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Within the Law (1939)

Passed  -  Crime | Drama | Romance  -  17 March 1939 (USA)
6.2
Your rating:
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 85 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 3 critic

Mary Turner, is wrongly accused, by her employer Edward Gilder, and then convicted of theft. In prison she studies law books, and on release partners with another woman to legally scam ... See full summary »

Director:

(as Gustav Machaty)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: Within the Law (1939)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mary Turner
Tom Neal ...
Richard Gilder
Paul Kelly ...
Joe Garson
William Gargan ...
Cassidy
Paul Cavanagh ...
English Eddie
Rita Johnson ...
Agnes
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Mr. Gilder
Lynne Carver ...
June
...
Jo Ann Sayers ...
Helen Morris
Ann Morriss ...
Saleswoman
James Burke ...
'Red'
Donald Douglas ...
Inspector Burke
Cliff Clark ...
McGuire
Claude King ...
Art Dealer
Edit

Storyline

Mary Turner, is wrongly accused, by her employer Edward Gilder, and then convicted of theft. In prison she studies law books, and on release partners with another woman to legally scam wealthy men, including Dick Gilder, son of her accuser. Written by trivwhiz

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 March 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dentro da Lei  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Police Sergeant Cassidy, portrayed by William Gargan, comes to see Joe and the gang, he says, "Don't tell me I'm crashing into society, some of the 400 are going to be awfully sore about missing this party." "The 400" were the purported late gilded age (1880s and later) social elite of New York City, a term coined by Ward McAllister (the self-appointed arbiter of New York society of the late 1800s), and the term supposedly represented the number of people who could be accommodated in the ballroom of Mrs (Caroline) William Backhouse Astor, Jr. See more »

Connections

Version of Within the Law (1923) See more »

Soundtracks

I've Got You Under My Skin
(1936) (uncredited)
Written by Cole Porter
Played on a radio
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nice Film
7 April 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Allow me to preface this review by stating that I've read the original source of this story (a play produced in 1912) as well as the 1930 Joan Crawford version, Paid. With this context, my review is equal parts a commentary on this movie alone and a commentary on an adaptation and remake.

I've grown to appreciate the talents of Ruth Hussey after tracking down her available films, and while I do see her as MGM originally saw her (a potential replacement for Rosalind Russell who was a potential replacement for Myrna Loy should either one get on Louis B. Mayer's bad side {as Myrna did when she went on strike after the success of The Thin Man for more money}), she more than proves herself capable of dependable acting and even great drama in the vein of Susan Hayward (too bad Hussey hadn't been born ten or fifteen years later) in Within the Law.

The plot is simple: shop-girl Mary Turner is falsely accused of theft from her place of employment and sentenced to three years in prison, vowing revenge on the man who sent her there--her employer. This version is much more brisk than Crawford's Pre-Code melodrama, which, as a Crawford vehicle, paid more attention to its star than the actual story. This is the result of the script for Hussey's version pulling the plot out of its stage-roots and casting an attractive and charismatic actor (Tom Neal) as Richard Gilder. Also, as amusing as Marie Prevost was, Rita Johnson's "Aggie Lynch" was suitably brazen and funny as the "Aggie Lynch" from the play. However, like Paid, Within the Law cannot escape its source material and I can see why the up-and-down drama of the last act can come across as stupid. The plot twists are very plausible and characteristic of 1912, but in 1930 or 1939, they are simply over the top.

But the acting is superb, even though I must admit that given a bit more of the MGM polish and a higher tier of actors and actresses, Within the Law could have been a perfect Myrna Loy vehicle (and I did see shades of Myrna in Ruth Hussey's performance). Though this is obviously a programmer and most likely a vehicle for testing audience reaction of Hussey, it is just as entertaining as MGM's "A" pictures of this period.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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