The Fire Raisers (1933)

Genres - Crime  |   Run Time - 77 min.  |   Countries - UK  |  
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The Fire Raisers (British slang for arsonists) was inspired by the true story of Leopold Harris, an insurance assessor convicted of arson. Called "a sort of Warner Brothers Newspaper Headline story" by director Michael Powell, the film centers around Jim Bronson (played by Leslie Banks), an ambitious assessor intent on marrying the daughter of a successful underwriter at Lloyd's of London. Bronson employs unscrupulous methods to better his financial position and convinces the daughter to marry him against the father's wishes. Unfortunately, Bronson cannot leave well enough alone and foolishly gambles away most of his money. To save face and regain his wealth, he becomes involved with a gang of arsonists. Bronson's assistant, Bates, becomes suspicious of his superior and helps Twist, a representative of Lloyd's, infiltrate the gang. However, the fire raisers suspect things are not on the up-and-up; unbeknownst to Bronson, they beat Bates and leave him to die in a vault while they turn their attentions to Twist. Discovering Bates in the vault, Bronson has a change of heart and tries to rescue Twist before the gang gets to him.

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Keywords

arson, change-of-heart, con/scam, conscience, criminal, crisis, fire, gangster, informer, insurance, insurance-investigator, investigation, police