Story: One of the most valuable diamonds in the world is about to be finally cut, a historic and valuable moment in time. After all, the gems spliced from this legendary diamond will be beyond sought after and that means a lot of cash, which means a lot of interest. The diamond is being transported to retired jeweler Peter (Burr Caruth) to be expertly divided for sale, but a group of thieves have a plot to take the jewel before the first cut. Morgan (Robert Fiske) has a plan to pull off a heist, involving a front that he’s involved with a young boxer on the rise. As time counts down the diamond’s fate remains up in the air, what will become of the historic gem?
Entertainment Value: This tale of a cursed diamond isn’t as dark or serious as the premise suggests, instead giving us a light blend of drama, crime thrills, and even comedy, all packed into a brisk run of just over an hour. The narrative is not going to bowl you over, more than likely, but it is passable and sets the stage for the fun parts of the picture. I suppose one positive to the short runtime is that there’s little time to waste, so the pace remains light if one thread or another doesn’t grab your interest, the frequent plot movements will assist with that. If you’re here for a tense crime thriller however, there’s not much of that to be found here, especially once the opening exposition ends. Some brief moments of crime drama do pop up, but overall this is more of a light comedy and the boxer subplot seems to exist solely to allow for a lot of comedic bursts. In other words, as a crime thriller, The Devil Diamond falls short, but as an offbeat, even silly at times picture, it has its moments.
The cast here doesn’t have to dig deep into their dramatic repertoire here, but I think everyone performs well and several are quite fun to watch. The standout is Frankie Darro, who is also likely the main draw as far as bringing in new viewers to the picture. Darro has a lot of the film’s comedic relief and has numerous slap driven brawls here, which are usually well timed. He is fun to watch and he seems to get the material, so despite not doing much besides being charming, Darro is a central reason The Devil Diamond is able to leave an impression. June Gale is also one of the better performers, though she doesn’t have nearly the screen time I would have liked. The cast also includes Rosita Butler, Edward Earle, Kane Richmond, and Robert Fiske.
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