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The Thief (1952)

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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 536 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 13 critic

A chance accident causes a nuclear physicist selling top secret material to the Russians to fall under FBI scrutiny and go on the run.



(written for the screen by), (written for the screen by)
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Title: The Thief (1952)

The Thief (1952) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Mr. Bleek (as Martin Gable)
Harry Bronson ...
Rita Vale ...
Rex O'Malley ...
Rita Gam ...
John McKutcheon ...
Joe Conlin ...


Interesting, but sometimes slow film about a nuclear physicist working in Washington DC who also spies for some unnamed foreign country. It does have a rather funny, patriotic/propagandist ending. It's most interesting aspect is that it is filmed entirely without dialogue. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Only Motion Picture Of Its Kind! See more »


Crime | Film-Noir | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 October 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Thief  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Thief is one of the few films with synchronized sound to be made completely without spoken dialog. See more »


Martin Gabel's name is misspelled as "Martin Gable" in the closing credits. See more »

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User Reviews

29 July 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

This rather curious and open ended film was something that no major studio back then would have taken a chance on. It fell to Ray Milland and independent producer Harry Popkin to get this project finished and released by United Artists.

Without dialog other elements in the film have to carry the story along and two of them are there. The facial expressions of Ray Milland who is on screen for about 90% of the film are marvelous. The second is the Oscar nominated score from Herschel Burke Gilbert. But the third for silent films are those all important titles inserted where needed so you followed the story where the writer and director wanted to go.

Those titles might have explained Milland's motivations for what he was doing as a scientist who is doubling as a spy. Whatever they were the anguish on Milland's face told you this was not something he was doing willingly. As The Thief was made in 1952 at the height of the Cold War there were certain parameters in how the story had to end and they were followed.

Some things need no dialog however. Rita Gam made her film debut as a slinky and sexy woman in the next apartment. Those looks she gives to Milland and that sexy body language need no words.

The Thief is an interesting and somewhat entertaining film from Milland which while it doesn't succeed totally is still something to be checked out.

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