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The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne2014

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  • 3.8
A sensational portrait of a rebel who defied society's prejudices and pinched her own version of the American Dream, THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF DORIS PAYNE relates the fascinating story of how a poor, single, African-American mother from segregated West Virginia became the world's most notorious jewel thief. A glamorous eighty-year-old, Doris Payne is as unapologetic today about the nearly $2 million in jewels she's stolen over a sixty-year career as she was the day she stole her first carat. Her modus operandi is to enter jewelry stores posing as a well-to-do woman, typically looking for a diamond ring. Using her charm, she would engage the clerk, asking to see an assortment of items. Eventually, she would "cause the clerk to forget" just how many items were outside the case; and, at some point, she would leave with one or two pieces. With Payne now on trial for the theft of a department store diamond ring, filmmakers Kirk Marcolina and Matthew Pond probe beneath her consummate smile to uncover the secrets of her trade and what drove her to a life of crime. The film traces Payne's journey from an impoverished childhood in West Virginia to a lavish life on the run around the world.

What makes this film worth watching? See All Reviews

"Think of the film CATCH ME IF YOU CAN meets OCEAN'S ELEVEN with a twist. The jewelry thief is an unsuspecting, sweet, and gorgeous Black woman by the name of Doris Payne." - Jamie Broadnax, Black Girl Nerds


Member Reviews (6)

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top reviewer

Who knew it? An 84 year old black female high class jewel thief. This is an engaging account. Worth watching.

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top reviewer

It is too bad that this film were not better made. There were so many other aspects of this woman and her life that are left unexplored or discussed. Doris Payne and her story are so interesting one can overlook the sub-par production values and all that is lacking in this documentary.

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top reviewer

What a charming, wonderful, sweet lady. I don't care if she took some stuff she didn't pay for.

Fascinating true story.

A remarkable story. This woman truly invented herself not only once but every time she walked into a jewelry store. She knew how to "be" what her audience would be most comfortable catering to. She placed herself in environments so many of us--black, white or other--would feel intimidated by, not good enough for. Then got on planes and put herself in glamorous environments abroad. And she's a beautiful, refined woman; we should all wish for legs like that at 80...(!)

Loved it,loved her laugh