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Yolanda and the Thief (1945)

Approved | | Fantasy, Musical, Romance | 23 April 1946 (Sweden)
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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Vincente Minnelli

Writers:

Jacques Théry (story) (as Jacques Thery), Ludwig Bemelmans (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fred Astaire ... Johnny Parkson Riggs
Lucille Bremer ... Yolanda
Frank Morgan ... Victor Budlow Trout
Mildred Natwick ... Aunt Amarilla
Mary Nash ... Duenna
Leon Ames ... Mr. Candle
Ludwig Stössel ... School Teacher (as Ludwig Stossel)
Jane Green Jane Green ... Mother Superior
Remo Bufano Remo Bufano ... Puppeteer
Francis Pierlot Francis Pierlot ... Padre
Leon Belasco ... Taxi Driver
Gigi Perreau ... Gigi (as Ghislaine Perreau)
Charles La Torre Charles La Torre ... Police Lieutenant
Michael Visaroff ... Major Domo
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Storyline

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 <daneldorado@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

girl | love | angel | partner | money | See All (140) »

Taglines:

M.G.M.'s magic musical in Technicolor


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 April 1946 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

El ladrón y la bella See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,443,322 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the introduction by Robert Osborne on a TCM broadcast, Lucille Ball was going to play the Frank Morgan role of the fellow con-artist to Fred Astaire. See more »

Goofs

During Johnny Parkson Riggs first dance / dream sequence, after the coins fall from the sky, the shadow of the camera dolly is clearly visible. See more »

Quotes

Johnny Parkson Riggs: You didn't tell anybody I was your guardian angel, did you?
Yolanda Aquaviva: Not exactly. All I said was that you weren't a real man. My aunt doesn't believe me.
Yolanda Aquaviva: I'm glad of that. I'd rather it didn't get around.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Added Attractions: The Hollywood Shorts Story (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Will You Marry Me?
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Sung by Lucille Bremer (dubbed by Trudy Erwin)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
So much promise - so few rewards
16 August 2005 | by escheticSee all my reviews

It's impossible to hate any film with Fred Astaire, Frank Morgan and Mildred Natwick giving their considerable all, but it's awfully hard to like any film with such forgettable songs (out of Harry Warren's bottom drawer), forgettable dances inspired by them from choreographer Eugene Loring (except for the promising percussive *introduction* to an ultimately dreary number called "Coffee Time") and a script that never pays off on a single one of its satiric possibilities.

At it's best, the old "studio system" of production by second guessing and committee could produce masterpieces. At its muddled worst, it produced things like YOLANDA AND THE THIEF and blamed them on the cast. Coming at about the middle of Fred Astaire's long film career, and early in Lucille Bremer's four year one, it couldn't ultimately hurt Astaire who would be back on top in three years with EASTER PARADE (interesting that his brief "retirement" in response to this turkey is not remembered in the same way Bette Davis's similarly motivated walkout from another studio is for his being "difficult"), but it did nothing to promote Bremer's career despite what looked like acceptable dancing and at least minimal acting skills and a certain homogenized beauty.

Chief blame would appear to lie with Irving Brecher's script from Ludwig Bemelmans & Jacques Thery's nasty little fairy tale of a story. Trading on the worst stereotypes of the evils of a Convent education (not that a too sheltered education isn't a bad thing), Bremer's "Yolanda" is too naive to be believed and a victim looking for a crime. Only those ALMOST as naive in the audience will not recognize Leon Ames's "Mr. Candle" character immediately for what he turns out to be, and the simple (even expected) plot twists which could make his character and Mildred Natwick's "Aunt Amarilla" interesting are never forthcoming.

Only Natwick's self centered monologue when Bremer returns to her home from the convent rises above the rest of the script and is very funny - creating hopes for what follows that never pay off. The final scene of the film is so perfunctory you get the impression the studio told Minnelli to wrap up filming regardless of what was left to do - but fans of the British sci-fi sitcom "Red Dwarf" may be amused to note that the central gimmick of the scene (and the film's only moment of misdirection or real irony) was stolen years later as the basis for a Red Dwarf episode in its first season.

Among things which ARE of interest in the film: the man who went on to become the great Broadway dancer and choreographer, Matt Mattox, is buried somewhere in the innocuous mess as an unbilled "featured dancer." One wonders if the (uncredited) "Dilettante" played by an actor calling himself "Andre Charlot" is any relation to the great British producer who introduced Gertrude Lawrence and Beatrice Lillie to U.S. shores for the first time in the 1920's?


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