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The Happy Thieves

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Happy Thieves
Poster of the movie The Happy Thieves.jpg
Directed byGeorge Marshall
Written byJohn Gay
Based onThe Oldest Confession
by Richard Condon
StarringRita Hayworth
Rex Harrison
Joseph Wiseman
CinematographyPaul Beeson
Edited byOswald Hafenrichter
Music byMario Nascimbene
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
December 20, 1961 (Chicago, Illinois)[1]
January 1962 (nationwide)
Running time
88 mins.
CountryUnited States

The Happy Thieves is a 1961 American crime/comedy-drama film starring Rex Harrison and Rita Hayworth, and directed by George Marshall. The film is based on the novel The Oldest Confession by Richard Condon. The film was poorly received, with star Harrison later describing it as "absolute rubbish".


A valuable painting belonging to Duchess Blanca (Alida Valli) is stolen at night from her castle in Spain by one of her houseguests, Jimmy Bourne (Rex Harrison), who replaces the original work with a duplicate. The debonair gentleman thief then passes the painting to his partner in crime, Eve Lewis (Rita Hayworth). However, the artwork is subsequently stolen from them by a man acting on behalf of Dr. Victor Muñoz (Grégoire Aslan), the cousin of the duchess.

Eve wants to go straight, but Victor blackmails her and Jim, demanding that they steal a renowned painting (The Second of May 1808) by Francisco de Goya from the Prado Museum in Madrid. An exact copy of the painting is created by artist Jean Marie Calbert (Joseph Wiseman), and a switch is planned to take place during the farewell bullfight of a famous matador, Cayetano (Virgilio Teixeira), whom the duchess intends to wed.

During the bullfight, Victor secretly shoots Cayetano in order to create a diversion that will assist the art theft. News of the matador's death spreads quickly across the city and distracts the guards at the Prado Museum, allowing Jim and Jean to begin switching the two large paintings. Jean suddenly leaves the room before they are finished, but Eve arrives in time to help Jim complete the switch before the guards return.

Later, Jean turns up and goes with Jim to the house of Victor, where they find him dead. They are then framed for this murder by the duchess, who had killed Victor to avenge the death of Cayetano. Using the stolen Goya painting as a bargaining chip, Jim negotiates with the authorities, and he secures freedom for Jean and a reduced prison sentence for himself. Eve vows to wait for him.


Production notes

The film was produced by Hayworth's production company, Hillworth Productions A.G., and distributed by United Artists. The film's executive producer was Hayworth's then-husband, James Hill.[1]


During a test bullfight, a melody based on "Gernikako Arbola" can be heard.

See also


  1. ^ a b Munden, Kenneth White, ed. (1997). The American Film Institute Catalog: Of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films, 1921–1930, Part 1. University of California Press. p. 453. ISBN 0-520-20969-9.

External links

This page was last edited on 14 April 2021, at 21:49
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