6.6/10
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5 user 3 critic

Within the Law (1939)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 17 March 1939 (USA)
Mary Turner, is wrongly accused, by her employer Edward Gilder, and then convicted of theft. In prison she studies law books, and on release partners with another woman to legally scam ... See full summary »

Director:

Gustav Machatý (as Gustav Machaty)

Writers:

Charles Lederer (screen play), Edith Fitzgerald (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ruth Hussey ... Mary Turner
Tom Neal ... Richard Gilder
Paul Kelly ... Joe Garson
William Gargan ... Cassidy
Paul Cavanagh ... English Eddie
Rita Johnson ... Agnes
Samuel S. Hinds ... Mr. Gilder
Lynne Carver ... June
Sidney Blackmer ... George Demarest
Jo Ann Sayers ... Helen Morris
Ann Morriss ... Saleswoman
James Burke ... 'Red'
Donald Douglas ... Inspector Burke
Cliff Clark ... McGuire
Claude King ... Art Dealer
Edit

Storyline

Mary Turner, is wrongly accused, by her employer Edward Gilder, and then convicted of theft. In prison she studies law books, and on release partners with another woman to legally scam wealthy men, including Dick Gilder, son of her accuser. Written by trivwhiz

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 March 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dentro da Lei See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many cast members in studio records/casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. These were (with their character names, if any): Cleora Robb and Cleora Robb (Twins), Psyche Neibert (Marjorie), Rae Daggett (Miss Stone), Ted Oliver (Detective), Harry Humphrey (Priest), Mitchell Ingraham (Pawnbroker) and Dorothea Wolbert. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the film, as the detectives are searching the locker room, a shadow of the boom microphone drops onto the bank of lockers being searched by the first detective - just before the stolen jeweled clip is found. See more »

Connections

References Gone with the Wind (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

I've Got You Under My Skin
(1936) (uncredited)
Written by Cole Porter
Played on a radio
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nice Film
7 April 2010 | by TheDuchessofMSee all my reviews

Allow me to preface this review by stating that I've read the original source of this story (a play produced in 1912) as well as the 1930 Joan Crawford version, Paid. With this context, my review is equal parts a commentary on this movie alone and a commentary on an adaptation and remake.

I've grown to appreciate the talents of Ruth Hussey after tracking down her available films, and while I do see her as MGM originally saw her (a potential replacement for Rosalind Russell who was a potential replacement for Myrna Loy should either one get on Louis B. Mayer's bad side {as Myrna did when she went on strike after the success of The Thin Man for more money}), she more than proves herself capable of dependable acting and even great drama in the vein of Susan Hayward (too bad Hussey hadn't been born ten or fifteen years later) in Within the Law.

The plot is simple: shop-girl Mary Turner is falsely accused of theft from her place of employment and sentenced to three years in prison, vowing revenge on the man who sent her there--her employer. This version is much more brisk than Crawford's Pre-Code melodrama, which, as a Crawford vehicle, paid more attention to its star than the actual story. This is the result of the script for Hussey's version pulling the plot out of its stage-roots and casting an attractive and charismatic actor (Tom Neal) as Richard Gilder. Also, as amusing as Marie Prevost was, Rita Johnson's "Aggie Lynch" was suitably brazen and funny as the "Aggie Lynch" from the play. However, like Paid, Within the Law cannot escape its source material and I can see why the up-and-down drama of the last act can come across as stupid. The plot twists are very plausible and characteristic of 1912, but in 1930 or 1939, they are simply over the top.

But the acting is superb, even though I must admit that given a bit more of the MGM polish and a higher tier of actors and actresses, Within the Law could have been a perfect Myrna Loy vehicle (and I did see shades of Myrna in Ruth Hussey's performance). Though this is obviously a programmer and most likely a vehicle for testing audience reaction of Hussey, it is just as entertaining as MGM's "A" pictures of this period.


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