23 user 6 critic

Paid (1930)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 30 December 1930 (USA)
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 »



(play), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Joe Garson
Agnes Lynch
Bob Gilder (as Kent Douglass)
Inspector Burke
Edward Gilder (as Purnell B. Pratt)
District Attorney Demarest
Police Sergeant Cassidy (as Robert Emmet O'Connor)
Eddie Griggs (as Tyrrell Davis)
Isabel Withers ...
Helen Morris (scenes deleted)


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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 December 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Within the Law  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Isabel Withers is listed in studio records as appearing in this film with character name "Helen Morris," but her scenes were cut before the film was released. See more »


Mary Turner: Gee you're white, Joe.
See more »


Remade as Broadway Television Theatre: Within the Law (1952) See more »


The Sidewalks of New York
Music by Charles Lawlor (1894)
Lyrics by James W. Blake
Partially sung by George Cooper
See more »

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User Reviews

Joan Crawford Mesmerizes in Revenge Plot
19 January 2014 | by See all my reviews

1930's film "Paid" is worth every penny and a collector's item for film buffs primarily because of Joan Crawford! This was one of her first "talkies" and Joan determined to show the movie studio execs she was more than a flapper, proved she had the acting chops in her first compelling dramatic performance. She is mesmerizing! Supported by a strong cast like Marie Prevost as endearing wise cracking Agnes Lynch, Robert Armstrong as con artist Joe Garson and Purnell Pratt as the hateful Edward Gilder, her former boss, the film is well written and an entertaining story! Based on "Within the Law" by Bayard Veiller which ran successfully on Broadway in 1912 and three silent films later, this film version (and a talkie) is a must see. Although director Sam Wood does a decent job, it is evident that several scenes were shot like a stage play. The look of the film is interesting however, and set lighting captures the mood, especially with shots of Joan in the women's penitentiary. 30's Films of the day were somewhat stylized and the acting often exaggerated and over the top. But Joan Crawford is a natural and gives an unforgettable performance. She is a knockout in every sense of the word!

The premise is still a good one and this movie buff would love to see the film remade today in a modern version with excellent direction. But it would be hard to top Joan Crawford's performance. "Paid" opens up with a court scene that sentences wrongfully accused Mary Turner to three years in the pen for stealing from the Gilder store where she's worked as a clerk. The department store owner Edward Gilder and his high priced lawyer decisive in sending Mary to jail, represent the unfair establishment.

The film made shortly after the famous stock market crash, is a perfect film for the times. The viewer is immediately on board and Mary Turner represents the oppressed innocent trying to get ahead. It is no wonder that the film did so well in the box office. The first time the camera gives you a close up of Joan Crawford, it is a powerful and unforgettable experience. Joan shows her enormous talent in her hurt, indignant,scared and angry expressions as she receives her sentence. Her big eyes and convincing performance reels the audience in and the viewer becomes an ally with her promise to avenge herself. I was glued to the screen wondering how she was going to get her revenge. The twists and turns in the story line were not always predictable. Joan Crawford gives the most enigmatic and interesting character transformation. In the beginning of the film she is a framed innocent person, but when Mary Turner comes out after doing her time, she is jaded by the system though wiser, stronger and with knowledge of the law. She is going to get even and no one is going to stand in her way even when she starts to fall in love. Mary Turner helps her con artist friends but only if they stay "within the law." Her associations lead to conflict and a major turning point in the story. I recommend this gem of a film. "Paid" has a good pay off for the viewer!

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