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The Petrified Forest 1936 Insurance policy payment


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To refresh memories, Leslie Howard asked Humphrey Bogart to shoot him so Bette Davis can collect on a $5000 policy.

 

For some reason I think the insurance company would have never paid off on that $5000 policy since Leslie Howard asked to die on purpose. The grandfather would have spilled the beans on what happened the minute the insurance inspector started asking questions in that cafe.

 

I imagine if this was a paid off cause in theory then back then many people would have pulled this. Now this was not Pre-code so I wonder how this got past the censors. It was white-collar crime meets black-collar crime.

 

Anybody here see this as legal?

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Even if Gramps was a big mouth, I think the insurance company would of made the payment. The Duke was a known killer, on the run, who was shooting at many, many people. So Davis and her dad would of just said Gramps was crazy in the head and even the cops and the mob out to get the Duke would back them up. We know the well off women would of backed up Davis (and her husband would of done what he was told! (ha ha)).

 

I really don't see how this part of the plot would have anything to do with the censors. Yea, I guess one could say the movie promotes a crime (insurance fraud), but since one has to get KILLED to commit this fraud, I don't think there would be a big rush to cash in on that type of fraud. Thus the censors would overlook this as fantasy.

 

 

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This is one of those great movies that makes me wonder what happened after the movie ends. I think you are right the policy was paid off, but Bette Davis married the Half Back and Gramps invested the insurance money and lost it all on swamp land, lol. I just hope the bonds Gramps had weren't fakes.

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I looked up online after posting this to see what was paid back in the 30's for life insurance and surprise surprise the most money paid out was for suicide. In 1931 it was roughly $3580 per policy for suicide and only $2216 for non-suicide.

 

This is also what a company did to counter this.

 

 

*During the Depression Bankers Life Company and other insurance companies strictly limited the amount of insurance a person could buy because lucrative policies were considered a temptation to suicide or murder.*

 

So maybe this shows it was legal back then and the insurance companies were changing coverages to counter this. Howard Leslie was doing what many others were doing, cashing in the policy it seems, lol.

 

Now in this movie the insurance was for $5000, which if we adjust for inflation is about $75,000 today. It was not enough to make Bette Davis rich, so she still needed Gramps and his bonds.

 

*I wouldn't doubt that this movie gave people a few ideas and a few suicides happened because of it.*

 

Interesting you bring up George Baily, because that movie showed he was worth more alive than dead. It is the opposite of this one and it why I question how this got past the censors.

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Thanks for the research information. Very interesting.

 

I don't think insurance companies should be allowed to write policies on wives for husbands or on husbands for wives. There are too many insurance murders today. In fact, that's why arsenic can't be sold in drug stores or home garden stores today. Too many spouse murders.

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