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Film / The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

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Left to right: C.W., Voltan and Betty Ann.

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion is an American film directed, written by and starring Woody Allen. It was released on August 21, 2001.

The story follows C.W. Briggs (Allen), an insurance investigator, and Betty Ann Fitzgerald (Helen Hunt), an efficiency expert. Both are hypnotized by Voltan (David Ogden Stiers), a crooked hypnotist, into stealing jewels from the rich Kensington family. The movie details the ensuing robberies and the investigation and attempts to overcome the hypnosis. Since this is still a Woody Allen movie, there's a strong subplot focused on the relationships of Betty Ann, CW, and their boss Chris Magruder (Dan Aykroyd). Wallace Shawn also appears as George Bond, another insurance investigator and magic enthusiast.



  • Benevolent Boss: Magruder has his flaws, but he spends a long time defending Briggs against any accusations. And once he's finally convinced that Briggs is the thief, he still talks about him sympathetically, saying that it couldn't have been easy putting up with all that temptation for so many years.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Played for Laughs with Briggs, paticularly when the hypnosis kicks in when he's with Laura Kensington. She's literally in nothing but a trenchcoat on C.W.'s bed when he politely asks her to leave. When C.W. gets his memory back he refuses to believe that he walked away from her.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: George's fondness for card tricks and other magic stuff helps him figure out the hypnosis at the end and free Briggs from it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Voltan is willing to frame people for his crimes, but he isn't a murderer, as shown when he has Briggs and Betty Ann at gunpoint in the final scene.
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  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Voltan does an "exit pursued by the police" variant and its unrevealed if he got away.
  • Femme Fatale: Laura Kensington is a sendoff to 40's Film Noir femme fatales.
  • Genre Throwback: To the Screwball Comedy of the 30's. There are also a lot of nods to 40's Film Noir.
  • Hypno Fool: Both C.W. and Betty Ann are victims of this trope.
  • I Reject Your Reality: C.W. when confronted by Magruder with his own shoeprints.
  • Love Triangle: C.W. loves Betty Ann; Betty Ann loves Magruder; Magruder's still married (although unusually he isn't lying about his plans to eventually leave his wife).
  • Manchurian Agent: The premise of the film.
  • Non-Protagonist Resolver: It's C.W.'s fellow investigators George and Al (the only ones besides Jill to believe in his innocence throughout the whole film) who figure out that he was hypnotized, and who the real thief is.
  • Sexophone: When Laura Kensington (a first-class Femme Fatale) shows up, sax music shows right up with her.
  • Sexy Secretary: Jill and Rosie, in a downplayed, 1940's fashion.
    Al: [Watching Jill walk away]: My God, that girl's got a body that won't quit!
    C.W.: Quit? It won't take five minutes off for a coffee break.
  • Sibling Team: The Coopersmith brothers, two rival detectives.
  • Trigger Phrase: Madagascar. Constantinople. Apparently Voltan wasn't a fraud after all.

Alternative Title(s): Curse Of The Jade Scorpion