Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


WITHIN THE LAW (1939). Director: Gustav Machaty.

This is a remake of Paid, which really put Joan Crawford on the map. In this version Ruth Hussey acquits herself nicely in the same role, Mary Turner, who's wrongly convicted of stealing jewelry from her employer, Gilder (Samuel S. Hinds), and winds up the big house for three years. She vows to get even with Gilder when she gets out. Studying law books she realizes that there's a way to earn quick cash unethically while still staying "within the law." As part of her revenge scheme, she romances Gilder's son Richard (Tom Neal of Detour fame). This is a snappy, entertaining picture with a good cast: Paul Kelly, Paul Cavanagh, James Burke, and Rita Johnson are among the thieves Mary falls in with; William Gargan is the cop who's out to get them.

Verdict: Not a lost classic from 1939 but creditable enough. ***.

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