THE GREAT JEWEL ROBBER was released by Warner Bros as the bottom half of a double feature, an added attraction to the bicentennial documentary "50 Years Before Your Eyes." I saw it with my Dad at the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC and still remember it and the lasting impression it made.
The summary on this site is honest but simply inadequate to the film's merits; the intensely convincing performance by David Brian as well as the unusual inclusion of a strong point-of view. What sticks in the mind is the jewel thief's absolute and irreversible commitment to his trade and lifestyle. The film wants you to understand that he sees no alternative at all to being a jewel thief any more than a leopard sees any alternative to being a hunter. Actually, changing the leopard's ways would be easier. The film wants you to revel somewhat in each clever success, and in association and deceit of high society people; but much more than that it wants you to appreciate the pain, misery and depression involved. Another time caught, another long prison sentence, another delay in returning to crime --- his joy in life.
Seeing this at age 12, did I then follow David Brian's lead and enter a life of crime? Not at all; the film was more of a dissuader than any other crime film. I also had strong religious training, the more important of the two.
I saw a Randolph Scott movie tonight with David Brian as the bad guy and The Great Jewel Robber was quickly remembered after 57 years. I can't recommend the movie, I suppose. Dismissed by Warners in 1950 as a B movie, I have no clue how you could see this movie, never seen it rerun, not one time.
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