Previous Goldwyn production of Raffles had Ronald Colman and Kay Francis as main figures in the romantic motivation to dovetail with the crook angle. Here, however, script concentrates on cat-and-mouse by-play between Scotland Yard inspector Mackenzie (Douglas Digges) and the elusive cracksman (David Niven), with the romantic interludes of minor importance. Present version also lacks the sparkle and good humor of the original with Colman.

Previous Goldwyn production of Raffles had Ronald Colman and Kay Francis as main figures in the romantic motivation to dovetail with the crook angle. Here, however, script concentrates on cat-and-mouse by-play between Scotland Yard inspector Mackenzie (Douglas Digges) and the elusive cracksman (David Niven), with the romantic interludes of minor importance. Present version also lacks the sparkle and good humor of the original with Colman.

As weekend guest of Lord and Lady Melrose (Lionel Pape, May Whitty) Raffles discovers his buddy and brother of his sweetheart needs funds quickly to prevent being cashiered from the army. Under the nose of the Scotland Yard inspector, he plans to pilfer the hostess’ necklace, but eventually finds he has to lift the gems from a thief who had the same idea.

The E.W. Hornung tale [The Amateur Cracksman] has moments of interest and suspense in its present telling, but overall is able to generate only slight reaction for a familiar yarn. Niven is adequate as Raffles, with Digges providing interesting, amusing and important characterization as the inspector. Olivia de Havilland has slight footage as the romantic interest opposite Niven.

Raffles has been given Class A production values throughout, but on the entertainment side its a lower A.

Raffles

Production

Goldwyn. Director Sam Wood, William Wyler; Producer Samuel Goldwyn; Screenplay John Van Druten, Sydney Howard; Camera Gregg Toland; Editor Sherman Todd; Music Victor Young; Art Director James Basevi

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1939. Running time: 70 MIN.

With

David Niven Olivia de Havilland May Whitty Dudley Digges Douglas Walton Lionel Pape
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