IMDb > For the Common Defense! (1942)

For the Common Defense! (1942) More at IMDbPro »


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John C. Higgins (screenplay)
John C. Higgins (story)
View company contact information for For the Common Defense! on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 June 1942 (USA) See more »
This Crime Does Not Pay short shows how cooperation among all the nations of the Americas helps the war effort... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Saludos Amigos! See more (1 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

John Litel ... Subprefect Santiago Castillo

Douglas Fowley ... Dutch Mullner

Stephen McNally ... Lt. Guytan (as Horace McNally)

Van Johnson ... Agent Pritchard
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Egon Brecher ... Adolph (uncredited)
Jacqueline Dalya ... Buckley's girlfriend (uncredited)
Mark Daniels ... MGM Crime Reporter (uncredited)
Steven Geray ... Heinrich Ort (uncredited)

Directed by
Allan Kenward  (as Allan R. Kenward)
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
John C. Higgins  screenplay
John C. Higgins  story

Cinematography by
Jackson Rose 
Film Editing by
Jack Ruggiero 
Art Direction by
Richard Duce 
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Crime Does Not Pay No. 37: For the Common Defense" - USA (series title)
See more »
22 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
USA:Approved (certificate #8205)

Did You Know?

Included as a bonus feature in Warner Home Video's 2004 DVD release of Mrs. Miniver (1942).See more »


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Saludos Amigos!, 20 November 2013
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida

One seldom talked about part of the American war effort that most people today probably don't know about is our so-called 'Good Neighbor Policy'. What this meant is that the US wanted to strengthen ties with Central and South America because there was concerned that some of these nations MIGHT join the Axis powers or covertly assist them. A part of this program included encouraging American movie makers to visit these countries if possible or at least make films about these countries. This explains why Twentieth Century-Fox made quite a few musicals set in South America (such as "Down Argentina Way") as well as which featured Carmen Miranda. It also explains why Disney made some rather boring features like "Saludos Amigos" and "The Three Caballeros"--and part of this process included Walt himself taking his executives and other employees on a very lengthy tour of South America. In light of all this, "For the Common Defense!" makes a lot of sense--though, compared to the rest of MGM's Crime Does Not Pay series, it was definitely sub-par.

Most of this film is set in Chile and a bit is set in Columbia. However, being a short film, MGM didn't send the crew to the continent nor did they hire South Americans. No, it's a sound stage-bound film with gringos filling in for Chilean officials. Additionally, the film is interesting because it's one of Van Johnson's first films--and he has BROWN hair, not his usual red.

The film is about, what else, evil Axis agents in South America who are trying to stir up trouble and sabotage. The German and Japanese agents were, naturally, evil BUT destined to fail. After all, this was clearly intended as a propaganda film to bolster the American resolve--and it really, really was needed in early 1942 when this one debuted.

The movie is fairly enjoyable but no more. It is a bit preachy and I personally preferred the gangster baddies you used to find in the shorts before the war began. Still, it's not bad viewing.

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