Mary Turner goes up for three years on a crime she didn't commit. Once out she and former prison mates plan a scam in which old men can be sued for breach of promise - the "heart balm" ... See full summary »
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Mary Turner goes up for three years on a crime she didn't commit. Once out she and former prison mates plan a scam in which old men can be sued for breach of promise - the "heart balm" racket. After plotting verious ways to get back at the men who set her up initially, she softens and settles down. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
As MGMs Depression era every-woman Joan Crawford plays another hard luck story against an unsympathetic system but in this one she is out for revenge.
Mary Turner is sent up the river for three years for a crime she did not commit. Her boss, Mr. Gilder has it within his power to reduce sentence but he smugly declines. In the big house Mary hardens and makes connections. She hooks up with former inmate Agnes Lynch ( scene stealer Marie Prevost) and a small time crook Joe Garson (Robert Armstrong) and together they begin to make a lucrative business out of bilking wealthy old fools. Mary snags a young one though; the son of Mr. Gilder, making her revenge complete. When Joe gets duped into an art heist the cushy racket begins to come unglued.
Paid opens fast with Mary at her sentencing followed by a montage of degrading prison life. A broken woman she seeks out Agnes (already working a scam)and rises like a Phoenix with a hard as nails attitude and her self taught education in prison. In addition to the vivid prison scenes there are also some strong moments between Crawford and Armstrong as he feels her out. Once in the groove though Mary clearly takes charge especially the moment she announces to Gilder the elder she's hitched to her son.
When Mary goes soft so does the picture unfortunately and scenes go limp when the tough talk gets mawkish. There is a well edited and suspenseful heist scene and a superb in your face death scene where a mug takes his omerta oath to the grave as well as some lines of raw bias that contribute to the film's pre-code hard edge but when Crawford abandons her cynical self assured side and returns to the tremulous voice of the first reel Paid ends up shortchanging you.
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