An entertaining period drama though not quite as good as the 1977 series.
Raffles is back on our screens at last! I re-watched this entertaining period drama on BBC4 a few days ago. Nigel Havers is well cast giving a likable performance as our hero although has relatively little to work with script wise. Having said that, the awkward inter-class chemistry with Michael French's character is captured perfectly and offers an interesting new duo dynamic, contrasting with rather obvious repartee between the thief and his previous partner Harry 'Bunny' Manders in Anthony Valentine's days.
Locations are used to great effect, the opening scene's setting effectively evoking the atmosphere of the period. Though overall the production seems to be fairly low budget by today's standards, it is still a stylish leap forward from the 1977 series. Having said that, The Gentleman Thief pays less heed to Hornung's original source material than the original series and the appearance of some Bondian gadgets are rather cliché. I would forgive the film this however, if it acted as a pilot to a future series rather than a standalone production. The calibre of the actors involved and the general tone of the piece would allow for some excellent developments if further instalments were added. In isolation however the film doesn't quite satisfy fans of the books or the Valentine series, but it does provide an hour of solid entertainment with a certain amount of flair.
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