Within the law

   First produced by William A. Brady as a vehicle for his wife, Grace George, Bayard Veiller's four-act drama failed, but Holbrook Blinn convinced Veiller to rework the script. With a new production and cast led by Jane Cowl at the American Play Company, Within the Law opened on 11 September 1912 for a whopping 541 performances at Eltinge's Theatre. An embittered woman, Mary Turner, accused of a crime she did not commit by her boss, Gilder, goes to jail. When released four years later, Mary marries Gilder's son, Richard, and recruits several criminals who operate just barely within the bounds of law. Members of Mary's gang defy her orders and attempt a burglary of Gilder's home, where one is killed. Fortunately, the other gang members confess, establishing Mary's innocence. Within the Law was revived in 1928 with a cast including a young Claudette Colbert, but it managed only 16 performances. Within the Law was made into a motion picture no less than five times between 1916 and 1939, with Joan Crawford starring in a 1930 version retitled Paid.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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