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Man about town and First Class cricketer A.J. Raffles keeps himself solvent with daring robberies. Meeting Gwen from his schooldays and falling in love all over again, he spends the weekend with her parents, Lord and Lady Melrose. A necklace presents an irresistible temptation, but also in attendance is Scotland Yard's finest, finally on the trail. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In order to enjoy either version of Raffles, the Ronald Colman or this one, you have to be a fan of either Colman or David Niven in this case. If you don't like either, Raffles will not be your cup of English tea. Fortunately I like both of them.
David Niven probably carried more films on his personal charm than any other player I know. Even more than Ronald Colman did, because Colman had the advantage of getting better scripts.
This remake that Sam Goldwyn did of his own film had little change in it from the Colman version. David Niven is the debonair cricket player who has a nice sideline as a cat burglar. He's so good, he leaves taunting notes for Scotland Yard, particularly at Inspector Dudley Digges who's in charge of trying to catch him.
The last job he does is for his friend Douglas Walton who has embezzled some mess company funds to gamble with and there's an audit come due. Raffles is a pal good and true and offers to help though Walton does not know about his sideline.
Olivia DeHavilland is Walton's sister who has little to do but sit around and look beautiful. She had hoped that on the strength of her performance in Gone With the Wind, Warner Brothers would giver her more substantial material. That was not to be even on a loan out to Sam Goldwyn.
Despite it being lightweight stuff, Raffles is a key film for David Niven. He was at last given first billing in a film. But as soon as the film was done, he was back to Great Britain to serve in the Armed Forces. Niven made two films in uniform, Spitfire and The Way Ahead, and also saw some combat. He wouldn't see Hollywood again for many years.
Raffles is nice entertainment, but it helps to be a fan of David Niven.
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