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Johnny Riggs, a con man on the lam, finds himself in a Latin-American country named Patria. There, he overhears a convent-bred rich girl praying to her guardian angel for help in managing her tangled business affairs. Riggs decides to materialize as the girl's "angel", gains her unquestioning confidence, and helps himself to the deluded girl's millions. Just as he and his partner are about to flee Patria with their booty, Riggs realizes he has fallen in love with the girl and returns the money, together with a note that is part confession and part love letter. But the larcenous duo's escape from Patria turns out to be more difficult than they could ever have imagined. Written by
Dan Navarro <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Vincent Minnelli loves pure beauty, and in "Yolanda and the Thief" he's in heaven.
Here he has the unbridled luxury of reveling in rich colors, stylish costumes, imaginative dream sequences, and a carnival dance scene that's breathtaking.
With Arthur Freed and Harry Warren's tuneful songs, music supervision by Roger Edens and direction by Lennie Hayton, the score simply glows.
Right from the start, "This is a Day for Love" spans a colorful countryside, moving into a processional and to a lovely convent setting. At midpoint, there's a fantasy through cobblestone streets, to a "magical" pond (from which a remarkable "apparition" emerges) to a multileveled plane with assorted choreographic groupings.
This complex fantasy undoubtedly inspired Gene Kelly six years later in developing his great ballet sequence of "An American in Paris." The expansive MGM sound stages are fully utilized in both executions to their fullest.
Then the show-stopping "Coffee Time" choreography by Eugen Loring, and deftly danced by Fred Astaire, Lucille Bremer and company, is a masterpiece of concept and execution.
Starting off with a lone female trio stepping and clapping off-beat in 5/4, a startling 4/4 song is suddenly superimposed upon the "ground"--with dance and clap movements clearly continuing in 5/4. To add to the "tour de force, a slower pas de deux emerges in the irregular meter, only to be followed by the corps' return to the regular, with everything "taken out" in combined meters.
It's really something to see this dance, which is obviously the result of many weeks of painstaking work from a number of departments, so smoothly executed. Astaire is on top of his form, with Bremer right there every step of the way. They make as beautiful a pair here as in the lovely "This Heart of Mine" number from "Ziegfield Follies."
As for Minnelli, he must have been ecstatic throughout this picturesque production. Mildred Natwick shines in her hilarious role as Aunt, and Frank Morgan and Leon Ames provide able support.
The script itself is a serviceable backdrop for the art departments' joining the music team in having a field day crafting a very beautiful production.
As for Minnelli, this was certainly among his happiest hours in filmmaking.
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