Mastered From The 35MM Camera Negative
Is there a place for humor amidst all the doom, gloom, shadows, deceit and double-crossing of film noir? With Borderline (1950), director William A. Seiter (Room Service) and writer Devery Freeman (The Fuller Brush Man) created what is probably the closet the genre came to spoofing itself. And they did it while making a top notch crime melodrama.
Fred Mac Murray and Claire Trevor play undercover narcotics agents, working along the Mexican-American border to bust a smuggling ring. For most of the film, neither MacMurray or Trevor are aware that the other is a federal agent, even when they pose as husband and wife.
The real crook is played by Raymond Burr (Rear Window). As film fans are well aware, prior to his Perry Mason role, Burr played some of the vilest, slimiest villains you'll ever see. In Borderline, he's at his creepiest best.
The key to Borderline's success is that the humor nevers detracts from the crime thriller elements, thanks to the skill of the director, writer and cast. Borderline builds to an exciting climax, complete with a shootout and fist fight, as the agents close in on Burr's dope smugglers. Good stuff.