“Do you think you can handle this?”
Aww, isn’t that cute? Trevor’s character, a smart and experienced member of the Los Angeles Police Department, is asked if she can handle this. To her credit, she refrains from a sarcastic reply.
Trevor is primarily selected for the assignment because she is an attractive woman who is supposed to seduce elusive drug lord Raymond Burr. However, it’s not until she arrives in Mexico that her mad espionage skills become evident. In the War on Drugs, Trevor proves herself to be a regular Sun Tzu.
But if busting up a drug ring weren’t tricky enough, Trevor has the added complication of trying not to fall in love with Burr’s drug-trafficking rival, Fred MacMurray.
What’s this? You’re surprised that a mainstream comedy from 1950 would explore drug trafficking?
Turns out the U.S. and Mexican governments have a long history of duking it out over drugs. Things began to get a little tense during Prohibition when folks discovered marijuana was cheaper than alcohol. (If you’d like to read more on the subject of Mexican drug trafficking, you can check out the UNESCO paper HERE.)
And let’s just overlook the fact that the Hollywood film community has long been a supporter of the narcotics industry, even though it makes movies that say Drugs Are Bad.
As for the film Borderline, it isn’t clear what kind of narcotics are being shipped into the U.S. But we know the payoff is worth the risk, because both sides are putting their Best People on the case.
So if anyone is going to make major advances in this war on drugs, it’s our gal Trevor. The only tools she needs are her wits and permanent press wardrobe.
Oh – and this nifty spy camera, which she pulls out of her sleek handbag:
How does Trevor topple a Mexican drug ring? Her approach is simple; she uses a classic Three-Pronged Attack:
Borderline is a rather uneven movie. Sometimes it’s a Capra-esque comedy, while other times it swerves into film noir territory. However, it has a great cast, a witty script and Californian scenery that feels authentically Mexican. If you’re in the mood for a non-edgy crime flick, give Borderline a try.
Borderline: starring Fred MacMurray, Claire Trevor, Raymond Burr. Directed by William A. Seiter. Written by Devery Freeman. Universal Pictures Company, Inc., 1950, B&W, 88 mins.