Prior to the Warner Archive’s releases of this collection earlier this month, I had actually never heard of these MGM-produced shorts. I have now watched all fifty of the Crime Does Not Pay shorts, and I must say I kind of really loved them. You could argue that something like these shorts is what led to the original crime procedurals like Dragnet, but also, since they are told mostly from the point of view of the criminals, something like Law and Order: Criminal Intent. If you love those shows, you will love these shorts.
So I hadn’t seen this movie until yesterday, despite having heard nothing but great things about it for years. I cannot believe I waited so long to watch it. I guess it was because the film is classified as a “Western,” but it’s about as much a typical Western as The Thin Red Line is a typical War film. Another great aspect of the film is that it’s filmed in real time; it’s 84 minutes to be exact. The first hour goes by at a nice languid, yet tense pace; the last twenty minutes cram in as much action and intensity as if it were a whole other hour. Fabulous. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning four: Best Original Song (won), Best Original Score (won), Best Film Editing (won), Best Screenplay, Best Actor (won), Best Director and Best Picture. The other nominees for Best Picture that year were: Ivanhoe, Moulin Rouge, The Quiet Man and winner The Greatest Show On Earth. Side note: The Greatest Show On Earth is probably one of the most mediocre films to even be nominated for Best Picture, let alone win.