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Jewel Robbery (1932)
He stole her jewels -- but that wasn't all!
Filmmaker(s): William Dieterle

A gentleman thief charms a Viennese baron's wife and also conducts a daring daylight robbery of a jeweller's shop.

Jewel Robbery (1932)

Sex, Drugs and Crime

William Powell is responsible for a huge element of our loves, the smoothness that has comic irony behind it. He invented it.

There are a few of his movies that are essential viewing, but those are after the government thugs decided what movies should be like in “moral” terms.

So you only have a brief window between the time that talkies got going seriously and the code pummelled them into different channels than the world naturally wanted them to go.

This is the best Powell from that window. Pot. Overt sex of the most promiscuous and opportunistic kind.

An incredible garment. A very literal wink at the camera as the rich man’s kept woman goes off on her jaunt for satisfaction and sexual adventure. The notion of theft as morally acceptable. Police as buffoons, albeit European police.

Powell invented something important, but it relied on the notion of conspiracy. The most cinematic of conspiratorial devices are sexual cheats. The appearance of a speech defect in the sexy actress only endears and amplifies the effect.

So without this small window, this period of rapid evolution, we wouldn’t have the riches we have today.

A fun movie. And important one, too.

Posted in 2005

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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