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A Touch of Larceny (1960)

Not Rated | | Comedy | 8 July 1960 (West Germany)
British Commander Max Easton fakes his defection to the Soviets in order to sue the slandering newspapers for the money he needs to woo a fancy American woman.


Guy Hamilton


Paul Winterton (novel) (as Andrew Garve), Roger MacDougall (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Mason ... Cmdr. Max Easton
George Sanders ... Sir Charles Holland
Vera Miles ... Virginia Killain
Oliver Johnston ... Minister
Robert Flemyng ... Cmdr. John Larkin
William Kendall ... Tom
Duncan Lamont ... 1st Special Branch man Gregson
Harry Andrews ... Capt. Graham
Peter Barkworth ... Sub Lt. Brown
Rachel Gurney ... Clara Holland
Martin Stephens ... John Holland
Waveney Lee Waveney Lee ... Marcia Holland
Charles Carson ... Robert Holland
Junia Crawford Junia Crawford ... Susan
Henry B. Longhurst Henry B. Longhurst ... Club Member (as Henry Longhurst)


Philandering Commander Max Easton, now desk-bound and under-worked in the Admiralty, finds he suddenly needs to make some money when he falls for American Virginia Killain. When he hatches a plot to disappear in circumstances that suggest he has defected and then return to sue the papers, Virginia doesn't take much notice - at least at first. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Meet the man with the hilarious plan to hoax the whole world out of a cool million...and coax a one-in-a-million girl into his arms! See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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English | Russian

Release Date:

8 July 1960 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Hochverrat mit Hindernissen See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The working title for this film was suggested by James Mason himself. He thought of the title "A Touch of Larceny", as stated in his autobiography, "Before I Forget". See more »


When Max picks up Virginia for their luncheon date, she tries to put a scarf on her head to keep her hair from blowing around in the wind caused by riding in Max's convertible sports car. However, when Max brings his car to a sudden stop, the wind continues. See more »


Sir Charles Holland: I suppose somebody reads this stuff, otherwise they wouldn't bother to write it. You know, I believe that these days, people are intelligent in direct proportion to what they disbelieve in the newspapers.
See more »


The Nearness of You
Written by Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington
Sung by Jimmy Lloyd
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User Reviews

Lighthearted but well well done, acting and directing both...a fun one!
19 September 2012 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

A Touch of Larceny (1959)

Oh, it would be easy to brush off this film as a trifle. But it's so nicely constructed, so perfectly acted in a very cinematic and restrained British manner, and the plot is a joy, you really should give this a chance. And it gets only better as it goes.

The ploy here is two-fold. First there is the love affair that might or might not happen. James Mason in the lead has taken a liking to Vera Miles as the desirable but rather strong and disinterested female. Mostly. Then there is the political intrigue, much more lighthearted than a Hitchcock mixture of romance and intrigue, but giving an edge of suspense, or at least surprise, to the results. The third character in what is never quite a love triangle is the inimitable George Sanders who, like the rest of the cast, is very Old School. In fact, the American woman and the rather charming international Brit in the form of Mason are the two exceptions to the feel of the acting and the accents.

You do get a sense that some of these old sorts are being made fun of, but only in a loving and appreciative way. The war, meaning (for Britain) WWII, is now 14 years past, and these military types are hanging on to a foggy past keeping their chairs warm and rather enjoying an easy ride on the government's paycheck. We are, after all, about to enter the 1960s, and we all know how dated this world will seem once Love Love Me Do rolls over the AM radios of England.

So, a glimpse of a time, and a clever and fun and truly lightweight story, too. But well done enough to pull you in. You'll be rooting for someone or other by the end. And expect a twist, whether or not you get one.

By the way, the director, Guy Hamilton, is thoroughly British in his feel for films and humor (though born in France of British parents), and he went on to greater fame doing four James Bond movies (including "Goldfinger") and several others that have had some respect beyond their pop culture roots. It shows here. "A Touch of Larceny" could have been a painful flop, but it has the touch of three great actors and an up and coming big name director.

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