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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


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Release Date:

30 December 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Within the Law See more »

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?


Isabel Withers is listed in studio records as appearing in this film with character name "Helen Morris," but her scenes were cut before the film was released. See more »


Mary Turner: Gee you're white, Joe.
See more »


Version of Within the Law (1917) See more »


Happy Days Are Here Again
Music by Milton Ager
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
Sung by Marie Prevost
See more »

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User Reviews

Crawford shines on her first serious dramatic role
22 March 2014 | by cjh668908See all my reviews

Paid (1930) stars Joan Crawford, Robert Armstrong, and Marie Prevost, and was directed by Sam Wood. This was really the first serious dramatic role that Crawford received where she could really show her acting abilities. Crawford received the lead role when Norma Shearer, who was originally given the lead part, backed out due to her pregnancy. In stepped Crawford, who is outstanding as Mary Turner, a young woman who's convicted of a crime she didn't commit. She spends three years in prison as a result. Hardened by prison life, she makes plans for what she's going to do when she gets out, which is to get revenge on the person who sent her to prison. Crawford's performance is raw and gritty. That's all I want to say. Watch it to see how everything unfolds. This is a pre-Code film, so there are some things in it that aren't censored that normally would be if it would have been made after the Code was enacted. I think the Code was the worst thing Hollywood ever did.

This is an early talkie, so it has the feel of a stage play much of the time. Noticeably absent as well is a musical score, though it does have music in the opening and closing credits. This is how movies were done back in the late 1920s and early 1930s - music at the start, no music in the movie itself, then music at the end. This is an old movie, having come out in 1930, so there are a lot of "pops" and hiss throughout. Quite often the film is somewhat "wobbly" and "shaky" as well, with lots of scratches and dust. I love this. I love old movies that aren't in pristine condition, instead they're raw and full of imperfections. I do feel, however, that the movie is in good shape considering how old it is.

Paid pays off. Highly recommended.

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