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Buyer Beware (1940)

Approved | | Short, Crime, Drama | 17 August 1940 (USA)
This entry in MGM's "Crime Does Not Pay" series deals with shady companies selling fake merchandise.


Joseph M. Newman (as Joe Newman)


Scott Littleton (based on an original idea by), Julian Harmon (screenplay) (as Julian Hochfelder) | 1 more credit »


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Uncredited cast:
Charles Arnt ... Les Carter (uncredited)
Hugh Beaumont ... Insp. Thomas' Assistant (uncredited)
Margaret Bert ... Grieving Wife (uncredited)
Egon Brecher Egon Brecher ... Child's Father (uncredited)
Charles D. Brown Charles D. Brown ... Police Insp. William C. Thomas (uncredited)
Helen Brown Helen Brown ... Helen Collins (uncredited)
John Butler ... Jerry (uncredited)
Ralph Byrd ... Officer Halligan (uncredited)
Lewis Charles ... Spike - Gang Member (uncredited)
Ken Christy Ken Christy ... Marty Vincent (uncredited)
Gene Coogan ... Hood (uncredited)
Jimmie Dundee Jimmie Dundee ... Truck Driver (uncredited)
Guy Kingsford Guy Kingsford ... Police Chemist (uncredited)
Carroll Nye ... George Collins (uncredited)
Frank Orth ... Smith (uncredited)


Police Inspector William C. Thomas, introduced by the MGM crime reporter, talks about the crime of merchants dealing in stolen goods, and the harm it brings both by supporting the criminal, and bringing merchandise to the market that may have no quality control. He tells the story of Merchandise Distributors, who deals in stolen goods, and one of their customers, Carter & Collins Druggists. One of the owners of the drug store, Les Carter, convinces his partner, George Collins, to buy from Merchandise Distributors because of their low price which would help them get out of their financial difficulty. Carter knows the goods are stolen, and Collins only suspects, but the lure of the easy money to help his family is too much to resist for Collins to say no. However, their association with Merchandise Distributors takes a turn for the worse when Collins contemplates getting out of this arrangement, and when the goods they are selling are the drugs themselves, which may have questionable ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 August 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Crime Does Not Pay #30: Buyer Beware See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The drug sulfapyridine depicted in this film was one of the first antibiotics. Discovered by the British firm May & Baker in 1937, it was first sold in 1939. Its powdered form was often applied directly to wounds during WWII. See more »


Follows Pound Foolish (1940) See more »

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User Reviews

Once again, excellence.
20 November 2013 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This episode of the Crime Does Not Pay series from MGM begins like all the others--it has a fake politician introduce the film. Time and again they did this--I assume due to a feeling that this would add respectability and realism to the short films!

This installment, "Buyer Beware", is about hijacked and adulterated products. However, the focus is much more on the merchants who knowingly purchase these items--thinking they'll save a few dollars and ignoring the real cost. In this case, a pharmacy owner makes a deal with these mobsters--thinking it will help them to finally make a profit. However, his partner isn't happy when he realizes they are dealing in stolen goods and threatens to go to the police. At this point, the mob beaks the snot out of the guy and he knuckles under--accepting more shipments. However, later instead of stolen items, they give him adulterated drugs--drugs that can kill!!

This is a well made short filled with the stuff I like in the films--violence, realism and excellent acting. This is one exciting film and you assume this problem is NOT just confined to 1940! Worth your time.

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