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Lost Boundaries

(1949 b 99')

En: 6 Ed: 7

Based on a true story, a light-skinned Negro couple pass for white in New Hampshire until he applies to be an officer in the US Navy.

In June 1922 Scott Carter (Mel Ferrer) gets his medical degree and weds Marcia (Beatrice Pearson) in New Hampshire. He gets an internship in a Georgia hospital, but the Negroes there reject him because he not a southern Negro.

Scott and Marcia live with her parents, and her father says they are passing for white. Dr. Jesse Pridham (Ray Saunders) advises Scott to pass, but Scott applies for jobs and gets rejections. Then he replaces a friend in a white hospital. Scott goes to an island and does a stomach operation on Dr. Walter Brackett (Morton Stevens). Grateful Dr. Brackett offers him a medical practice, and Scott says he is a Negro. Marcia has a baby boy, and Scott accepts the practice. The people of Keenham, New Hampshire come to respect Scott as their doctor.

In 1942 Marcia becomes the head of the Red Cross. Scott works in Boston part-time at a clinic with Jesse. A nurse refuses to use Negro blood, and Scott enlists in the Navy. After asking his parents, Howard Carter (Richard Hylton) brings his black friend Arthur Cooper (William Greaves) home for a visit. They go to a dance. Alvin (Parker Fennelly) and Arthur sing songs. Howard tells his father he is joining the Navy, but Arthur could only be a Navy steward.

Lt. Lacy of Naval Intelligence questions Scott, who admits he is a Negro. Scott tells Marcia his commission was revoked. Scott and Marcia tell Howard that they are part Negro and that he can't be an officer either. Howard cries. Marcia asks Scott not to tell people that night. They give him a watch and ask him to come back.

Marcia finds Howard is gone and tells Rev. John Taylor (Robert A. Dunn). Scott goes to Jesse, who suggests he work in their clinic. Howard goes to Harlem and rents a room. People in Keenham whisper about the Carters. Alvin tells Shelly Carter (Susan Douglas) about the rumor and learns it is true. He invites her to the dance, but she declines. Howard sees a fight and stops a man from using a gun. He is arrested and refuses to say who he is; but he talks to the black lieutenant (Canada Lee), who releases him.

Scott goes to his father at the clinic, and they both go home. The four Carters go to church. Rev. Taylor preaches that all men are brothers. As they sing "Once to Every Nation," Shelly walks out. Scott Carter remains their doctor.

This racial drama explores the dilemma of people who are more European than African, yet are not considered white. Booker T. Washington once pointed out the irony of racial prejudice, because it makes African blood so powerful that even the smallest amount makes one a Negro. This drama shows that people may differ for many reasons; but racial background matters little unless there is prejudice.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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