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Yolanda and the Thief (1945)

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 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

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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

Aunt Amarilla: You have the largest, most modern stables in the entire country. Do you like horses?
Yolanda Aquaviva: Oh yes, I do.
Aunt Amarilla: Fine, we must buy a horse.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Masters: Sidney Poitier: One Bright Light (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Coffee Time
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Sung by Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer (dubbed by Trudy Erwin)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Vincente Minnelli unbound in garish, one-of-a-kind musical phantasmagoria
20 May 2002 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

If Yolanda and the Thief isn't the damnedest thing ever committed to film, it's hard to say what is. Vincente Minnelli took a wisp of whimsey from Ludwig Bemelmans and turned it into this overblown fantasy musical that pushes the flap of the envelope wide open.

Most musicals – the best of them, anyway – grow out of show business lore and derive their pluck and sass from the raffish traditions of show-must-go-on troupers. But Yolanda and the Thief invents a Latin-American Ruritania (called Patria, or fatherland) out of stereotypes which verge on the offensive but stay simperingly coy. It's a kind of squeaky-clean utopia of the clueless Lost Horizon sort run by a benevolent family of oligarchs called the Aquavivas.

Their only daughter (Lucille Bremer), having reached her majority, leaves the convent school where she is allowed to wear full Hollywood makeup. The vast family fortune becomes hers to administer with the help of a dotty aunt (Mildred Natwick, and the best thing in the movie). Alas, the good sisters have not equipped her to cope with the wicked ways of the world, as personified by a couple of American con-artists (Fred Astaire and Frank Morgan) who arrange an introduction and plan to abscond with a sizeable chunk of her assets. Astaire poses as an angel for the impressionable girl, and almost gets away with it, except he – inevitably – falls for her. Plus, on the fringes of the action, a real angel operates....

Harmless enough piffle, but get a load of the musical numbers. Full-tilt phantasmagorias that look like Busby Berkeley on acid or crystal or absinthe, they get bigger and more grandiose and ever loonier, with colors so brash that sunglasses are in order (was this the first head movie?). The set and costume designers must have had field day, what with Minnelli extending them a carte blanche they certainly never had before and would never have again until the debut of the music video. But the songs stay resolutely uninspired, which takes the starch out of the dancing (even much of Astaire's). It's safe to say nobody strode out of the theaters in 1945 whistling snappy tunes from Yolanda and the Thief.

It's not exactly fun to watch but you can't take your eyes off it, either. A one-of-a-kind Technicolor extravaganza, it makes you wonder how – not to say why – it ever got made. Astaire's reputation must have taken a nosedive after its release, and as for Bremer? She makes you long for Ginger Rogers – even the very late Ginger Rogers.


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