Follow TV Tropes


Film / Jewel Robbery

Go To
Smitten at first jewel.

Jewel Robbery is a 1932 comedy film starring William Powell and Kay Francis. It was directed by William Dieterle and has many tie-ins to a movie from the same year called Trouble in Paradise, most likely being its spiritual successor, but is the most remembered from audiences, to the point of being one of the most iconic movies from Hollywood's pre-production code era.

Like many movies of this time, Jewel Robbery is set during The Great Depression. It follows a pampered baroness named Teri (Franis), who lives in Vienna with her husband Baron Franz von Horhenfels. She enjoys getting jeweled presents, but wants more in life instead of her boring marriage, and even becomes excited over scandalous stories in the newspapers. When she visits the jewellery store with her husband, he haggles at a price for an expensive Excelsior diamond, just as the store has been targeted by jewel thieves.


The store is robbed by a sophisticated robber (Powell) and his gang of many gangsters, who terrify Baron Franz, but not his wife Teri, who becomes smitten over the leader of the thieves and admires his power over his men, and becomes indecisive over turning him in to the police.

Hilarity Ensues.


  • Abduction Is Love: How else would the Robber get Teri into his apartment?
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: The Robber all the way.
  • Bath Kick: Our introduction to Teri is with her in her bath with the camera lingering on her legs.
  • Bathtub Scene: So much foam!
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of the film, the Robber gives Teri the proposition of meeting him in Nice, France, to continue their budding romance. The police are after him, so he leaves her tied up to avoid arousing suspicion against her. Her husband and friend find her and the dialogue goes:
    Baron Franz: I hope this has been a lesson to you.
    Teri: Oh, it has been! My nerves have been shattered, simply shattered. I must get away from here for long rest at once. I think I’ll go to Nice. Yes, Nice. Nice. On the first possible train! [Kay Francis then proceeds to smile coyly at the camera and put her finger to her lips, "hushing" the audience.]
  • Advertisement:
  • Briefcase Full of Money: A briefcase full of sparkling jewels of every kind.
  • But I Would Really Enjoy It: Teri is disturbed by her feelings for the Robber, since he’s a criminal, and she thinks that’s wrong. However, she knows she’d enjoy his overnight company.
  • The Casanova: The Robber gives the air of one.
  • Cool Guns: The Robber’s guns are debonair like him.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: The Baron buys Teri an Excelsior ring for $30,000, but he bargained it down from $50,000.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: How the Robber and his henchmen avoid interference with their heist: place attractive blondes on the street corners to distract the policemen.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Robber gives the guard from the Vienna Protection Services a “funny” cigarette that when smoked makes him giggle and ramble incoherently. He also mentions that the guard will wake up with a good appetite in the morning.
  • Double Entendre: More than you can shake a stick at.
  • Flirting Under Fire: While robbing the jewelry store, Teri and the Robber flirt incessantly.
  • Flowers of Romance: Teri finds a vase of roses with no card, and her maid didn’t receive them. That could only mean the Robber sneaked into her house and put them there!
  • Gentleman Thief: The Robber looks down upon the American view of shooting up the place and robs the jewelry store in a more comfortable way for him and the victims. He does use guns, but he never likes to shoot unless necessary.
    Robber: As a matter of fact, I'm opposed to the American school of banditry. I studied in Paris. You have to work harder but you do acquire a certain finesse that is missing from the stick-em-up and shoot-them-down school.
  • Gold Digger: Teri only married the Baron for his money. (However, you could take this into context of the times, in which many were struggling with money matters and many were becoming desperate, to the point of being materialistic with whatever they could get their hands on. Teri could've been one of them.)
  • Have a Gay Old Time: The Robber says to Teri, at one point, "I'll make love to you as I have dreamed of making love!"
  • High-Class Glass: Teri’s former lover, Paul, the cabinet minister, sports one whenever he wants to look serious. It drops out a lot, leading into awkward silences.
  • Idle Rich: Teri is part of the Viennese aristocracy.
  • Impersonating an Officer: How the Robber gets Teri into his apartment.
  • Impossibly-Low Neckline: For the majority of the film, Teri wears her dressing gown which only stays up by her willpower it seems.
  • Intoxication Ensues: The policeman and the head of police fall into the trap of the "funny" cigarettes.
  • Lovable Rogue: The Robber is playfully irritating to Teri.
  • Male Gaze: Due to her interesting dressing gown, the Robber gets a good look at her back.
  • Meaningful Echo: Teri tells her friend that she'd love for a man to compare her eyes to emeralds, before her friend points out that it would make more sense for them to be compared to sapphires because they're blue. During the jewelry store rob, the robber tells Teri that the Excelsior ring goes with her eyes because it's blue. Teri gasps, most likely remembering the conversation from earlier.
  • Love at First Sight: Teri and the Robber get bedroom eyes immediately.
  • Money Fetish: Once at the Robber’s apartment, he shows Teri the jewels his stolen. Teri is so excited by them that she throws some on herself, wishing she could be covered in them.
  • Ms. Fanservice: We’re introduced to Teri while in her bathtub and see her skimpily dressed for most of the film.
  • No Name Given: The Robber never gives his name. Lampshaded by him and Teri:
    Teri: Now, would you be so kind as to introduce me to you?
    Robber: Which one of me?
    Teri: Oh, is there more than one?
    Robber: Oh, dozens. That’s another requirement of my trade. Let me see now, which name to take? Usually it’s so easy. You give me a name.
    Teri: I don’t want to, really. The nicest part of this whole affair is that you’re the unknown. A figure out of a fairy-tale. A robber in seven league boots. No, this isn’t a time for me to give you a name, but to forget my own.
    Robber: Much the better way. Merely man. [raises his glass]
    Teri: Merely woman. [raises her glass]
    Robber: And to whatever joins them.
  • Police Are Useless: The clueless guard from the Vienna Protection Services that's supposed walk around the beat helps the Robber take out the jewels.
  • The Pre-Code Era: This is the quintessential pre-code. If you want to see how far they could get away with double entendres/sex jokes/drug jokes, this is the film.
  • Rich Boredom: Teri's main problem with her life with the Baron
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Teri knows that she has a weak character and is shallow. She believes that if she were to get away, she’d be capable of love, but not in her current condition.
  • Running Gag: Paul's monocle falling out.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Everything about the robber, from his clothing to how he deals with crimes. When his team robs the jewllery store, it's so calm and clean, when a policeman arrives and sees how calm the hostages look, he thinks that the store's sold out and is delighted for the owners.
  • Spoiled Brat: Teri is not satisfied with her millions, constantly complaining about what she has.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Teri's dressing gown. It catches the Robber’s eye.
  • Tomboyish Name: Teri.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: The Robber abhors guns and uses them only for getting people to do his will.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Teri’s frustrated with the Robber not taking her diamond back, so she pulls a gun on him. He calls her bluff, and she drops the gun on his toe.
  • Zany Scheme: The Robber gets one of his henchmen to pretend to be a detective, and take Teri away under the pretenses that she’s going to go to jail just to get Teri into his apartment.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: