What Price Safety! (1938)

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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 21 users  
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Racketeers muscle in on construction business, use inferior materials, make big profits and endanger the public safety.


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Cast overview:
Lionel Royce ...
Mr. Zuto
Foreman Cooper
J. Z. Wray


A construction site is vandalized, the result of which is the building has collapsed and a nearby tunnel flooded. The contractor, the J.Z. Wray Construction Company which is the largest construction company in the city, is potentially ruined by this mishap as it's not the first time one of Wray's buildings under construction has collapsed. The chief building inspector, telling Wray he believes it just shoddy work on Wray's part, tells Wray he's going to investigate regardless. However, the building inspector is in cahoots with the vandals' leader, the notorious racketeer Zuto, who is out to take over Wray's business first by becoming his unknown silent partner. Zuto plans on using second rate materials and get city business through the connections with the building inspector. When some of Wray's now fired men, including his former chief foreman named Cooper, and some legitimate building inspectors learn of the shoddy work now at Wray construction sites - the shoddy work secretly ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Crime | Drama





Release Date:

5 February 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Crime Does Not Pay No. 14: What Price Safety!  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Betrayed by an orchid!
13 November 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"What Price Safety!" begins with crooks deliberately sabotaging the Wray Construction Company's buildings in order to ruin the guy. This is so criminals can muscle in on him and build inferior projects instead--charging clients normal prices for sub-par projects. Not surprisingly, the safety inspectors are appalled but are either reassigned when they say anything or are violently killed. However, oddly, the case is solved due to orchid pollen found on the dead inspector.

This is another exceptional installment of this series. Like the other shorts, the production values are very nice (it was made by MGM) and the story hums along well. What I particularly liked about this one was its reliance on forensics--well before you might expect. In addition to the pollen the police also evaluate the steel using extreme magnification. Well done in every way.

By the way, when you see one of the building collapse, I am pretty sure some of these clips were lifted of an earlier MGM film, "San Francisco". Also, Wallace Doughtery is the district attorney who introduces the show. Despite their saying he was the D.A., he actually was an actor!

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