Shows how so-called "minor" lawbreakers can do more damage than major criminals.


(as Joe Newman)
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Cast overview:
Moroni Olsen ...
Dr. Walter Terriss
Richard Lane ...
George Johnson
Frank Orth ...
Peter Brennan
William Forrest ...
Police Lieutenant Edward Macroy


A lesson in uncivic selfishness and the value of city ordinances. A public health officer describes an event at a coastal city where a wharf owner bribed a health inspector to ignore an infestation of rats. An outbreak of plague hits - first a dockworker dies then others near the harbor. The police join the health department in searching for the bribed inspector, who's holed up in the mountain cabin of the dock owner. As more die, it becomes urgent to find the inspector and his notes. The doc and the cop set out to catch a man's conscience. Written by <>

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Short | Crime | Drama





Release Date:

4 January 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Crime Does Not Pay No. 33: Respect the Law  »

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

Good Entry
23 December 2008 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Respect the Law (1941)

*** (out of 4)

Thirty-third entry in MGM's "Crime Does Not Pay" series with this one taking a look at minor crimes and how they can be just as dangerous as major crimes. In the film, a ship dock owner (Richard Lane) buys off a Health Inspector so that he can avoid cleaning the rats off his dock. This doesn't seem too big at the time but soon the rats bring in a plague that starts killing hundreds of people. This isn't the best film in the series but it's another good entry that gets its point across even though it's pretty heavily handled at times. As with most films in the series, I'm really not sure how much good they did as I'm sure people forgot the message as they walked out of the theater but perhaps these did leave their mark on a few. Lane, from Columbia's Boston Blackie series, turns in a good performance and you can also look for a young Hugh Beaumont from Leave It to Beaver fame.

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