A suave art thief romances a wealthy duchess, only to enable him to steal a priceless painting from her collection. Complications ensue.




Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A man shows up at Kimberley Prescott's villa claiming to be her brother. But Ward Prescott died in a car accident a year ago, so how can this man be him? Despite Kim's protests that the ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Anderson
Stars: Richard Todd, Anne Baxter, Herbert Lom
Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A waitress at the Warner Bros. commissary is anxious to break into pictures. She thinks her big break may have arrived when actors Jack Carson and Dennis Morgan agree to help her.

Director: David Butler
Stars: Doris Day, Dennis Morgan, Jack Carson
Dreamboat (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Thornton Sayre, a respected college professor, is plagued when his old movies are shown on TV and sets out with his daughter to stop it. However, his former co-star is the hostess of the TV show playing his films and she has other plans.

Director: Claude Binyon
Stars: Clifton Webb, Ginger Rogers, Anne Francis
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

When half a million dollars disappears from a doctor office's safe, the cops assigned to the burglary case, Joe and Pete, decide to find the money and keep it for themselves.

Director: Burt Kennedy
Stars: Glenn Ford, Elke Sommer, Rita Hayworth
Down to Earth (1947)
Comedy | Fantasy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Upset about a new Broadway musical's mockery of Greek mythology, the goddess Terpsichore comes down to earth and lands a part in the show. She works her charms on the show's producer and he... See full summary »

Director: Alexander Hall
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Larry Parks, Marc Platt
The Defector (1966)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Montgomery Cliff (in his last role) plays James Bower, an American physicist visiting West Germany who's recruited by a shady CIA agent, named Adam, to help them with the defection of a ... See full summary »

Director: Raoul Lévy
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Hardy Krüger, Macha Méril
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

To avoid scandal, a rising scientist scrambles to retrieve an inscribed garter from an old flame on the eve of her wedding.

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Marie McDonald, Barry Sullivan
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

After an enigmatic, self-described pathologist rents the attic room of a Victorian house, his landlady begins to suspect her lodger is Jack the Ripper.

Director: Hugo Fregonese
Stars: Jack Palance, Constance Smith, Byron Palmer
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Set in the 1920s, several foreigners held by a South American military group are offered possible freedom if they accept to topple a local crazed military leader.

Director: Ralph Nelson
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Frank Langella, Rita Hayworth
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A Butler (Powell) gets elected to the Hungarian parliament where he opposes his master's government.

Director: Walter Lang
Stars: William Powell, Annabella, Helen Westley
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When Jo Morris' marriage turned sour and heartless, she found sympathy and companionship with widower Larry Ellis. After Jo's husband is accidentally killed in a struggle over a gun with ... See full summary »

Director: Clifford Odets
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Anthony Franciosa, Gig Young
The Naked Zoo (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
Director: William Grefe
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Steve Oliver, Fay Spain


Complete credited cast:
Eve Lewis
Jimmy Bourne
Jean Marie Calbert
Duchess Blanca
Dr. Victor Muñoz
Virgilio Teixeira ...
Cayetano the Bullfighter
Peter Illing ...
Mr. Pickett the Art Expert
Mrs. Pickett (as Britta Ekman)
Spanish Police Inspector
Gérard Tichy ...
Antonio, Prado Museum Guard


A suave art thief romances a wealthy duchess, only to enable him to steal a priceless painting from her collection. Complications ensue.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Rita and Rex Steal The Picture! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Crime


See all certifications »




Release Date:

January 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los alegres ladrones  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

See  »

Did You Know?


This was adapted from Richard Condon's first novel, "The Oldest Confession", which is, especially in its later stages, considerably more serious in tone than this light-hearted caper movie. Condon hated the film and made no secret of the fact. It was a big box-office flop. See more »


Jimmy Bourne: [as Eve grabs a drink from a tray and tosses it back] But Eve, that's a *martini*.
Eve Lewis: It *was* a martini.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

of mild interest
21 December 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Happy Thieves" from 1961 is about art thieves Jimmy and Eve (Rex Harrison and Rita Hayworth) who steal a painting from a museum. A painting belonging to Duchess Blanca (Alida Valli) is stolen from a castle in Spain by the two thieves, but then it's stolen from them by the Duchess' cousin.

Eve wants to call it quits, but the thief, one Dr. Munoz (Gregoire Aslan) blackmails the couple and wants a piece of art from the Prado museum. They have a duplicate made by Jean Marie Calbert (Joseph Wiseman), planning to switch the paintings during a farewell bullfight for the duchess' fiancée, a matador.

A few things could have helped this film. One was a color production. It is Europe and does deal with art, after all. The second thing that would have helped was a more exciting actor as Jimmy. Rex Harrison was a marvelous actor but somehow wrong for this role, not dashing, charismatic, or romantic enough. The last thing that would have helped is a faster pace.

"The Happy Thieves" was based on a book by Richard Condon and directed by George Marshall, both very accomplished, but this isn't the best representation of either one. Hayworth, in her forties here is beautiful, graceful and does a good job. The film was produced by her last husband, and she later pronounced it "rubbish." It moves fairly slowly, but the painting-switching scene is very good. Not awful, not great. Seeing Rita Hayworth is always worthwhile.

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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
VHS/DVD release? gordon_1984
How does this movie end? dogsandcats5
Who Performed the Title Tune? nleibo
Discuss The Happy Thieves (1961) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: