(Average=3.50 out of 5; Total Number=2)
Sorry, Baby, But I Gotta Turn Ya In... (rating=3)
Actually, I give this film three and a-half stars (this refers to the Alpha Video Gotham version).
Fred MacMurray and Claire Trevor ARE very good together.
In some scenes it almost has the tongue-in-cheek, smart, snappy dialog that reminds one of "It Happened One Night" or "Trouble In Paradise".
The premise is great! Neither know they are working on the side of the law and they both truly follow character and composure throughout this film. Give credit to the director, William A. Seiter (directed over 100+ films that appear to be all of the light-fluff "B" weight), who kept them focused.
Raymond Burr is good as the heavy (no pun intended) and all supporting roles are well met.
Numerous changes in locale and scenery keeps it visually interesting and credit goes to production design.
Overall, the film transfer is good and worth repeated viewings.
Overall Quality of DVD: **1/2 /**** Sound: **1/2 /**** Plot: ***/**** Acting: ***/**** Cinematography: ***/**** Direction: ***/****
You Two Work Very Well Together (rating=4)
Madeleine Haley (Claire Trevor) is an ambitious member of the Los Angeles Police Department. When the chief calls for a "tawdry dame" to infiltrate Pete Ritchie's (Raymond Burr) drug trafficking operations she pushes her way through a wall of male shoulders and lands the assignment.
Ritchie operates out of Mexico, and Madeleine contrives to throw herself at him until she sticks. Before she has a chance to let out a breath and settle into moll-dom Johnny McEvoy (Fred MacMurray) breaks in on the scene, manages to find out when "the stuff" is hitting the docks, and kidnaps Madeleine, presumably for insurance against the wrath of Ritchie.
Without giving anything away, McEvoy has a few secrets of his own, which he is able to keep from Madeleine but which the viewer is privy to early on. After Madeleine's abduction this becomes a chase movie. McEvoy and Madeleine drive north, away from Ritchie and towards customers for their "stuff." Of course, Madeleine intends to turn McEvoy over to the authorities as soon as they hit the border, so she'd better not fall for him.
MacMurray and Trevor have good chemistry together. A few of their scenes sparkle, and they're convincing as people who are trying not to believe the worst of each other. Raymond Burr is excellently sinister as the white suited bad guy. This is one menacing dude.
I've tried to understand why this one is so obscure. Good cast, nifty mistaken identity issues, interesting minor characters. BORDERLINE has a lot going for it, and I'll bet you not one in a hundred film buffs have ever heard of it, much less seen it.
Maybe it's because it doesn't quite know what it wants to be - it's kind of film noir, kind of a chase flick, kind of a light romantic comedy. Burr's character is menacing enough, but the director (William A. Seiter) never takes it to the next step. The scenes where MacMurray and Trevor are threatened by him are defused too quickly. Burr's last scene feels like the end of the movie, and it's an anti-climatic one, at that. By then the real danger is past. Maybe if the MacMurray character had been given a hard, inaccessible inner core (like Walter Neff in DOUBLE INDEMNITY, for example) we wouldn't find this one in the bargain bin at the used book store.
If not terribly memorable, BORDERLINE is entertaining enough. The cast is much better than the material they've been given.