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A Retrieved Reformation

"A Retrieved Reformation"
Author O. Henry
Country  United States
Language English
Genre(s) Drama Short story
Publication date 1903

"A Retrieved Reformation" is a short story by American author O. Henry first published in The Cosmopolitan Magazine, April 1903. It describes the events which lead up to the reformation of an ex-convict. In 1910, dramatist Paul Armstrong adapted the story into a highly successful Broadway play under the title Alias Jimmy Valentine which ran 155 performances at Wallack's Theatre in New York, and the play was subsequently made into three film versions: one in 1915 directed by Maurice Tourneur and starring Robert Warwick, one in 1920 directed by Edmund Mortimer and starring Bert Lytell, and one in 1928 directed by Jack Conway and starring William Haines, the last being Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's first sound film with dialogue sequences. The popularity of the story as a motion picture added greatly to the author's vogue, though in the English, French, and Spanish versions O. Henry's name was not mentioned. The character of Jimmy Valentine is taken from life but there is a close parallel to the leading incident in chapter XLII of Hugo's Les Miserables.

The story was adapted into a radio series, Alias Jimmy Valentine, that was broadcast from 1938 to 1939.

Safecracker Jimmy Valentine is released from prison after serving less than ten months of a four year sentence, due to his criminal connections. He goes to his old apartment, packs up his tools, and leaves. In the following weeks, a few cash robberies are committed, and the detective who landed Valentine in jail in the first place, Ben Price, is called to work on the new case. He realizes that the robberies are committed in Jimmy's style.



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