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Raffles 1939
Description: Boy about city 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, King and Lady Melrose. A necklace presents an irresistible temptation, but also in attendance is Scotland Yard's finest, finally on the trail.
Released: 29 Dec 1939 Director: Sam Wood, William Wyler Writers: John Van Druten (screenplay), Sidney Howard (screenplay), E.W. Hornung (based upon the celebrated adventures of: "The Amateur Cracksman" by) Actors: David Niven, Olivia de Havilland, May Whitty, Dudley Digges Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Drama, History, Romance, Thriller
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Raffles Reviews:

If ever there was a movie that could have been a lot better, it is the 1940 ver of "Raffles" - excellently cast is David Niven as the Gentleman cracksman, and with Olivia de Havilland (at her loveliest) as his girl-friend Gwen, with two perfect helping users in Dame May Whitty and Dudley Digges. Lasting only just over an hour, it misses a unbelievable occasion to create something really exciting and suspenseful, but on those scores it fails. The predictability of it is a true let-down, and really the talent of the two main stars are wasted - Miss de Havilland has absolutely nothing to do except sit around and look superb - she gotta have been forced by Warners to do this on loan out, because it followed so later after her large success in "Gone With The Wind".


In order to play either ver of Raffles, the Ronald Colman or this one, you have to be a fanatic 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 movies on his private charm than any another user I know. Even more than Ronald Colman did, because Colman had the advantage of getting better scripts.This makeover that Sam Goldwyn did of his own movie had tiny change in it from the Colman version. David Niven is the debonair cricket user who has a great 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 mate Douglas Walton who has embezzled some mess company funds to gamble with and there's an audit come due. Raffles is a pal nice and real and offers to support though Walton does not know about his sideline.Olivia DeHavilland is Walton's sister who has tiny 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 movie for David Niven. He was at last given first billing in a film. But as later as the movie was done, he was back to Nice Britain to serve in the Armed Forces. Niven made two movies in uniform, Spitfire and The Method Ahead, and also saw some combat. He wouldn't see Hollywood again for many years.Raffles is great entertainment, but it supports to be a fanatic of David Niven.


"Raffles" seems like it was a quickie - it doesn't last very long and it has an abrupt ending. Nevertheless, "Raffles" details two dazzling stars - David Niven, well-cast as an upper class thief, and Olivia de Havilland as the pretty object of his affections.One interesting thing about this movie - which made me realize that I had seen it years before - is the early tv in the inspector's office at the beginning of the movie.I regret not seeing the Ronald Colman version. In this one, Niven is charming, handsome, and debonair as a boy who seems to steal as a lark and then somehow returns the merchandise, to the frustration of the police. At the film's start, he steals a valuable painting, sends it to his favourite retired actress, and has her return it for the reward money. But when he tries to steal a necklace to support a mate replace cash he gambled away before an audit takes place, he runs into other crook attempting to do the same thing, and complications arise.There are some suspenseful moments toward the end of the movie, but all in all, it goes by too quickly, and the hero of Raffles isn't sufficiently developed. It's almost as if the film begins in the middle and ends before it's really over. De Havilland is absolutely beautiful, even if a couple of her hats are outrageous. She's really just doing an average ingénue role here. "Raffles" debuted in the U.S. just before "Gone With the Wind," and she probably made it right afterward.Entertaining but disappointing.



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