Jewel Robbery (1932)

“Jewel Robbery” is a delightful pre-code romance set in Vienna. Starring Kay Francis and William Powell, this film is shamefully unavailable in any format. However, TCM will be showing “Jewel Robbery” on September 4 at 8:15 PM Central. Actually, the entire month is Kay Francis month — the last time Kay was the featured star was close to 10 years ago, and it’s not hyperbole for me to say that month changed my life. I stayed up all night to watch Kay’s films and a whole new genre and era of film-making opened up for me. I especially fell in love with the Kay Francis-George Brent-Lyle Talbot trio. At the time I didn’t realize that so many of the films I was watching were rare, so I didn’t record anything; this year I will not make that same mistake. I don’t want you to make the same mistake either! Don’t miss a rare opportunity to see “Jewel Robbery” and other films, such as “Mandalay,” this September. I should remind you that my film entries contain spoilers. Don’t read any further if you want to watch “Jewel Robbery” unspoiled in September! After the title credits roll, we are introduced to some very polite, well-dressed businessmen in a jewelry store. A professor has arrived to show the excited manager and employees his ingenious new burglar alarm system. This system is a grotesque face rendered in a gorgeous art deco pattern, as you can see to the right. To the dismay of everyone … Continue reading

No More Ladies (1935)

If you’re looking for a film where both fashion designer Adrian and set decorator Cedric Gibbons have gone off their collective chums, “No More Ladies” is for you. This was during Joan Crawford’s fashion plate period, where every film showcased a glamorous new look or two. Or three. Maybe four. In “No More Ladies” she has longer hair, longer eyelashes, and longer gowns with thoroughly silly details. Not content with a simple-yet-fabulous gown, Adrian enlarged many details such as belts, bows and collars to 5 times their normal size. Then he added extra sequins, straps and faux gems, then topped every ensemble off with enormous rings and a dozen sparkly bangles. With all that fabulousness, the eye never knows where to land. The hairdresser and make-up artists managed to schmutz up the consistency in most every scene. Joan’s hair is longer but curled, and you can tell when one day’s filming ended and another’s began because her curls will differ greatly in shape and size. In the early part of the first bedroom scene she has puffier curls which go down nearly to her shoulders, but later in the same scene her curls are tighter and have drawn up several inches, making her appear to have shorter hair. At the party where Sherrie and Jim meet, Marcia goes from having normal false eyelashes when she’s talking with Edgar to those 2-foot-long monstrosities when she’s sitting at the bar. Changing hairstyles from day to day is one thing, but these mid-scene … Continue reading