The Jewel Robery (1932)

Publication Year: 

Image and text retrieved from on Cannabis Day (July 1st), 2014.

This is a sparkling and witty fantasy about a pampered society dame (Kay Francis) who has become aware of the hollowness of her life and a dapper jewel thief (William Powell) who steals her treasures and awakens her from her golden tedium. I call it a "fantasy" because, sadly, we've become too aware of how real crime and criminals work. There's no effort to conceal faces, the robbery crew addresses each other by first name, Powell plays soothing music and engages in witty banter with those he's robbing, but nonetheless it's very entertaining to watch. Another odd aspect of this unusual film is that Powell gives his victims marijuana cigarettes to smoke, to make them passive and jovial. This is one of those pre-code films from that tiny window where sound had come in, the depression was on and the Production Codes weren't re-writing movies like Jewel Robbery. See it when you can. Like the object of it's main character obsession, it is truly a gem.