Movie Mirrors Index


(1930 b 86')

En: 5 Ed: 4

This adaptation of the play Within the Law by Bayard Veiller shows how a woman unjustly sent to prison for grand larceny gets revenge against the wealthy persons who framed her.

Mary Turner (Joan Crawford) studied law while in prison for three years for a crime she did not commit. Her prison friend Aggie (Marie Prevost) introduces her to a criminal circle of friends, but Mary uses the law to win a $20,000 breach of promise suit against a wealthy general for Aggie. She gets a restraining order to stop police harassment. Then she marries Bob Guilder (Douglass Montgomery), son of the rich Guilder, who falsely charged her with stealing; in revenge she tells them it was not for love. Guilder, upset his son married a blackmailer, organizes a police sting operation using Dapper Eddie to get them to steal the Mona Lisa painting from the Guilder house. His son Bob asks him how many times he would have gone to jail if it had not been for his money.

Even though police have staked out the house, the burglars sneak in by replacing the telephone repair crew. When Bob comes in and mentions the inspector having been there, Mary realizes they have been set up, and Joe Garson (Robert Armstrong) kills Eddie in the dark. The police shoot one escaping burglar and eventually arrest the others. Mary and Bob are interrogated. Aggie cons the inspector, pretending she is a socialite. The inspector promises to clear Mary's name for the crime he knows she did not commit if she talks. Finally when he threatens to charge Mary, he cleverly gets Joe Garson to confess. The criminal turns out to be a sacrificing hero, and by the end Mary is in love with Bob.

The background of this unusual revenge drama shows how society has varying standards of justice depending on one's income and social standing.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index