Don't Talk (1942) Poster

(1942)

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5/10
The Hashslinging Spy
bkoganbing21 February 2008
Part of the MGM Crime Does Not Pay series, Don't Talk is supposed to serve as a stern warning to not be talking too freely about your work in war related industries. In this case some nasty Axis saboteurs are operating out of both a beauty shop and a hash house.

In this rather dated short personally I liked Gloria Holden as the waitress who listens for information from the factory workers at a tool& dye plant and passes it on to her superiors. But intrepid FBI agent Barry Nelson is definitely on to her and eventually catches on to how she passes the information. Quite clever really.

This Oscar nominated short subject is part of the propaganda the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover encouraged the film industry to make. Funny thing is that they did do a good job in preventing sabotage which was more of a threat then folks would admit today. And Hoover's historic reputation would be in great shape if he had retired in 1945.
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8/10
Loose lips sink....trucks?!
MartinHafer30 April 2012
"Don't Talk" is a wartime propaganda film that was nominated for the Oscar for best short. Surprisingly, it holds up very well today--despite its strong message for the folks at home.

This film is about industrial espionage--Axis attempts to sabotage war supplies being trucked across America. I am not sure how serious a problem this really was during the war. Other than a French cruise ship deliberately sunk in New York harbor, I am really don't know if enemy agents had infiltrated our defense plans. BUT, just in case, films like this were made--made to dramatize the work of the FBI as well as to drive home the need to keep quiet about secret government work.

The reasons why it still holds up well are production values, fine acting and a taut script. So, even though the war is long past, these factors work together to help make a fine short. Well worth seeing--and you can see it for free at archive.org--a site linked to IMDb for many of its films.
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Crime Does Not Pay
Michael_Elliott3 February 2009
Don't Talk (1942)

*** (out of 4)

Oscar-nominated short from MGM's Crime Does Not Pay series. This story centers around a Communist group who are spying through people simply going to a deli or beauty salon. The spies are working at these type of places and listening to people talk about their jobs, which is how information is spread around and various objects destroyed by these groups. This film comes off more like a WW2 propaganda film than an entry in the series but either way the movie works fairly well. The story itself, asking people not to talk, seems a bit far fetched today but I'm really not sure how it would have been taken back in the day. This wasn't the only short to deal with people talking too much as we also had Mr. Blabbermouth!, which was released the same year as this film and it too received an Oscar nomination. We also get some nice performances from a familiar cast including Barry Nelson as an FBI agent and Gloria Holden, from Dracula's Daughter, as a waitress doing some of the spying. There's some nice shoot outs at the end as well.
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4/10
I wish this was a quietly convincing movie
Warning: Spoilers
"Don't Talk" is an American 21-minute silent short film from 1942, so this one is already over 75 years old and that it is about the days of war, even if not abroad, is reflected by the fact that it was indeed made during wartime obviously. The names of the people working on this one are not too known today anymore with the exception of Barry Nelson perhaps, so feel free to check out the list of cast and crew for yourself. The subject here is the investigation by federal authorities against a woman who is a saboteur and we find out she has accomplices too. It's not too bad of a premise, but still the movie never managed to reach a level of suspense that I would have hoped for. The characters are not developed to an extent either that I would have liked, so the film noir component here falls relatively flat overall. It is another of these films that may have worked better back then than today just because of the political context they played in and it is not too surprising in my opinion that it was nominated for an Oscar, even if I wasn't a big fan of the quality. Also very fitting that it lost to another short that is even more about war than this one here. All in all, I give "Don't Talk" a thumbs-down. Watching it once is okay, but may already be one time too many. I suggest you go for something else instead.
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Mediocre WWII Propaganda Short
evanston_dad23 April 2008
"Don't Talk" is a Warners short film that exists as little more than a curiosity piece today, and is an example of the kind of ridiculous propaganda that movie studios at the time were feeding the American people in order to keep morale up for the war.

This forgettable film revolves around the plans of a Communist group planted within the United States to carry out terrorist attacks through their contacts at a war ammunitions plant. The moral of the story is that the American people have to be vigilant and on the lookout for subversive behavior -- in other words, when our country is at war, everyone is a soldier in that war. Sound familiar?

What this movie proves is that things haven't changed all that much in the intervening years.
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