27 user 7 critic

Paid (1930)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 30 December 1930 (USA)
Mary Turner goes up for three years on a crime she didn't commit. Once out she and former prison mates plan a scam in which old men can be sued for breach of promise - the "heart balm" ... See full summary »


Sam Wood


Bayard Veiller (play), Lucien Hubbard (adaptation) | 2 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Joan Crawford ... Mary Turner
Robert Armstrong ... Joe Garson
Marie Prevost ... Agnes Lynch
Douglass Montgomery ... Bob Gilder (as Kent Douglass)
John Miljan ... Inspector Burke
Purnell Pratt ... Edward Gilder (as Purnell B. Pratt)
Hale Hamilton ... District Attorney Demarest
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Police Sergeant Cassidy (as Robert Emmet O'Connor)
Tyrell Davis ... Eddie Griggs (as Tyrrell Davis)
William Bakewell ... Carney
George Cooper ... Red
Gwen Lee ... Bertha
Isabel Withers Isabel Withers ... Helen Morris (scenes deleted)


Mary Turner goes up for three years on a crime she didn't commit. Once out she and former prison mates plan a scam in which old men can be sued for breach of promise - the "heart balm" racket. After plotting verious ways to get back at the men who set her up initially, she softens and settles down. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Three full years in prison for a crime she didn't commit- Do you wonder she wanted revenge? (Print Ad-Turtle Mountain Star,((Rolla, N.D.)) 4 June 1931)


Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

30 December 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Within the Law See more »


Box Office


$355,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film was a hit at the box office, earning MGM a profit of $415,000 ($6.2M in 2019) according to studio records. See more »


Joe Garson: [after facing a frigid Mary] I'm wise. You ain't a regular. You're only a volunteer. I just got you.
Mary Turner: But, I - I - well, I don't know what you mean?
Joe Garson: You ain't never - you know what I mean. That's right, ain't it?
Mary Turner: Well, yes.
Joe Garson: I thought I had you pegged.
See more »


Remade as Broadway Television Theatre: Within the Law (1952) See more »


The Sidewalks of New York
Music by Charles Lawlor (1894)
Lyrics by James W. Blake
Partially sung by George Cooper
See more »

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User Reviews

Gritty and dynamic performance by Crawford
28 July 2004 | by modern_maidenSee all my reviews

This is one of Joan Crawford's best pre-code films. It is very hard to find, but worth the effort! Through her character's evolution, Joan is able to show off a wide variety of emotions, proving she did have good acting skill early in her career.

Typical of the early Talkies, most of the acting style is a bit theatrical, so viewers not used to watching early classics may feel it has a dated quality. But if that doesn't bother you, you will find that the story is riveting, the characters are colorful, and the performance by Crawford is fabulous.

Crawford's character, Mary Turner, is by far the most fascinating, and commands attention. We see her begin as a confused, frumpy simple girl unjustly imprisoned for a crime she didn't commit. Then we watch her grow into a hard-boiled, intelligent, sophisticated criminal, hellbent on revenge. She grew to become what she had been wrongly accused of. You can't help but pity her lost innocence and respect her determination, despite its criminal intent.

A must-see for anyone who loves pre-code film, gangster films, or Joan Crawford.

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