IMDb > It Takes a Thief (1960)

It Takes a Thief (1960) More at IMDbPro »The Challenge (original title)

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Down 18% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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Release Date:
February 1961 (USA) See more »
Billie and Kristy lead a gang of armed robbers who steal from banks, armoured cars, and the like. When Billie's lover... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
With a few changes, this film could have been pretty good. See more (7 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Jayne Mansfield ... Billy

Anthony Quayle ... Jim
Carl Möhner ... Kristy
Peter Reynolds ... Buddy
Barbara Mullen ... Ma Piper

Robert Brown ... Bob Crowther
Dermot Walsh ... Detective Sergeant Willis
Patrick Holt ... Max
Edward Judd ... Detective Sergeant Gittens
John Bennett ... Spider
Lorraine Clewes ... Mrs. Rick

Percy Herbert ... Shop Steward
John Stratton ... Rick
Liane Marelli ... Striptease Artiste
Bill McGuffie ... Nightclub Pianist
Peter Pike ... Joey
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Victor Brooks ... Foreman
Arthur Brough ... Landlord
David Davenport ... Policeman
Lloyd Lamble ... Dr. Westerly
Wally Patch ... Ticket Collector
Bryan Pringle ... Sergeant
Marigold Russell ... Hostess
Richard Shaw ... Lorry Driver
Bill Shine ... Farm Laborer

John Wood ... School Inspector
Pauline Chamberlain ... Cigarette Girl in Club (uncredited)
Victor Harrington ... Harlequin Club Patron (uncredited)
Jim O'Brady ... Man in Pub (uncredited)
Guy Standeven ... Harlequin Club Patron (uncredited)

Directed by
John Gilling 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
John Gilling 

Produced by
John Temple-Smith .... producer
Original Music by
Bill McGuffie  (as William McGuffie)
Cinematography by
Gordon Dines 
Film Editing by
Alan Osbiston 
John Victor-Smith 
Casting by
James Liggat  (as James Liggatt)
Art Direction by
Jim Morahan 
Thomas N. Morahan  (as Tom Morahan)
Makeup Department
Stuart Freeborn .... makeup artist
Frieda Steiger .... hair stylist
Production Management
John Pellatt .... production supervisor
Sound Department
Dave Goghan .... sound
Norman Savage .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Dudley Lovell .... camera operator
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Jean Fairlie .... wardrobe mistress
Editorial Department
John Crome .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Bill McGuffie .... conductor (as William McGuffie)
Joan Small .... singing voice: Jayne Mansfield (uncredited)
Other crew
Helen Whitson .... continuity

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Challenge" - UK (original title)
See more »
USA:101 min
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Did You Know?

Peter Pike receives an "introducing" credit.See more »
The Challenge of LoveSee more »


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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
With a few changes, this film could have been pretty good., 4 February 2014
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida

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.

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