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Raffles (1930)

 -  Adventure | Crime | Drama  -  24 July 1930 (USA)
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A distinguished English gentleman has a secret life--he is the notorious jewel thief the press has dubbed "The Amateur Cracksman". When he meets a woman and falls in love he decides to "... See full summary »


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Title: Raffles (1930)

Raffles (1930) on IMDb 7/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


Complete credited cast:
Bramwell Fletcher ...
Frances Dade ...
Ethel Crowley
David Torrence ...
Alison Skipworth ...
Frederick Kerr ...
John Rogers ...
Wilson Benge ...


A distinguished English gentleman has a secret life--he is the notorious jewel thief the press has dubbed "The Amateur Cracksman". When he meets a woman and falls in love he decides to "retire" from that life, but an old friend comes to him with a predicament that entails him committing one last job. Written by

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Release Date:

24 July 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Raffles  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Bette Davis screen tested for the role of Gwendolyn. And failed. See more »


His lordship demonstrates his alarm system to his male dinner guests, noting with it engaged, the alarm goes off if any window opens (one would also assume, the doors). Later that evening, after shutting off the alarm, Raffles catches a real thief, makes a deal to hand over his booty, and help him escape from the house. The police detective notices the open window, closes it and resets the alarm, seconds before the real thief and Raffles opens the window. The alarm goes off and a chase ensues. As they apprehend the thief, we're shown one of the bedrooms with windows open and curtains blowing in the breeze. If the alarm is triggered by any open window, these windows should have been closed. And with the threat of robbery that night, all the windows would have been closed and locked. See more »


Inspector McKenzie: Good heavens! In the tobacco! Well, I'll be...
A.J. Raffles: Yes, I thought that you would be.
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Version of Raffles (1939) See more »

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"That's What We're Here For - To Be Gay"
30 March 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

"Raffles" was produced by Sam Goldwyn and photographed by Greg Toland, the genius who was to help create "Citizen Kane" eleven years after this.

Raffles the English gentleman has a discreet sideline as a burglar and jewel thief. The press has dubbed him 'The Amateur Cracksman', and as such he has become a household name. Now that he has fallen in love with the sophisticated Gwen (Kay Francis) and proposed marriage to her, Raffles has decided to retire from crime. However, his old pal Bunny is in a spot of bother. Bunny has been playing cards again, and has run up a gambling debt of £1,000. If Bunny is to be rescued from his predicament, Raffles will have to take on the Melrose 'job' ...

Ronald Coleman gives us his trademark suave Englishman in the title role. We see him burgling a jeweller's shop wearing a top hat (note the excellent Toland touch of the policeman silhouetted against the window drape). Our first real glimpse of the hero comes on the dance floor as he sweeps Gwen around in a romantic waltz. On the cricket field at Lord Melrose's place, Raffles is of course dashing, and wins the game (even though he was not supposed to be playing - he invited himself along for the weekend at the last minute). Even when Inspector Mackenzie has him on the ropes, Raffles remains the epitome of poise and wit.

"All bubbles and froth - no taste," says Lord Melrose, giving his verdict on champagne. It is a reasonable comment on the film itself, which for all its pretensions to style is basically an inelaborate crime flick. We have the 'two Englands' crudely juxtaposed - one urban and ugly (the cloth-capped burglars from the pub, the 'pea soup' fog in London) and the other bucolic and 'refayned' (Lady Melrose's soiree). The film takes it for granted that the lower classes are unpleasant.

However, there are good things in this movie. The cricket match is fun, and tolerably well done, though Raffles' bowling action is highly dubious and the umpire's position would make lbw decisions interesting to say the least. The skylight scene on Raffles' apartment roof is an arresting image.

There is also a large portion of baloney. Does Scotland Yard protect country houses against burglary? Is this best done by surrounding them with a dozen detectives throughout the night? Why don't these detectives catch the various burglars who enter the premises? If closing the sash window is enough to stop the burglar alarm from ringing, then it isn't much of a burglar alarm. The 'common' burglars crouch in the shrubbery and talk aloud, spelling out their plans in pedantic detail, conveniently allowing Raffles to overhear. Is it not slightly more probable that they would have worked out what to do before entering the property?

The film ends in a flurry of increasingly silly activity. Blatant undercranking of the camera makes Raffles' escape dash look ridiculous, and his place of concealment is laughable.

Verdict - An enjoyable crime caper with absurd elements.

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