As we pause to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we examine some of the pre-Civil Rights films that examine race in America. One such story is the classic 1949 drama, Lost Boundaries.
This is one of four films that put a somewhat realistic spotlight on race relations all with varying success.
Based on the book by William Lindsay White, Lost Boundaries tells the true story of the lives of Scott and Marsha Carter. Having graduated from medical school, Scott Carter, a fair-skinned African American, marries Marsha Mitchell and moves to Georgia. When he arrives at the black clinic in Georgia, he discovers that the job must inconveniently go to a Southerner. Discussions between two nurses at this clinic suggest that Scott’s light skin may have some bearing on the decision not to hire him.
Defeated but not conquered, Scott returns to Massachusetts to live with his in-laws until he can get employment. He tries unsuccessfully to obtain employment as an African American. Because Marsha is pregnant, Scott decides to take a job at Portsmouth Hospital, but he reluctantly does so as a white man. While there, he manages to save the life of Dr. Bracket, who encourages him to take a postion in Keenham, New Hampshire.
Scott decides to continue “passing” for white. In Keenham, Dr. Scott Carter proves to be quite a success for the town. For twenty years, Dr. and Mrs. Carter live peacefully in Keenham with son, Howard and daughter, Shelley. All goes well until Scott and Howard decide to enter the military during World War II. When Scott applies for officer status with the Navy, an investigation reveals his black heritage, and he is barred from receiving a commission.
The film stars, Beatrice Pearson, Mel Ferrer and Susan Douglas Rubes.
Here is a clip from the film!