Retrospektive 2018

Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence

Ricardo Cortez
USA 1939
62 min

Sowohl Glenn Ford als auch Richard Conte gaben in HEAVEN WITH A BARBED WIRE FENCE ihr Hauptrollen-Debüt. In dem Roadmovie quittiert ein optimistischer Träumer seinen Job, um per Daumen und Bahn in Richtung Westen zu reisen, wo ein Stück Natur, das er per Post gekauft hat, darauf wartet, in Farmland umgewandelt zu werden. Auf seiner pittoresken Reise trifft er unterschiedliche Leute; der Gedankenaustausch mit ihnen in Güterwägen oder an Hobo- Lagerfeuern schafft den komödiantischen Charme des Films und kontrastiert ihn mit Dust-Bowl-Naturkatastrophen und Unfällen, die das bukolische Ideal bedrohen.



Marking the screen debuts of both Glenn Ford and Richard Conte (here Nicolas Conte), HEAVEN WITH A BARBED WIRE FENCE was one of seven films helmed for 20th Century Fox by actor turned director Ricardo Cortez, brother of cinematographer Stanley Cortez. A gently rambling road movie, HEAVEN WITH A BARBED WIRE FENCE follows an optimistic dreamer who quits his department store job to travel impatiently West, by thumb and by rail, to Arizona where a plot of land he purchased by mail waits to be transformed into a farm. Along the way he befriends Conte’s garrulous drifter and, more unexpectedly, a Spanish Civil War exile played by serial-starlet Jean Rogers, with beloved handlebar moustached character actor Raymond Walburn tagging along as an absent-minded professor lending a comic accent to the spontaneous group dialogue. Much of the pleasure of the film lies, in fact, in those scenes of the unlikely group bonding in freight cars and besides hobo camp fires, sharing their dreams and musings on life on the road. But darker forces also gather around the edges of the film, with specters of Dust Bowl poverty and cruel accidents threatening to shatter the travelers’ hopes for bucolic and greener pastures. (Haden Guest)


  • Ward Bond
  • Eddie Collins
  • Glenn Ford
  • Richard Conte
  • Marjorie Rambeau - Schwester Bessie
  • Jean Rogers
  • Raymond Walburn
  • Dalton Trumbo
  • Leonard Hoffman
  • Ben Grauman Kohn
  • Sam Duncan
  • Edward Cronjager
  • Samuel Kaylin
20th Century Fox
35 mm
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