoya ("Gold Hat" in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) play Ulrich's thugs as ignorant, childlike and greedy. Warner Home Video's DVD of Border Incident features an excellent transfer that reproduces John Alton's cinematography as well as could be hoped. Extras consist of a trailer and Dana Polan's commentary, which does a good job covering Mann and Alton's contributions and discussing the film from a film genre perspective. The only disappointment is the lack of any contribution from Ricardo Montalban; a video interview or commentary would have been much appreciated. The disc is available only as part of the Film Noir Classic Collection Volume Three, which also includes Lady in the Lake, His Kind of Woman, The Racket, On Dangerous Ground and a bonus disc featuring a documentary on film noir and five "Crime Does Not Pay" short subjects. For more information about Border Incident, visit Warner Video. To order Border Incident, which is only available as part of the "Film Noir Collection, Vol. 3", go to TCM Shopping. by Gary Teetzel

Quotes

What is cheaper than time, senor? Everybody has the same amount.
- Zopilote

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Border Patrol. Hollywood Reporter news items in November and December 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 October 1948 at the United States-Mexican border. In November 1948, according to Hollywood Reporter, M-G-M paid Eagle-Lion $100,000 for the completed screenplay and the services of director Anthony Mann. A December 1948 New York Times 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 November 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 New York Times 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.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall November 19, 1949

Completed shooting May 24, 1949.

Released in United States Fall November 19, 1949