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While America Sleeps (1939)

An episode in the "Crime Does Not Pay" series. Dave Miller, an aircraft plant worker, is actually selling secret bomber plans to foreign agents. United States Intelligence Department agents... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Dave Miller (as Richard G. Purcell)
... Mary Miller
Egon Brecher ... Klaus
Frederick Vogeding ... Spy Chief (as Fred Vogeding)
... Spy Henchman
... Agent Carmichael
... Arthur A. Sears
... George (as Gaylord Pendleton)
... Barton
... Bill Miller
... Chief of Intelligence
... MGM Crime Reporter
... Air Force Colonel
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Storyline

An episode in the "Crime Does Not Pay" series. Dave Miller, an aircraft plant worker, is actually selling secret bomber plans to foreign agents. United States Intelligence Department agents plan to trap him and the spies he works for. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Genres:

Crime | Short

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Release Date:

15 April 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Crime Does Not Pay No. 22: While America Sleeps  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Too preachy and too hard to believe.
19 November 2013 | by See all my reviews

The Crime Does Not Pay series of shorts from MGM were exceptionally made and highly entertaining films. However, the quality began to slip a bit during the war, as instead of entertaining, the films seem more concerned with preaching to the audiences about Americanism, spies and the like. While the US wouldn't enter WWII for two more years, you can clearly see in "While America Sleeps" that the film is preparing for that eventuality--even though no nations or nationalities are mentioned. It seemed clear to me that the filmmakers were worried about Nazi aggression but since the studios were compelled by laws (ridiculous ones at that) to remain neutral.

This film stars Dick Purcell--the same guy who later gained fame in serials playing the first Captain America. However, in this case, he's a jerk who hates America--or at least he's too selfish to care. He works for an aircraft manufacturer and is illegally photographing plans and sending them on to 'the enemy'. Naturally he's caught but instead of arresting him, government agents set a trap--ultimately proving that crime, particularly treason, does not pay.

There isn't a whole lot of subtlety to this one. It's preachy and brow-beats the audience--which is exactly what the series hadn't been doing up until this one. Unfortunately, as the war progressed, more and more of these films would be devoted to similar topics--forgetting their original style and purpose. Fair at best.


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