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The Happy Thieves - comedy DVD / crime DVD / action and adventure DVD / mystery and suspense DVD review
THE HAPPY THIEVES Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 2 1/2 stars
Featuring: Rita Hayworth, Rex Harrison, George Wiseman, Alida Valli, Grégoire Aslan
Director: George Marshall   Studio: MGM
DVD release: 18 April 2011   Runtime: 88 minutes
(1 disc)
Format: Black and white, NTSC, Widescreen, DVD-R

DVD features: Aspect ratio 1.66:1, Audio (English - Mono)

*The Happy Thieves* on DVDJim Bourne (Rex Harrison), Eve Lewis (Rita Hayworth) and Jean Marie Calbert (Joseph Wiseman) are the "happy" thieves. They aren't particularly happy, though. Indeed, when their first caper goes awry and their victim has blackmail leverage on the trio, they are positively miserable. But "The Miserable Thieves" wouldn't make a very good title, so everybody paste a smile on and pretend you're having a good time.

Rex and Rita certainly are having a good time as, respectively, the master thief and his hottie getaway driver. Wiseman just looks put upon and overworked as the forger who, unbelievably, creates master forgeries of three really big and well-known paintings in three days. Those master forgers ought to move to Wisconsin and form a union.

The plot of this caper flick is wacky, like one of those football plays involving a couple lateral passes and a long hail mary. Jean Marie forges a painting, Bourne breaks into the rich's man house and does the switch while Eve waits nearby in the speedy car. Away to the train station, where Eve waltzes through customs with the loot rolled up like a carpet. The plan is simply to deliver the stolen canvas to the client who hired the job and call it a day. But wait -- Eve, you ditz, you mislaid the canvas? How can that be?

It can be because the alleged victim of the theft is really a bit of a mastermind himself. Now that he has evidence of their theft, he has the trio in the palm of his hand and get them to do his bidding. He bids them to steal him a painting from a museum in Spain.

Not an unfamiliar story and, really, this 1961 production doesn't have a lot to recommend it other than Harrison and Hayworth doing their thing so ably. The thin plot coupled with the slack writing and the laissez-faire photography (that is, there is little interference from the photographer who choses instead to point the camera and hope for the best) and lackluster lighting make The Happy Thieves a fairly dull picture.
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reviewed by Brian Charles Clark
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