|Country of production||United States|
George Barnes ,
Raffles is an American crime film from 1930 starring Ronald Colman and Kay Francis and directed by George Fitzmaurice . The literary model was provided by Ernest William Hornung's novel The Amateur Cracksman (1899).
Raffles is a gentleman who leads a double life. He earns his living as a jewel thief who calls himself "amateur cracksman". When he meets the socialite Lady Gwen, he falls in love with her and decides to live his life without further criminal acts. But when his best friend Bunny wants to take his own life out of sheer desperation, Raffles wants to help him with one last foray to pay off his stifling betting debts.
Raffles appears with Bunny and Gwen at a Lord and Lady Melrose party. Raffles is interested in the lady's diamond necklace. However, Raffle's plans are thwarted by the intervention of another group of thieves. Inspector McKenzie has learned of the group's plan and appears with his men at the Melroses. Another crook, Crawshaw, breaks into the house. He is the successful one and can seize the chain. But Raffles is able to take the chain off him again. Crawshaw is caught by McKenzie's men, but at the same time realizes the real identity of the man who took the chain off him.
McKenzie and Gwen suspect Raffles to be the "amateur cracksman". McKenzie wants to search the whole house first, and none of those present are allowed to leave the house. But Gwen sees McKenzie's change of heart. He plans to release Crawshaw so that he can lead him to Raffles, whom he suspects of owning the necklace. Gwen rushes after Raffles to warn him. Crawshaw does what McKenzie expected, he follows Raffles. He can convince the crook that the police followed him and helps him escape. Raffles now publicly admits to be the "amateur cracksman". He reminds Lord Melrose of the reward offered for getting the chain back. The reward just so happens to be exactly the amount of Bunny's debt. He hands the chain to Melrose and is able to outsmart McKenzie and flee. Gwen and Raffles have agreed to meet in Paris.
Ronald Colman was one of the few stars who not only made the transition from silent film to sound film without problems, but was also able to expand their popularity. His success was in contrast to Vilma Bánky , with whom he formed a popular screen couple in five films . The actress ended her American career in 1930 because her heavy Hungarian accent was not well received by the audience.
The film initially went into production under the direction of Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast , but in the middle of filming, Samuel Goldwyn fired the director and replaced him with George Fitzmaurice , who had worked with Colman five times in the past. At the box office, the film was successful with grossing US $ 1.2 million.
Variety found that sympathy for the criminal was instinctive. Kay Francis is also a lucky choice. The TimeOut film guide wrote that Colman impressed with his brilliant effortless charm.
- Raffles in the Internet Movie Database (English)
- Raffles at Turner Classic Movies (English)
- Set photos and contemporary reviews on kayfrancisfilms.com