When it comes to documentaries, Im such a docu buff. Searching on Netflix to watch a movie I came across Doris Payne’s docu ‘The Life And Crime Of Doris Payne’. After reading the synopsis, I was all the way in!!!

The elegant 85 year old woman’s 20 year rap sheet is luxurious. Payne is an international jewel thief, whose career spanned 6 decades. I can’t even say she was because as I was searching for information I came across a recent interview with the daily beast.
From a little girl Doris knew how to eat properly and dress. She knew that you had to look and play the part. Doris has been described as an actress due to the numerous parts she has played and she knew how to camouflage herself to look the part. Her mindset was you have to look like you belong,. Stealing became a social outlet for her. She behaved so well as a brit, they had no idea who she was, she’s was sure they didn’t see her as black, because of her proper demeanor, this became her psychological adventure.

So how it all began, her father was abusive, she recalled, regularly beating her mother until Payne was old enough to step in. She felt hopeless, but in need to help her mother get out of the abusive relationship. At only 13 Payne was invited to a jewelry store, the shopkeeper allowed her to try on a gold watch. She noticed that when a white customer entered the store, the shopkeeper went off to tend to the customer, leaving Payne alone with the merchandise. she took the opportunity to slip out. Right there was when she grew more brazen and her career as a bandit took flight.


Payne has no regrets for all her crimes, she even stated that in the back of her mind, once the race thing set in, then it was punishment in the back of her head she was saying ‘take that’!

I was intrigued by her wordplay and self knowledge of her craft. In no way am I condoning what Payne has done throughout the years, but once you see this documentary, you must give credit to this woman who is extremely smart, witty and poised. She is the kind of woman who thinks fast on her feet. I would love to get some tips from this woman in the game of life. sure would!

If you listen clearly Payne gives so many jewels (no pun intended, ha). She describes how Town & Country is her favorite magazine, it was like the bible of luxurious jewelry. Thats how she knew which store and location she will be visiting next and lets keep in mind Payne was no low end thief her taste was rich just like her demeanor. Lets just say Monte Carlo’s Cartier was a target and she describes, how they never found the ring. Her strategy of switching hands, had me thinking of how the 3 card monte game is played on the streets. This documentary is a must see, but boy would i love to see Payne’s real life story as it would make for a potentially riveting film, in the hands of the right director.

“I don’t have any regrets about stealing jewelry,” Payne quipped in one jailhouse interview. “I regret getting caught.” – Doris Payne




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