The Great Diamond Robbery


1h 9m 1954
The Great Diamond Robbery

Brief Synopsis

A diamond cutter unwittingly helps a jewel thief.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Crime
Release Date
Jan 29, 1954
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 8 Jan 1954
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 9m
Color
Black and White
Film Length
6,232ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

At the New York office of wealthy jeweler Bainbridge Gibbons, diamond cutter Ambrose C. Park learns that his employer has invested his entire fortune in the Blue Goddess, a gem so valuable that Lloyds of London will not insure them to cut it. Ambrose insists that Sahutsky, the senior cutter, has erred in his calculations and will damage the precious stone, and pleads for the opportunity to cut the diamond himself. Gibbons refuses, and Sahutsky, who has been sedated by a doctor in preparation for the task, begins work. However, he cannot take the pressure and, cursing his profession, walks out. Later, as Ambrose is eating his lunch in Central Park, he shows a stranger an ad he has placed in the newspaper seeking information about his parents, who abandoned him on a park bench years before. Ambrose explains that he runs the notice each year on his birthday, adding that he was given the name Ambrose Central Park at the orphanage where he grew up. That evening, while celebrating his birthday alone in a café, the tee-totaling Ambrose inadvertently gets drunk on a bottle of plum liqueur and is arrested for disorderly conduct. At the police station, Ambrose encounters slick lawyer Remlick, who assures Ambrose he can locate his family for $400. Remlick is about to disappear with the money when Ambrose remarks that he would gladly give half of his life savings to be reunited with his family. Impressed by Ambrose's modest but respectable bank account, Remlick hatches a scheme to relieve him of all his money, and enlists his shady friend Duke Fargoh to impersonate Ambrose's father. Duke persuades his former girl friend, Emily Drumman, to pose as Ambrose's mother by promising to marry her. Remlick arranges for Ambrose to meet his "family," which includes Emily's pretty daughter Maggie. To Remlick's surprise, the reunion is interrupted by the arrival of Duke's friends, mobsters Tony and Herb, who pretend to be Ambrose's uncles. When Ambrose steps out, Tony identifies himself to Remlick as notorious criminal Tony Midelli, but declines to explain his interest in the small-time scam. Over supper, Tony steers the conversation toward Gibbons and the two million dollar Blue Goddess. Ambrose then accompanies Maggie to the nightclub where she works as a dancer, and when a drunken patron gets fresh with his "sister," Ambrose fights with him and gets Maggie fired. When Ambrose returns to work, Gibbons introduces him to the famous Dutch diamond cutter Van Goosen, and Ambrose offends him by disputing his calculations on the Blue Goddess. Ambrose, who has moved in with Duke and Emily and changed his last name to Fargoh, expresses his concerns about the Blue Goddess at home. Tony urges Ambrose to bring the diamond home and cut it himself, arguing that this would be in Gibbons' best interest, and Ambrose agrees. The following evening, Emily and Maggie protest the scheme, and the thugs tie them up and hide them in the bedroom before Ambrose comes home. He arrives without the diamond, however, having decided that removing it from the office would be stealing. Tony proposes that they accompany him to the office, where Ambrose can cut the diamond before Van Goosen is scheduled to arrive. The naïve Ambrose brings his "family" to the office and, after getting them past security, prepares his equipment. Meanwhile, Emily and Maggie free themselves and attempt to call Ambrose to warn him that Tony and Herb plan to steal the diamond, but the call is intercepted by Tony. The women go to the office and burst in before Ambrose can cut the diamond, confessing their deception. In the ensuing scuffle, Ambrose sets off the alarms, then hastily cuts the diamond, separating it into two perfect halves, which he and Maggie swallow. The police arrive to arrest the criminals, and Ambrose and Maggie are taken to the hospital to have their stomachs pumped. Gibbons meets them at the hospital and praises Ambrose for his work. Ambrose is morose over the loss of his new family, but perks up once he realizes that Maggie is not really his sister. As the proud Emily looks on, Ambrose asks Maggie to marry him.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Crime
Release Date
Jan 29, 1954
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 8 Jan 1954
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 9m
Color
Black and White
Film Length
6,232ft (7 reels)

Articles

The Great Diamond Robbery


Red Skelton's final film for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was a surprisingly modest affair for the studio's one-time big money-maker. In 1951, Skelton inked an exclusive $5 million contract but his subsequent films for MGM were under-performers as the fortyish former vaudevillian lost his audience to such younger up-and-comers as Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Skelton, too, was becoming disenchanted with movies and had by 1951 begun to channel his energies into the burgeoning field of television. Premiering in September of that year, The Red Skelton Show was an instant hit, and would remain on the airwaves for twenty years. As a contractual obligation, The Great Diamond Robbery (1953) finds Skelton in subdued mode, ceding the majority of the funny business to his costars in the tale of a naïve diamond cutter who unwittingly falls in with a band of swindlers (among them, James Whitmore, Kurt Kazner, and leggy Cara Williams) bent on absconding with the $2 million Blue Goddess Diamond. Though MGM's publicity department heralded this newest film starring "the world's funniest man," the The Great Diamond Robbery was shot on the cheap by Robert Z. Leonard and fobbed off on movie theatres as a second feature. Nearly a decade later, Skelton reunited with leading lady Cara Williams for a Christmas-themed episode of The Red Skelton Show titled "Freddie and the Yuletide Doll."

By Richard Harland Smith
The Great Diamond Robbery

The Great Diamond Robbery

Red Skelton's final film for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was a surprisingly modest affair for the studio's one-time big money-maker. In 1951, Skelton inked an exclusive $5 million contract but his subsequent films for MGM were under-performers as the fortyish former vaudevillian lost his audience to such younger up-and-comers as Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Skelton, too, was becoming disenchanted with movies and had by 1951 begun to channel his energies into the burgeoning field of television. Premiering in September of that year, The Red Skelton Show was an instant hit, and would remain on the airwaves for twenty years. As a contractual obligation, The Great Diamond Robbery (1953) finds Skelton in subdued mode, ceding the majority of the funny business to his costars in the tale of a naïve diamond cutter who unwittingly falls in with a band of swindlers (among them, James Whitmore, Kurt Kazner, and leggy Cara Williams) bent on absconding with the $2 million Blue Goddess Diamond. Though MGM's publicity department heralded this newest film starring "the world's funniest man," the The Great Diamond Robbery was shot on the cheap by Robert Z. Leonard and fobbed off on movie theatres as a second feature. Nearly a decade later, Skelton reunited with leading lady Cara Williams for a Christmas-themed episode of The Red Skelton Show titled "Freddie and the Yuletide Doll." By Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Although the character played by Kurt Kasznar is listed in the onscreen credits and reviews as "Louie," he is identified in the film as "Tony Midelli." Reginald Owen is billed above George Mathews in the opening credits, but below him in the end credits. A studio publicity release, dated December 8, 1952, stated that production had begun that week, and that George Oppenheimer was collaborating on the screenplay with credited writers Laslo Vadnay and Martin Rackin. Production was delayed until March 1953, however, and Oppenheimer's contribution to the film has not been determined. The publicity release also included Adolphe Menjou and Horace McMahon in the cast, but they were not in the film. A December 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item adds Harry Cheshire to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to an April 1953 Hollywood Reporter news item, Bronislau Kaper was originally to do the musical score.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter December 1953

Released in United States Winter December 1953