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Friday, June 5, 2015

Raffles (1939)

A famous cricket player (David Niven) is secretly The Amateur Cracksman, a gentleman thief who steals for the pleasure of it and often returns the stolen goods to Scotland Yard with a note. But when he falls in love with an aristocrat (Olivia De Havilland), he decides to give it all up. But at a weekend party at a country house, he finds that it's not that easy. Sam Wood (FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS) directed this remake of the 1930 Ronald Colman film which itself was the third film version. It adheres closely to the original source material (the 1930 film) which restricts what Wood can do with it. The 1930 was an early talkie and rather awkward in its execution and Wood doesn't stray visually from the Colman film. Indeed, it was probably a bit creaky in 1939 too. But the two leads are likable and at an hour and 12 minutes, it passes painlessly. With Dame May Whitty and Dudley Digges.

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