“A criminal is more easily identified and caught when the motive that actuated him is found. Here is the story of a ‘criminal’ whose motives baffled the detectives of two continents.”
There are four different versions of Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman. I have now seen both silent versions and the 1939 version starring David Niven and Olivia de Havilland. The story is, obviously, the same but each version has had their little variations. Here is the second silent version of Raffles from 1925.
Raffles is an English gentleman who is traveling back to England from India by boat. Raffles has a secret under his gentlemanly ways: he is a jewel thief. No one knows he is who the press has dubbed the Amateur Cracksman. He is known for breaking into safes and stealing valuable jewels. On the boat he steals a necklace from a wealthy old couple. When the boat and all the passengers are to be searched Raffles places the necklace into a cigar box and gives the owner the box with a note saying to give the reward to the Soldiers’ Fund.
Also on the boat was a young woman named Clarice Vidal (Hedda Hopper) and she likes him.
Back in England, Raffles is invited to a party given by Lord and Lady Amersteth. Also invited to the party is a rich man called Captain Bradford who has nothing better to do with his time than to study crime. He has so much time on his hands to study crime that he has become a leading criminologist. Bradford and Amersteth bet that a string of pearls cannot be stolen as long as Bradford is there and it is locked in a safe. Of course Raffles steals them. Clarice somehow knows that Raffles is the Amateur Cracksman and she lets everyone know it. Clarice is a little jealous because Raffles now has eyes for the Lord and Lady’s daughter Gwen.
Captain Bradford tells the police about Raffles. Gwen comes to warn him about the police coming for him. They manage to get a boat leaving England. He writes a letter to the police with the pearls and promises to retire from burglary.
As I said before I have seen the story of Raffles so many times yet each one has something different about it. This version was short at fifty-five minutes so the story moved a little faster and it was a little different from the 1939 one where Raffles is taken in by the police. This silent 1925 version of Raffles is worth watching at least once