Plot: The trials & tribulations of upstanding citizens are explored in Crime Does Not Pay, a series of short films that teach us about the criminal types of the world. While the obvious intent might have been to scare off would-be crooks or educate the public about new dangers, these now seem campy and if anything, often make crime seem like not such a bad occupation. These are also insanely fun to watch and are ideal for having on during parties, as they provide great quick bursts of entertainment. So that’s the basic premise here, short films that spotlight various criminal activities and warn us about the dangers of the world.
Entertainment Value: I am a huge fan of the old school educational shorts, like the ones about health class, social conformity, and of course, highway safety, so Crime Does Not Pay is a perfect for that kind of content. These are produced with a serious tone, but most of the time the opposite feels more true, with wild stereotypes from greasy crooks to almost superhero police officials. So if you want a subtle look at the subject, this isn’t your release, as these shorts are as subtle as a mack truck. I love how black & white things are, as it adds such a dated, but hilarious charm, though one not everyone will appreciate. Some of the my favorite moments have to be the rare times when the police go a little bananas, however. While not all shorts are a total blast, most are and it is nice to have them all in one collection.
One aspect of these shorts I really love is how wide the scope of crimes involved is, as it such a wild blend. A shady adoption agency, human smuggling, various thieves, con artists, scams, fraud, random street crime, and more, all handled by capable, diligent authorities. You have to love it when a small army of police are dispatched on small scale crimes, flooding the scene. I think some of these feel like the kind of videos the police would circulate at old folks’ rec centers, to let them know about the latest scams and bamboozles. Common sense obviously would shut down most of these criminal operations, but then, where’s the fun in that? This collection houses the entire Crime Does Not Pay series of shorts, plus a bonus related short Eyes of the Navy, which feels right at home in this set. The visuals are impressive, with clean and clear presentations in almost all the shorts, with very few exceptions. Warner Archive has done some great work to bring these super fun vintage shorts back to the public, looking great and in one package. If you have an interest in social engineering shorts or old timey crime content, this release is a must have for your collection.