Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Stolen Jools (1931)

The Stolen Jools (alt. The Slippery Pearls)
USA 1931
20 min

See it on The Internet Archive here.

This is that kind of film that is wonderfully amusing to read serious reviews about. "Lame excuse to put as many stars in a movie as possible" is one comment on IMDb. Oh yes, raising funds for the National Variety Artists Tuberculosis Sanitarium is a really lame excuse to appear in a motion picture for. (Notice that the film is in "co-operation with Chesterfield Cigarettes"...)

Anyway, this is a short, entertaining film stuffed with some of the greatest stars of that day. Let me describe the very simple story for you.

The films begins with a police officer, played by Wallace Beery, answering the office phone.
"What? A murder? That ain't news, we had three yesterday."
Let go for that. But at a Hollywood party the day before, Norma Shearer got her jewels stolen (or the gangsters Edward G. Robinson and George E. Stone got them stolen after stealing them from her) - now that's urgent business! Beery collects his men (one of them, Buster Keaton) and sends out a detective (Eddie Kane) to find out who among the Hollywood stars has the jewels.

Detective Kane investigates the many Hollywood stars (among them El Brendel, playing a Swedish waiter with an unplacable accent), until child star Mitzi Green solves the case:
"Mitzi, you just saved the plot of the story!"
"And the moral of this story is: Never spank a child on an empty stomach! [horrendous laughter]"

Now, how can you not love that? Maybe if you're that kind of person who only allows himself/herself to enjoy sophisticated, well-planned comedy, in fear that a cheap laugh might undermine his/her intelligence. I enjoyed it, and it seems like a lot of the actors did too.

And here's a part of the cast!

Wallace Beery, as the Police Sergeant

Buster Keaton, as a police man.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, as policemen.

Norma Shearer, as herself.

Hedda Hopper, as herself.

Joan Crawford, as herself.

William Haines, as himself.

Dorothy Lee, as herself.

Victor McLaglen, as himself.

El Brendel, as the Swedish waiter.

Winnie Lightner, as herself.

Fifi D'Orsay, as herself.

Warner Baxter, as himself.

Irene Dunne, as herself.

Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey, as themselves.

Claudia Dell, as herself.

Eugene Pallette, as a Reporter.

Gary Cooper, as a Reporter (named Cooper).

Maurice Chevalier, as himself.

Loretta Young, as herself.

Richard Barthelmess, as himself.

Bebe Daniels, as herself.

Joe E. Brown, as himself (uncredited).

Barbara Stanwyck, as herself.

Fay Wray, as herself.

Mitzi Green, as herself.


Millie said...

Hahahaha, I ADORE this short!

It came with a Gary Cooper set I have. There is such a stellar cast it's kinda impossible NOT to enjoy it!

Elizabeth said...

Quite a cast! This was actually one of the first shorts that I saw when I started getting serious about old movies. It came on a DVD set that was mostly silent Stanley Laurel shorts. It was actually the first time I ever saw Buster Keaton on film!

Eric said...

Such a great short. I wish I could see it again right now!

Christopher said...

I haven't seen this in ages..I had this on super 8mm film in high school daze...For years,in fact even now, I couldn't think of Norma Shearer..without thinking of those darn Norma Shearer's JEWELS!
why uh,yes I'm Richard Dix...

Matthew Coniam said...

How weird is that bit where the Inpsector takes Barbara Stanwyck outside and shoots her for writing crap poetry???

Meredith said...

holy moses i MUST see this. i've only seen the clip of frank fay shooting barbara stanwyck for reading that horrible poem, so of course i'm hooked. :P thank you so much for linking to the full thing!

Lolita said...

Exactly! I'm glad you all don't take it too seriously - it's supposed to be entertaining, and it is!

Haha, well, I can't say anything - first time I saw Buster Keaton was in Sunset Boulevard!
It's interesting that this also was one of those "long considered lost" films - makes me so delighted when they find a copy somewhere!

There's a link at the top of the post ;)

Super 8? Wow, that's awesome! Hehe, he does not seem to happy with being recognized. Like Dorothy Lee: "Yes, you want my autograph."

Matthew Coniam:
Yes, that was kind of surreal! Really wicked!

I'm glad I could be of use! :)

David C. said...

Wow! I'll have to check this one out.

It's interesting that Chesterfield was involved in this production. I recently posted an article about their advertising.

* R e N a * said...

Haha I love this short!