Scen.: Mikhaïl Dubson; F.: Vladimir Rapoport; Scgf.: Efim Khiguer, Isaac Makhlis; Mu.: Leib Pulver; Su.: Lev Valter; Int.: Veniamine Zouskine (il commesso Arié), Boris Poslavski (Novik), Elena Granovskaïa (Fleïga, sua moglie), S. Peïssina (la loro figlia), Nikolaï Valiano (Boris), Vera Bakun (Ania, la sorella di Boris), Vassili Toporkov (il calzolaio Tuvim, loro padre), P. Arones (il rabbino), T. Khazak (il cantore), Piotr Kirillov (Bart, il capo del contro-spionaggio), Nikolaï Tcherkassov (Gaïdul), Gueorgui Orlov (l’artigiano Moïsseï), Leonid Kmit (Vassia), Efim Althus, Sergueï Guerassimov, Emile Gal (gli artigiani); Prod.: Lenfilm; Pri. pro.: 25 settembre 1935. 35mm. L.: 2600 m. D.: 94’ a 24 f/s. Bn.
Mikhail Dubson was born in 1899 in Smolensk and lived in Germany, where he shot his first films Zwei Brüder (1929) and Gift Gas (1929). Frontier was his first Soviet film. The original screenplay written by him was entitled The Black Crowning and wove two narratives together: one about a smallpox epidemic in a shtetl in Polish territory a few miles away from the Soviet border, which the rabbi wants to cure by celebrating an ancient ritual, the black crowning; the other one follows the trials and tribulations of a Jewish revolutionary arrested by the police while trying to cross the border. The main character, Ari, is an assistant of a factory owner, and his experience with the illegal immigrant slowly converts him to the cause of the revolution. The film was made in 1933 and was banned, but Dubson was allowed to revise it. He cut mostly the first narrative, added poor worker characters in the shtetl, emphasized the political awakening of the main character and gave the film a more optimistic tone; with these changes the film was finally released, two years after the first version’s completion.