Raffles: Complete Collection
DVD | Box Set
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Adventures of a gentleman thief in Victorian England
A dashing aristocrat turns criminal in this classic British drama
Meet A.J. Raffles (Anthony Valentine, Callan, The Commander), a gentleman of leisure and a first-class cricketer. But when he’s not dining at his club or taking wickets for England, he’s often engaged in his other favorite activity--relieving the wealthy of their riches.
A master of accents and disguise, Raffles is assisted by his old school chum "Bunny" Manders (Christopher Strauli, Only When I Laugh). Always eager but often bewildered, Bunny follows his friend into the most complex of predicaments and deadliest of situations, likely as not pursued by the dogged Inspector Mackenzie (Victor Carin, Sutherland’s Law) of Scotland Yard.
Anthony Valentine and a stellar cast of British actors deliver superb performances in these beautifully crafted adaptations of the work of E.W. Hornung, brother-in-law of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In each episode, the roguish Raffles and his intrepid companion set out to plunder the wealth of the aristocracy, stay out of the reach of the law, and revel in the thrill of the game.
Contains partial nudity
Imagine a cracking-good British whodunit, in the vein of Miss Marple or Cracker--but told from the point of view of the perp. In the case of Raffles, the hero is A. J. Raffles (the talented, seasoned TV actor Anthony Valentine), a British national cricket champion and gentleman of leisure--who just happens to be a master thief. Raffles features all 14 hour-long episodes of the 1977 series adapted from the stories by E. W. Hornung (brother-in-law of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). Valentine plays Raffles as a man who can't wait to take the English aristocracy down a peg or two, diamond necklace by diamond necklace. His partner in crime is his old school chum Bunny (Christopher Strauli), who's often dragged into the muck of Raffles's capers before he realizes it's too late. Raffles is cleverly plotted and delightfully written, and the actors seem to be having the time of their lives. And while Raffles winks at the adventures of its hero, who clearly channels Cary Grant in It Takes a Thief, it also delivers a deft jab at stratified British society. It's OK to lift a few gems from the über-privileged, Raffles seems to suggest, since our hero has such a jolly good time getting away with it--and besides, there are ever so many more where those came from. The other part of the thrill is staying one step ahead of Scotland Yard's Inspector Mackenzie (Victor Carin), as situations become ever more dire, and wickets ever more sticky. The boxed set contains the series' pilot episode, which, oddly, was never broadcast, and which does an excellent job of setting up the personalities of Raffles and Bunny. It also includes an interesting bio of Hornung, and each episode begins with a text blurb that sets up the action without giving away any spoilers, so the viewer can decide just which caper suits the mood. Splendid! --A.T. Hurley
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Unfortunately, my rating has to be 4 stars because ACORN didn't add subtitles, something that I thought all DVDs were supposed to have. I'm not hard-of-hearing, but sometimes the audio or a thick accent garbles a word and that takes away from the overall enjoyment of the experience.
Still...If you want to have a good time with a likable scoundrel and his sidekick, I recommend RAFFLES. It's a wonderful way to while-away an afternoon, sipping tea and laughing at upper class high-jinks and impecunious young men inadvertently saving the day.
By pinching jewels from the wealthy, Raffles and Bunny are able to maintain their upper middle class lifestyle using a bit of Robin Hood logic to justify their crimes (robbing from the rich to help the poor - the poor being themselves). The original author was E. W. Hornung, the brother-in-law to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Hornung wanted to create a criminal character as a foil to the ever popular Sherlock Holmes. Raffles might not be a famous as Sherlock but he is every bit as clever and quite endearing.