Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Film review: Jewel Robbery

William Powell is a dashing rogue jewelry thief bent on seducing and abducting bored baroness Kay Francis. When she tells him over dinner in his luxurious hideout that she wants to be forced to do things, he picks her up and throws her in bed, and at that moment I thought: I get it, it's a Harlequinn Romance ... Mommy Porn!

And it is. Look at the titles of most of the Kindle/Nook self-published books: The Billionaire's Mistress, The Billionaire's Secret Lover, Stuck on an Island with a Billionaire. Forgetting for a moment that the economy is in such a bad way that housewives are no longer interested in being whisked away by a lowly millionaire, all these books and Harlequin romances have one thing in common: Seduction at the hands of a Dashing Rogue! Women being forced to do things that deep down, they want to do.

This pre-code film gets some points for being racy. Francis is married after all, and some of the clothes she and her best friend wear are cut very low. It's kind of wasted though because both the actresses are disturbingly flat chested. It's like watching 12 year old girls at a pre-teen beauty dress-up pageant.

There's also some limp comedy around some peripheral characters getting giddy from smoking pot.

We'll see this plot in cinema again and again, the most obvious example being Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief." Hitchcock had the right idea though, money was spent! Instead of a fake French Riviera, Hitchcock went to the real one. Whereas this film's Vienna is as phony as they come.

I also kept thinking of "The Thomas Crown Affair."

It starts with a lot of exposition about how bored Kay Francis is. Things pick up considerably when William Powell shows up, some 15 minutes into the film. And of course he's amazing as the dashing rogue.  It's all very short though, it needed a couple more heists perhaps, and a little more romance.

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