***This Review Contains Spoilers***
I remember people criticizing The Wolf of Wall Street as immoral, then I’d love to see their reaction to this 83-year-old gem.
Kay Francis has one of my favourite character introductions ever, as an army of servants march to pamper her after getting up in the afternoon, lying in a bathtub, briefing showing off one leg shot up in the air then being pampered like a goddess ahead of her day of leisure. Jewel Robbery’s display of wealth would be explicit for any era, never mind the great depression. Francis’ reaction to being handed a box of jewels from Powell makes Lorelei Lee of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes look like less of a gold digger. Yes, these are shallow, superficial characters who never get punished for their actions, but that’s ok, only classic Hollywood actors could pull this off, making us enjoy rooting for characters like this. Although Francis’ character is at least self-aware of this, in one pivotal scene stating that she is shallow and weak as she leads a shallow and weak life and with a little courage she could run away from it.
William Powell is the coolest criminal ever; you would enjoy being held in a stick up by this guy. This being pre-code, a criminal is the hero of the story who deceives dim-witted guards. His methods of robbery, differentiating from what he calls “the stick ‘em up and shoot ‘em down school, no mess, no confusion” is so fascinating. Would his methods work in real life or is this just movie fantasy? He even gives his victims marijuana to calm them down. This movie waves the whole gauntlet of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Ok, there’s no rock ‘n’ roll but there’s sex and drugs. The jewel robbery itself is so snappy and fast-paced. It takes up a large portion of the film (which at one point made me wonder if the film would be a sort of high-class version of Dog Day Afternoon) and it’s over in a jiffy.
Jewel Robbery is one of the most erotic and sexist films I’ve ever seen. Many of the scenes and dialogues are provoking in some way from Kay Francis wearing dress looks like it’s about to fall of her and exposes her backside to William Powell wrapping his arms around Francis to grab a ring of her finger; this is what you call a titillating movie. I also love Kay Francis and her girlfriend’s excited reaction to discovering a man infiltrated their house. Plus has there ever existed an actual dwelling that has an interior similar to that of William Powell’s hideout? If I ever win the lottery I am going to hand a copy of this movie to an interior decorator. Also, the newspaper which appears near the beginning of the movie is called “Weiner Journal”.