Jewel Robbery is a 1932 American pre-Code comedy-mystery film, directed by William Dieterle and starring William Powell and Kay Francis. It is based on the 1931 Hungarian play Ékszerrablás a Váci-utcában by Ladislas Fodor and its subsequent English adaptation, Jewel Robbery by Bertram Bloch.
Theatrical Film Poster
|Directed by||William Dieterle|
|Written by||Erwin S. Gelsey|
|Based on||Ladislas Fodor (play)|
Bertram Bloch (English adaptation)
|Music by||Bernhard Kaun|
Leo F. Forbstein
|Edited by||Ralph Dawson|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
In Vienna, Baroness Teri von Horhenfels (Kay Francis) relieves the boredom of her marriage to her rich but dull husband (Henry Kolker) with love affairs. One day, at an exclusive jewel shop to purchase a diamond ring, her tedium is lifted by a suave, charming thief (William Powell) and his gang. In turn, he is entranced by her beauty. He locks her husband and her latest lover, Paul (Hardie Albright) (of whom she has already tired), in the vault, and forces shop owner Hollander (Lee Kohlmar) to smoke a marijuana-laced cigarette that soon makes him forget his troubles. She however persuades him into leaving her free. However, he is not so carried away as to neglect his duties; he takes her ring, all 28 carats (5.6 g) of it.
Teri returns home, to be envied her adventure by her friend Marianne (Helen Vinson). They are frightened to discover that an intruder has broken in and opened her safe. However, they become puzzled and relieved when they find that not only is nothing missing, but the ring has been returned. Marianne departs hastily, anxious to avoid becoming entangled in a scandal. The thief then appears; Teri tries to return the ring, since keeping it would raise uncomfortable questions. When he refuses to take it back, she accuses him of using her to hide out from the police. Then, Detective Fritz (Alan Mowbray) arrives, flushes out the robber, and takes the two into custody.
However, all is not as it seems. It turns out that Fritz is a member of the gang. The thief had used the fake arrest to transport Teri to his house without protest for a night of romance. She is intrigued. Vienna has become too dangerous for him, so he asks her to meet him in Nice, but she hesitates. Just then, the real police surround the place. He and his gang escape, leaving Teri tied up so as to divert suspicion. After she is "rescued", she decides she needs a vacation away from Vienna to recover from the excitement... in Nice.
The pairing of William Powell and Kay Francis was the fifth of their seven films. Powell, who had recently married Carole Lombard, did not want to do the film initially, but gave in because he saw the role as an amusing one.
The New York Times gave the film a lukewarm review, calling it a "nervous, brittle comedy", placing the blame on Kay Francis ("her performance is one in which her usual intelligence and sincerity are strangely absent").
- The Peterville Diamond (1942)