4.9/10
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58 user 1 critic

A Thief in the Night (1972)

The story of Patty, a young woman caught up in living for the present with little concern for the future. She meets and marries a young man and her life seems great, until one moment she ... See full summary »

Director:

Donald W. Thompson

Writers:

Donald W. Thompson (story), Russell S. Doughten Jr. (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Patty Dunning Patty Dunning ... Patty Myers
Mike Niday Mike Niday ... Jim Wright
Colleen Niday Colleen Niday ... Jenny (as Coleen Niday)
Maryann Rachford Maryann Rachford ... Diane Bradford
Thom Rachford Thom Rachford ... Jerry Bradford (as Tom Rachford)
Duane Coller Duane Coller ... Duane
Russell S. Doughten Jr. Russell S. Doughten Jr. ... Reverend Matthew Turner
Clarence Balmer Clarence Balmer ... Pastor Balmer (the good minister)
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Storyline

The story of Patty, a young woman caught up in living for the present with little concern for the future. She meets and marries a young man and her life seems great, until one moment she awakens to find her husband gone and the radio reporting millions of people have mysteriously disappeared. As dramatic, earth shaking events begin to unfold around her, Patty realizes she is living in the end times spoken of in biblical prophecy. Adventure and suspense build to a though-provoking climax in this powerfully gripping film.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...and there will be no place to hide.

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

TV-PG

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 March 1973 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Carlisle, Iowa, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$60,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The tattoos used didn't wash off once the scene had wrapped up for the day. See more »

Goofs

The great announcement is at noon Eastern Time (11am Central Time) but Patty's clock (in Iowa, Central Time) shows noon. See more »

Quotes

Jenny: Sue, could you run next door and ask Mrs. Thompson if I could borrow a stick of butter?
Susan: Okay, but you be sure to be here when I get back.
Jenny: Don't worry, sweetie, if I'm gone, you'll be gone, too.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the movie, it says "THE END ...is near" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pastor Mike Online: Episode #1.83 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

I Wish We'd All Been Ready
Words and Music by Larry Norman
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User Reviews

The Second Most Embarrassing Film Ever Made
28 September 2002 | by nsouthern51See all my reviews

I'm truly embarrassed to admit that I suffered through this film four or five times, while growing up in a Baptist church and attending a WASPish Protestant elementary school. One of the most abhorrent motion pictures ever made (second only to Lamont Johnson's reprehensible "Lipstick" back in 1976), "A Thief in the Night" has -- sadly -- become a Bible belt staple -- one of the only "Evangelical Christian cult films." How wildly popular is it among conservative Christians? Let's put it this way: one could walk into any "film night" at a midwestern Baptist church during the eighties and nineties and catch this motion picture, nine times out of ten (until John Schmidt took over by making a series of contemporary Christian films that actually remain watchable to this day -- "The Wait of the World" (1989), etc.)

I fail to understand how anyone could even -sit through- "A Thief in the Night" (let alone heap unqualified praise onto the film). Not only are the production values, the direction, the 'performances,' the script, the music, and the editing ludicrous, but one can imagine the film feeling dated even back in 1972. (The characters seem to be walking around on another planet).

As other IMDB users imply in their critiques, it might be possible for a film of this nature to evolve into a secular cult item -- a joke, to be screened as a secular midnight movie and at 70's cinematic shlock fests, ala "Toomorrow," the mysterious and elusive "Darktown Strutters," and "BJ Lang Presents." Ahh, such is not the case. The "filmmakers" rendered this impossible by dampering "A Thief in the Night" with some of the sourest, most depressing dramatic overtones in movie history and ensuring that it can never (NEVER) be *enjoyed* as entertaining camp. From first frame to last, it remains repulsively gloomy, angry, and depressing. This, from a film about Christ's second coming -- a subject which should impart a message of hope, not of fear.

In short: nothing fun about this one, folks. It's a *miserable* experience, and it may even fall into the same category as "The Incredible Torture Show," about which, Danny Peary once wrote, "If any film deserves to be banned, this deserves strong consideration."

The worst sidelight of the film: the terrible light it continues to shed on conservative Christians, and on the Revelation of St. John per se. "Left Behind" (1999), starring Kirk Cameron and based on the bestselling book series (a film I have not seen), covers the same ground and is evidently far more watchable.


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