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Directed by Fritz Lang

United States 1938 94 mins. In English

Department store owner Mr. Morris (Harry Carey) runs a tight ship, but differs from his competitors in that he hires ex-convicts looking to re-make their lives and go straight. One his employees, Joe (George Raft in a typically gangsterish performance), can’t seem to keep crime off his mind and hopes to hightail it to California. Helen (Sylvia Sidney), another ex-con employee, has a different idea—to marry Joe and settle down. She’ll do just about anything—including teaching Joe and his friends that “crime doesn’t pay” in a literal, hilarious fashion. Set to a rollicking score by famed Weimar composer Kurt Weill, including the unforgettable “Song of the Cash Register,” Lang’s third American film is unjustly overlooked in his impressive body of work, a film that flopped on release but is now regarded as one of the most idiosyncratic and charming films of the period. “I wanted to make a didactic picture teaching the audience that crime doesn’t pay. Which is a lie, because crime pays very well.”—Fritz Lang.