IMDb > A Crime Does Not Pay Subject: 'Buyer Beware' (1940)

A Crime Does Not Pay Subject: 'Buyer Beware' (1940) More at IMDbPro »


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Down 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Scott Littleton (based on an original idea by)
Julian Hochfelder (screenplay) ...
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Release Date:
17 August 1940 (USA) See more »
This entry in MGM's "Crime Does Not Pay" series deals with shady companies selling fake merchandise. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Vest-Pocket Blockbuster See more (4 total) »


  (in alphabetical order)
Charles Arnt ... Les Carter (uncredited)

Hugh Beaumont ... Insp. Thomas' Assistant (uncredited)
Egon Brecher ... Child's Father (uncredited)
Charles D. Brown ... Police Insp. William C. Thomas (uncredited)
Helen Brown ... Helen Collins (uncredited)
John Butler ... Jerry (uncredited)

Ralph Byrd ... Officer Halligan (uncredited)
Ken Christy ... Marty Vincent (uncredited)
Jimmie Dundee ... Truck Driver (uncredited)
Guy Kingsford ... Police Chemist (uncredited)
Carroll Nye ... George Collins (uncredited)
Frank Orth ... Smith (uncredited)
Jack Pennick ... Pill Spilling (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Man Consoling Wife (uncredited)

Milburn Stone ... Fredericks (uncredited)
Brick Sullivan ... Cop (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan ... County Geologist (uncredited)
Charles Wagenheim ... Doctor (uncredited)

Directed by
Joseph M. Newman  (as Joe Newman)
Writing credits
Scott Littleton (based on an original idea by)

Julian Hochfelder (screenplay) and
Alan Friedman (screenplay)

Produced by
Jack Chertok .... producer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Lester White 
Film Editing by
Adrienne Fazan 
Art Direction by
Richard Duce 
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Crime Does Not Pay No. 30: Buyer Beware" - USA (series title)
See more »
20 min
Black and White (Sepiatone)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
USA:Approved | USA:Passed (National Board of Review)


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Vest-Pocket Blockbuster, 4 November 2015
Author: John T. Ryan ( from United States

MADE AS PART of a series of Short Subjects that were intended to be a sort of throw-in premium for theatre operators who would book MGM's features, this little two reeler proves to be instead a model for film-making. It has outstandingly constructed storyline, no wasted actions and a solid dose of believability at its core.

ALTHOUGH ONE COULD certainly argue that the movie has little "artistic" merit, this is quite possibly its strong point. Its audience wanted to be treated to a dose of close to home examination of the real world's everyday problems and how society is harmed by illegality that is embraced even in a 'casual' manner.

PRESENTED IN SUCH docudrama style that would become so very popular years later, it is clear that the story is derived from the real occurrence or of many; those being blended into a single story. The opening narration so states and reminds us that the names of the real people have been substituted with fictitious monikers. (Sort of like the future Radio/TV series, DRAGNET, would use: "The names have been changed to protect the innocent.")

THE PLOT AND storyline involve a burglary ring specializing in the victimizing of pharmaceutical companies and their "fencing" the contraband goods to otherwise legitimate business at a cut-rate price; which could only be possibly so low if the merchandise was "hot", or at least very warm.

THE ACTION IRISES in on a struggling new independent drugstore partnership and how one of the two pharmacists convinces his younger associate to go along with the crooked dealers. There is a mild dose of success in getting the store off the ground; but serious trouble follows as a prescription drug is tainted with poison. Multiple deaths follow; which makes the otherwise "Legitimate" Businessmen accomplices to the multiple homicides.

VIEWING THIS FILM recently on Turner Classic Movies cable channel was our first contact with the MGM Series of CRINE DOES NOT PAY shorts. We found it to be most satisfying and intriguing. It may well have been the model for so many of the half hour Cop Series that permeated the airwaves of the early television webs (networks).

WE HAVE ALREADY made reference to its resemblance to Jack Webb's DRAGNET series; but e must make mention of another. We see a very striking similarity to RACKET SQUAD, which starred Reed Hadley as Captain John Braddock, main character and narrator.

IN ADDITION TO the previously mentioned attributes, we cannot sign off without mentioning the fine cast and how well they were employed in making this short. The roster included: Frank Orth, Ralph Byrd (everyone's favourite DICK TRACY), Hugh Beaumont and Milburm Stone (best remembered as 'Doc' Adams on the GUNSMOKE TV Series).

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