on 11 April 2012
Scotland Yard is investigating a series of thefts committed by a mysterious burglar who always leaves behind his calling card calling himself "The Amature Cracksman" .
From the beginning we are let on the secret that A.J. Raffles, a cricket star and English gentleman, played by a 29 year old David Niven, is the gentleman crook who has successfully eluded the police in his chosen profession of safecracking. He steals to support his elegant lifestyle. By a strange coincidence, Raffles butler, E.E. Clive, happens to be Bulldog Drummond's butler too; An extremely English and very correct butler. Whether Raffles butler suspects that his master is a criminal or not is hard to guess because the butler very respectful and dutiful towards master.
Raffles falls in love with Gwen Manders, played by the lovely 23-year old Olivia de Havilland. Then Raffles renounces his life of crime. But Gwen's brother Bunny confides to Raffles that he desperately needs £1,000 in order to repay the money he embezzled and lost at gambling. Bunny is so distressed he even considers committing suicide. Raffles decides to help him by planning another theft. But Scotland Yard's Inspector MacKenzie is making progress in his investigation. An empty cigarette package leads MacKenzie to the country estate of Lord Melrose, where Raffles is spending the weekend.
However, it is not the inspector but Raffles who discovers the plot of petty thief Crawshay to steal Lady Melrose's emerald necklace. Raffles wrestles the necklace from Crawshay, who is then arrested by the police. The next morning, Raffles leaves for London to sell the jewels. Amsterdam in 1939 was considered the jewel smuggling capital of Europe. Raffles has business to do in that city, probably to turn the stolen jewels into cash. He asks his butler to book him on an evening flight, presumably to Schiphol Airport, which is 5.6 miles southwest of Amsterdam.
Gwen had overheard the inspector setting a trap for Raffles. She rushes to warn Raffles, but too late, for the inspector springs his trap and arrests Raffles with the gems. Lord George Melrose is so pleased to get his wife's the stolen jewels back again that he is willing to give the reward of 1,000 pounds to Bunny at Raffles suggestion. With this major problem now resolved Raffles exhibits his ingenuity one last time as he cleverly eludes the police and escapes into the night.
A lovely, nostalgic film Black & White film from 1939, made shortly before World War two broke out. I have seen it a few times. It is one of my favourite David Niven films.