Sunday, December 29, 2013


Anne Crawford is upset with her husband (Donald Stewart) who is always too busy with his business to pay attention to her, even on their Latin American trip; she says accusingly, "You're so metaphorical—in everything!" Her buttinski friend (Renee Houston) hatches a plan to have Stewart's snoopy secretary overhear Crawford placing what seems to be a phone call to a lover, making Stewart jealous enough so he'll buy her the fabulously expensive Peterville Diamond. But when they go to the jewelry shop, they wind up victims of a jewel thief (Oliver Wakefield) who flirts with Crawford, then uses a knockout gas on the employees and steals not only the diamond but the state jewels. The next day, a titillated Crawford deliberately gives the police conflicting information about the thief, and eventually he shows up at a major state dinner that Stewart is giving; he's a baron who is going in on a partnership with Stewart and the president, and Stewart is wary of giving him up to the police. Soon, there are some slapstick shenanigans involving three identical briefcases, one of which has the jewels, and a wild car chase across the border before all is settled. This cute British crime caper comedy is essentially a remake of the 30s Hollywood film JEWEL ROBBERY—both are based on the same play. This version is fine, with a cast of actors who were almost completely unknown to me, but though Crawford and Wakefield are fun, they can't hold a candle to the duo of Kay Francis and William Powell; who could? Still this version is worth seeing. Particularly good are William Hartnell as Wakefield's assistant and Charles Heslop as Dillfallow, Stewart's prissy secretary. [TCM]

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