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The Diamond Queen

The Diamond Queen(1953)

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In Paris, 1659, when a special jewel is needed to cap the crown of Louis XIV, the adventurous importer and gem cutter, Jean Baptiste Tavernier, returns from Persia with a large diamond. However, the stone is shattered by Jean's elderly father and partner Gabriel, when the dandified Baron Paul de Cabannes, the king's emissary, tries to rush the delicate job of cutting the stone. Rather than go to jail, Jean offers to bring another diamond from India in time for the coronation, and Cabannes agrees, but insists upon accompanying him on the trip. Soon Cabannes' complaints and ignorance of foreign travel becomes a hindrance to the expedition. Then, Cabannes' impatient attempts to hurry the group results in Jean's trade goods, "the secret weapons of France," being dumped by the pack horses into the river. When Jean swims out to retrieve them, he is nearly killed by a crocodile, but Cabannes comes to his rescue and the men resume their journey with more trust in each other. Later, they are caught spying on a beautiful woman bathing in a waterfall and are taken by men in her party to sacred ruins, the Temple of Kala, where their fate is to be determined by a fire dance ceremony. The group is attacked by the savage Tiger God Men during the ritual, but using the "secret weapon of France," which is a newly invented hand grenade, Jean and Cabannes scare the attackers away. Afterward, the woman introduces herself as Maya, Queen of Nepal, and explaining that she is on her way to Galconda on a state mission, asks for their protection. Although the smitten Cabannes would gladly go, Jean refuses to be deterred from his own mission. Eventually, however, Maya changes Jean's mind by describing a large blue diamond, called the "Eye of the Goddess," that was stolen from Nepal, but is now in the possession of the Great Mogul of Golconda. On the journey, Cabannes tries to court Maya, but she and Jean find they are mutually attracted. However, upon reaching Golconda, Jean and Cabannes learn that in six days Maya is to marry the greedy mogul, who is determined to take over her country. At Maya's formal reception, the mogul, who finds himself attracted to her, promises to return the stolen blue diamond as a wedding gift. Meanwhile, Jean has seen the blue diamond and is determined to have it, although the nervous Cabannes would rather take any acceptable diamond offered by the mogul and return to France. In exchange for the diamond, Jean offers the mogul the hand grenades, which he describes as a "marching cannon" that could defeat any country of India that opposes his conquests. When the mogul's advisors suggest a duel to prove his claims, Jean agrees, providing that if he wins, he be given the blue diamond. Later, after hearing rumors that the aggressive mogul has traded her diamond for weapons, Maya reminds him that she is marrying him only for the diamond's return, as she believes that her country's drought conditions will be alleviated only when the blue diamond is returned to the third eye on the statue honoring their patron saint, Deva. The next day, when Jean, with a grenade in hand, faces off with one of the mogul's cannons and survives, the mogul is impressed, but to keep Maya happy, offers Jean any diamond except the blue one. Jean adamantly refuses, so he and Cabannes are imprisoned and their grenades confiscated. However, as Jean has hidden the striker pins, the grenades are useless to the Golcondans. Although Jean and Cabannes are tortured for the secret of the grenades, Jean still refuses to leave without the diamond when Maya sneaks into the dungeon to release them. Finally the mogul relents and offers to sell the blue diamond after the wedding. On the day of the wedding, the mogul presents buckets of diamonds to Maya, but seeing that the blue diamond is not one of them, she breaks the engagement and leaves Golconda. As he promised, the mogul sends his general with the diamond to meet Jean and Cabannes three miles outside of town to make the trade, but after Jean explains the workings of the grenade, the diamond is not handed over. A swordfight commences, resulting in the general's death. After Jean gets the diamond from the general's body, he and Cabannes defeat the advancing mogul and his army with two grenades. Then Jean and Cabannes accompany Maya and her caravan home. When a rainstorm erupts, Maya realizes that the possession of the diamond and the coming of rain are not connected and relinquishes the rights to the diamond to Jean. At his invitation, she returns with them to witness the coronation.