The Rat

Swaggering adaptation of Novello's own play, co-written with Constance Collier. Novello plays Pierre Boucheron, a 19th century Parisian jewel thief and vagabond. The picture opens in exhilarating fashion, with Boucheron leading the gendarmes on a chase through the back streets before escaping down a manhole. Much of the story unfolds in the White Coffin, a demi-monde bar full of sultry looking prostitutes, all of them in love with Boucheron, and assorted knife brandishing ruffians. (At one stage, in an attempt to show he's easily a match for Valentino and Novarro, the star dances a tango, ripping his partner's skirt at the hip so she can move more easily.) The subplot, about his fling with a bored aristocratic woman whose diamonds he steals, is purely routine. But Cutts directs the chases and fights with verve, the Gallic underworld is imaginatively evoked, and Novello makes a suitably louche, charismatic anti-hero.

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Cast and crew

Director: Graham Cutts
Screenwriter: Graham Cutts
Cast: Ivor Novello
Mae Marsh
Isobel Jeans
Robert Scholtz
James Lindsay
Marie Ault