Sunday, October 9, 2022

Bejewelled ( 1991 )

Eustacia "Stacy" Orpington ( Emma Samms ) is entrusted by her boss Gordon ( Dirk Benedict ) to deliver the famous Orpington jeweled crown from the Thringsby Museum in Massachusetts to the prestigious London Museum in England. Instead of having the jewels securely packaged, Gordon thought it would be better - "no...cheaper" - for her to carry them on the jet in an inconspicuous black hatbox...the same black hatbox which just about every other passenger is carrying.

On exiting the jet there is a mix-up with the passengers' luggage and all those same-looking hatboxes get shuffled. When Stacy finally opens the hatbox she was given by the stewardess, she finds that it is the wrong one! In one short weekend, Stacy must track down the passengers from her flight to find the missing jeweled crown and return it to the museum by Monday. 

Aiding her in her search is fellow passenger and budding investigator Alistair Lord ( Denis Lawson ), and the two youngsters he is chaperoning: wise-cracking American Marvin ( Aeryk Egan ) and the little French countess Eloise ( Jade Magri ). This foursome soon finds themselves in a deeper mystery than jewel robbery when they discover the dead body of their stewardess at her apartment. 

Bejewelled was a made-for-television film released by Walt Disney Pictures in 1991. The movie is clearly aimed at a juvenile audience but it has comedy, romance, and mystery for all ages to enjoy. This was a film that my sister and I grew up with and, like two other Disney favorites - The London Connection and Diamonds on Wheels, I find Bejewelled especially fun to watch because it is filmed entirely in England, primarily London, and features a great cast of English actors. 

"Al, we better not let this lady out of our sight!.... After all, we're talking murder here."

The opening credits are marvelous with that memorable theme song playing while the camera slowly pans over the treasured jewels. It is also refreshing to see a film where a family solves a mystery. In Bejewelled, Stacy and Alistair are not married and the children are not their own, yet they act like a family group, sticking together in all they do - and squabbling while they do it.

This patchwork family spends one madcap weekend together tracking down key passengers from their flight, not knowing who may be a suspect in the theft, nor who may be a murderer. And what a motley group they are! An elderly spinster ( Jean Marsh ) who likes to knit socks seems willing to help them, as does a glamourous fashion model ( Jerry Hall ), but there was also a policeman escorting a handcuffed prisoner onboard. "He probably murdered somebody," Marvin deduces. 

Everywhere they go, someone seems to be one step ahead of them and Stacy constantly finds her room being ransacked, which she finds puzzling. "I don't even have the jewels!" she exclaims. "I don't have any jewels!.... I don't even wear earrings."

Emmas Samms is delightful as the befuddled Stacy Orpington. It is odd to find her cast as an American visiting England when she herself is English. Ms. Samms was good in comedy and the same year co-starred with John Candy in the comedy Delirious.

Denis Lawson is equally wonderful as Alistair, the wanna-be detective. He has a soft spot for Stacy from the start but it takes a bit of courage on his part - and a lot of prodding from the children - to get him to express his feelings. 

As well cast as these two were, the children who play Marvin and Eloise are the ones who really deserve mention. These youngsters not only got some of the best lines in the film but were very natural actors acting just like, well, children their age would act. As Stacy put it, "Eloise is adorable" and quite a level-headed little girl. She admires and puts her full trust in Marvin and his clever mind, impetuous as he may be at times. Marvin has a big mouth but is willing to take risks when it counts. Also in the cast are Chris Langham, Trevor Peacock, Frances de la Tour, John Bird. 

Tom Astle penned the script for Bejewelled which was based on the book of the same title by Marian Babson. It's a very witty script but it has its moments of silliness that juvenile viewers will enjoy but adults may find corny. This includes Dirk Benedict getting a plate full of onion pudding dumped on his head. 

Unfortunately, Bejewelled has not yet been released on DVD so if you want to check out this Disney rarity you will have to hunt down an old VHS copy on eBay or view the film on Youtube

1 comment:

  1. I loved this moving when I was younger. I must have worn out the VHS tape. Thanks for the memories! I’ll see if I can watch it YT over the weekend.