Introduction to the Story- Jimmy Valentine

Jimmy Valentine’ is an abridged version of O. Henry’s popular short story, A Retrieved Reformation. The original story was published in 1909 in his book of short stories, Roads of Destiny. This story was adapted into a stage play by Paul Armstrong in 1910. Through stage production the story became extremely popular. Later the story was adapted into film several times since 1915. Jimmy Valentine’, released in 1928, was MGM’s first alltalking movie.

‘Jimmy Valentine’ tells the tale of a safecracker, Jimmy Valentine. After he is released from prison, he resumes burglary. Then he goes to Elmore, falls in love with the banker’s daughter Annabel and decides to give up his criminal career. There he takes up the name of Mr. Ralph D. Spencer, opens a shoestore and achieves success. Just as he is about to give up his tools of the trade to an old friend, there is a twist in the tale. The detective Ben Price recognizes him when Annabel’s father invites him to the bank to show him the brand-new vault. At the bank while all are inspecting the vault, a little girl accidentally gets locked inside the vault. Annabel urges him to rescue the girl. Although he knows well that it will bring him misfortune, Jimmy opens the vault by using his burglar’s tools to rescue the girl. Ben Price notices everything. While Jimmy surrenders, Ben Price pretends not to know him at all and lets him go. The story is interesting for its dramatic conflict. It is also noted for its irony, humour, suspense and unexpected ending.

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