Saturday, March 13, 2010
Jewel Robbery (1932)
I'm going to do a couple of pre-code William Powell films today and tomorrow. These are both great little films that are not to my knowledge on DVD however they are both in the rotation on Turner Classic Movies which means that they are readily available.
Decidedly un-PC pre-code film would probably get a PG 13 today, perhaps, maybe even an R rating, depending on how the ratings board viewed William Powell giving people wacky weed...
Set in Vienna the ultra rich wife of a baron goes to a jewelry store after hours in order to shop with her husband. While there one of a string of daring robberies occur, perpetrated by the ever dashing William Powell and his henchmen, occurs. Powell and the married woman are drawn together and Powell later turns up at her place...and as it is I've said too much.
Wild and as off beat as they come, this is one of those wonderfully strange films that Hollywood was churning out in the days just before the Motion Picture Code was actually enforced. It's not often you get a lead character who is a happy trollop, near nudity, drug use, adultery, hints of illicit sex, a wicked sense of humor, the bad guy getting away, and I don't know what else all in 68 minutes?
When my friend Lou mentioned his disbelief at what he was seeing while watching this film, I told him I had to see it as well. The film was, what he said and more. Its clear why this film isn't better known, its because the censors in Hollywood wouldn't let it be screened. Its a shame because the film is actually quite good and amusing. It has some genuine laughs, some plot twists you've not seen before and a wonderful sense of being alive.
Its a genuinely fun film. I don't think its perfect, its a bit too talky in the way that films from the period often are, and the film's heroine is really a self centered twit of the sort that inhabits many of today's prime time shows like Gossip Girl or their ilk. At the same time its a must see for anyone who loves old movies, or anyone who thinks old movies are passé and out of touch with reality. This is a unique experience