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It Takes a Thief (1960)
"The Challenge" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  February 1961 (USA)
Your rating:
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 145 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 2 critic

Billie and Kristy lead a gang of armed robbers who steal from banks, armoured cars, and the like. When Billie's lover, Jim, gets caught by the police after stashing a large amount of money,... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Carl Möhner ...
Peter Reynolds ...
Barbara Mullen ...
Ma Piper
Bob Crowther
Dermot Walsh ...
Detective Sergeant Willis
Patrick Holt ...
Edward Judd ...
Detective Sergeant Gittens
John Bennett ...
Lorraine Clewes ...
Mrs. Rick
Shop Steward
John Stratton ...
Liane Marelli ...
Striptease Artiste
Bill McGuffie ...
Nightclub Pianist


Billie and Kristy lead a gang of armed robbers who steal from banks, armoured cars, and the like. When Billie's lover, Jim, gets caught by the police after stashing a large amount of money, they wait for him to get out of jail. He does and has to deal with both the police and his ex-gang as they both need him to get what they want. Things become more complicated when Kristy kidnaps Jim's son and threatens to kill him if Jim doesn't come up with the buried loot. Written by Josh Pasnak <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

February 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

It Takes a Thief  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)
See  »

Did You Know?


British singer Joan Small provided Jayne Mansfield's singing voice. See more »


The Challenge of Love
Music by Bill McGuffie
Lyrics by Robert Halfin
Performed by Joan Small
Jayne Mansfield singing voice
See more »

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User Reviews

With a few changes, this film could have been pretty good.
4 February 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

The setup for "It Takes A Thief" really doesn't make a lot of sense--and that is a huge problem. It begins with Jim (Anthony Quayle) falling for Billy (Jayne Mansfield). He doesn't realize that Billy is a cold and calculating sort--and she is setting him up. She convinces him to join in on a heist and he agrees. Now here is the part that makes no sense at all--Jim is responsible for hiding the money and then someone in the gang lets the cops know he was in on the crime and he's sent to prison. Why turn Jim in to the police? Jim would either return the money to the authorities OR he'd sit on it until after he's out of prison--and that could be years. It simply makes little sense. And for some time you aren't sure if Billy did this or perhaps Kristy--the brooding gang member who appears to have an extremely close relationship with Billy.

Regardless, several years pass and Jim has now done his time--and the money is still hidden. He has no intention of returning to his life of crime--even though the old gang is pressuring him to do so because they want the loot. When he refuses to cooperate with them, the gang turns up the pressure by kidnapping Jim's son. At the same time, the police are keeping an eye on Jim because they, too, want the money as well. With all this pressure on him, what is he to do?

Aside from a main plot idea that makes little sense, "It Takes a Thief" has several other things working against it. The big one is the odd casting of Mansfield considering the film is set in England. Plus, the pairing of the distinguished actor, Anthony Quayle with Jayne Mansfield is just plain weird. Finally, the DVD print is pretty bad--making the viewing experience less than stellar. It's really sad because apart from the weird casting strange plot about Jim being turned it, it's a very good noir sort of film. The film has a lot of tension and the scenes involving the search for the kid late in the film were awfully good.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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