Crime Does Not Pay The Complete Shorts Collection
Back during the Great Depression and straight through the 1940s, paying around 25 cents for a visit to your local movie theater — there were hundreds in New York City — likely would buy a three-hour plus program that included two feature films, a short live-action film, an animated short, and maybe a newsreel. Like the other major studios, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was active all of these film formats, including “Crime Does Not Pay,” a series of live-action shorts it distributed to theaters between 1935 and 1947. Most non-animated shorts during this period were comedies, musicals, travelogues or pseudo-documentaries showing movie stars on the town.

“Crime Does Not Pay” — a positively addictive collection of all 50 shorts released by the Warner Archive Collection — is a standout dramatic crime series with very high production values, solid casts, and first-rate scripts, atmospheric cinematography, excellent special effects and made with care by such future directing greats as Fred Zinneman, Jacques Toureur and Joseph Losey, as well as gifted journeymen like Joe Newman, Roy Rowland, Felix Feist, the mysterious Errol Taggart, future Dr. Kildare series director Harold Bucquet.


Part public service, part exploitation, MGM’s series of “Crime Does Not Pay” two-reelers entertained cinema-goers from 1935 to 1947, serving up punchy little cautionary tales about people who break the law—either because they’re criminals by trade, victims of circumstance, or just negligent. Warner Archive’s six-disc Crime Does Not Pay set contains all 50 of the series’ shorts, from “Buried Loot,” in which the feds arrange a prison break so that they can track one con’s attempt to recover his stolen cash, to “The Luckiest Guy In The World,” in which a young man plots to fake his own death and then discovers—whoops!—that he’s worth more alive. Some of these shorts are taut procedurals, revealing how the dogged heroes of law enforcement chase down every clue and trip up crafty crooks. Others are designed to inform viewers about common scams, to offer helpful safety tips, or to function as dark sketches of desperation. All are compact models of classic Hollywood storytelling, using veteran character actors to imbue stock types with personality, and then grinding those types through the plot-twist mill to an inevitably bleak fate.

5xDVD9 + DVD5 | NTSC 4:3 | 1010 minutes | 42.1 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: none
Genre: Short, Crime, Drama

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