After being adapted for the stage, Ernest William Hornung's novel The Amateur Cracksman came to the screen twice in the silent era, with John Barrymore and House Peters cast as the roguish A.J. Raffles in the 1914 and 1925 versions, respectively. In this first sound version of the story,
Ronald Colman is the famed British cricket player who spends his evenings as "The Amateur Cracksman," an equally famous criminal who consistently eludes Scotland Yard. Colman falls in love with beautiful socialite Kay Francis and manages to wangle an invitation to a weekend bash thrown by
blue-blood Alison Skipworth, who owns an extremely valuable--and very tempting--necklace.
Having established himself with moviegoers as Bulldog Drummond, Colman found himself in another crowd-pleasing role as the lovable Raffles. Opening to almost unanimously favorable reviews, RAFFLES marked a farewell to silent films for Sam Goldwyn's production company. A firm believer in the
future of sound films, Goldwyn quickly made the transition, and this picture was the last that his company produced in both silent and sound versions. Goldwyn's faith in sound recording resulted in an Oscar nomination for sound recordist Oscar Lagerstrom. The picture was begun under the direction
of Harry d'Abbadie D'Arrast (LAUGHTER), but he was fired and his name struck from the credits by Goldwyn after endless disagreements between the two. His replacement, George Fitzmaurice, an able craftsman, had been responsible for bringing D'Arrast to Hollywood from France eight years earlier.
RAFFLES was remade, practically scene for scene, in 1939 with David Niven and Olivia de Havilland in the leads, and again in 1960 as EL RAFFLES MEXICANO, a Spanish-language picture with Rafael Bertrand as The Amateur Cracksman.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: After being adapted for the stage, Ernest William Hornung's novel The Amateur Cracksman came to the screen twice in the silent era, with John Barrymore and House Peters cast as the roguish A.J. Raffles in the 1914 and 1925 versions, respectively. In this f… (more)