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Madonna’s Borderline Music Video

The Video, Credits & Info

Premiere: February 1984
Director: Mary Lambert
Producer: Bruce Logan and Michele Ferrone
Director of Photography: Andrea Dietrich
Art Director: Simon Maskell
Editor: Glenn Morgan
Make Up: Debi Mazar
Stylist: Maripol
Cast: Madonna, Louie Louie
Production Company: Bruce Logan Inc.
Filming Location: Los Angeles
Filming Dates: January 30th to February 2nd 1984

Making Of The Video

Video Facts

Mary Lambert (director) on making the video:
“I studied film and painting at the Rhode Island School of Design in the late ’70s. Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of Talking Heads were two of my closest friends at RISD. After college, I moved to LA and got a job in the fledgling special effects business. I was on the fringes of the film industry, directing special effects commercials for washing machines, going to punk clubs, and making weird films. And then, in like, ’82, I saw a music video: Rickie Lee Jones’s “Chuck E.’s in Love.” I thought, Wow, this is kind of like my films. I should do music videos. I had no concept of the industry, actually. I thought I was going to be an artist and make short abstract films. I was really stupid.

I asked Tina and Chris if I could do a music video for them, which was “As Above, So Below,” for their other band, the Tom Tom Club. When I took it to Warner Bros. to show Jeff Ayeroff, he said, “This is great, but it’s useless, because we’re not promoting the album anymore.” But he did give me a job directing a video for a new artist named Madonna. She’d released a couple of disco-pop singles, and Jeff wanted to position her with a little more integrity and depth. He gave me the song “Borderline” and bought me a plane ticket to New York to go meet her. I had no idea what she even looked like. When I heard her music, I thought she was black.

First I had to track her down—this was before cell phones—and she wasn’t easy to find. She was living in a bare-bones apartment on the Upper East Side. It didn’t look like anyone lived there, to tell you the truth. There wasn’t any furniture. But we hit it off. We bonded on the level of just being girls “I came away thinking that she was a piece of work, and that this was going to be fun. She had four or five different boyfriends at the time. One of them was a record producer, Jellybean Benitez, but he was really, really jealous of everybody. Of everything. He was the prototype for Sean Penn. He was convinced that she was seeing other guys and that he wasn’t going to be able to control her. And he was completely right, of course, on both accounts.

We talked for a couple of days about “Borderline.” She was really into Hispanic boys, and she wanted the video to be about having an affair with a cute Hispanic boy who was part of the street scene. She wanted to be involved in casting the cute Hispanic boy. She was going to be in LA, so we decided to make it into a real LA video. I knew the downtown LA area really well, because there were a lot of artist bars there.

There was no formula. We were inventing it as we went along. When I screened “Borderline” for Madonna’s manager, Freddy DeMann, he was hysterical that I had combined black-and-white footage with color footage. Nobody had done that before. He made me screen it for all the secretaries in his office and see how they reacted, because he felt I had crossed a line that shouldn’t be crossed.”


Nomination for MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist In A Video (Lost to “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” by Eurythmics)