Buried Loot is a 1935 short film (19 minutes) directed by George B. Seitz. It is the first film in MGM's "Crime Does Not Pay" short film series, which ran for fifty films over twelve years.
The "MGM Reporter" (an actor) introduces one Edward Swain of the International Bonding Company (another actor) who has a story to tell. The criminal in this short is Al Douglas (Robert Taylor), who has embezzled $200,000 in 1935 money from the bank where he works. Al turns himself in, telling his boss that he gambled all the money away. He is then sentenced to 5-10 years in prison.
But that's not all! It turns out that Al did not gamble the money away; he buried it in a field in New Jersey. Al's plan is to serve his time, get out after five years with good behavior, then go back and dig up his money away from the prying eye of the law. But his cellmate, Louie, a nervous type who chafes at confinement, talks Al into an escape. Al and Louie dress up like a couple of civilians and stroll right out the front door of the jail. Al then digs up his money, but naturally, things do not go smoothly.
First lead role for Robert Taylor, who soon became a huge star.
- Bandaged Face: After the explosion that Al deliberately set off, leading to an unwrapping that reveals his badly scarred face.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The last shot of Al has him staring straight at the camera after a gleeful Louis delivers the bad news.
- Briefcase Full of Money: Al digs up a package with $200,000 wrapped up.
- Framing Device: The MGM reporter gets the insurance investigator to tell a story of a crime that went wrong.
- Kubrick Stare: The last shot of Al has him shoot a Kubrick Stare right at the camera.
- Narrator: Mr. Swain narrates the story as it unfolds.
- The Reveal: Louie's a cop, and the whole escape was a scam meant to trick Al into retrieving the money.
- Stealing from the Till: Al stole $200,000 from his bank.
- Tarnishing Their Own Beauty: The smoothly handsome Al mixes up some chemicals and deliberately makes an explosion that scars up his face, to disguise himself so he can get away.
- Villain Protagonist: Al Douglas, a thief who steals $200,000 and concocts a scheme to get away with it, without having to become a fugitive.