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Within the Law

Within the Law(1939)

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According to Hollywood Reporter pre-release news items, actor Lee Bowman was originally set for the part of "Richard Gilder," but was replaced by John King, who, in turn, was replaced by Tom Neal. Hollywood Reporter also notes that casting difficulties for the female lead held up the start of production. This was the first of two American feature films directed by Czechoslovakian-born Gustav Machaty. He previously had directed the M-G-M short The Wrong Way Out in 1938. Machaty is perhaps most famous for the direction of the Czechoslovakian films Seduction (1929) and Ecstasy (1933), the latter starring Hedy Lamarr, and notorious at the time for its nudity. Within the Law was performed on the Lux Radio Theatre program on October 14, 1935, and starred Joan Crawford, who reprised her part from the 1930 film version of the story. According to a December 1938 Hollywood Reporter news item, M-G-M signed Bernard Nedell and Rosalind Russell to star in a radio performance of the story for its Good News radio program. Other versions of Bayard Veiller's play, all under the same title, include the 1917 Vitagraph film, directed by William P. S. Earle and starring Alice Joyce and Walter McGrail (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.5038); the 1923 Joseph M. Schenck Productions film, directed by Schenck and starring Norma Talmadge and Jack Mulhall; and the 1930 M-G-M film Paid, directed by Sam Wood and starring Joan Crawford and Robert Armstrong (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.4103 and F2.6436). In addition, a Broadway Television Theatre production of Within the Law, directed by Richard Barr and Richard Lukin and starring Lola Montez and Orson Bean, aired on non-network television on June 6, 1952.