Yolanda and the Thief (1945)

108-109 mins | Romantic comedy, Fantasy, Musical | December 1945

Director:

Vincente Minnelli

Producer:

Arthur Freed

Cinematographer:

Charles Rosher

Editor:

George White

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Jack Martin Smith

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

HR news items in Jul 1943 indicate that M-G-M bought the film rights to Ludwig Bemelmans and Jacques Thery's short story for $23,000, and that lyricist and librettist E. Y. Harburg was originally set to produce the film. A Mar 1944 HR news item notes that Bemelmans worked on the screenplay. Bemelmans wrote several childrens books and short stories in the 1930s, and his most popular book, Madeline , was published in 1939.
       Contemporary news items in HR and M-G-M News provide the following information about the production: Lucille Ball was set for a leading role in Mar 1944 but was reassigned to a starring role in Early to Wed (see above) before production on the film began. Victor Moore was originally cast in the part played by Frank Morgan, and Hume Cronyn was originally set for the part played by Leon Ames. Puppeteer and actor Remo Bufano, who played a puppeteer in the film, created the marionette shot for the film's opening sequence.
       Modern sources provide the following information about the production: Writer Joseph Schrank wrote an early draft of the screenplay, which was based on a screen treatment written by Bemelmans and Thery. Schrank's screenplay was rejected by producer and lyricist Arthur Freed, and George Wells was assigned to write a new screenplay. Wells's screenplay was also rejected, and Robert Nathan was the next writer assigned to the film. The final draft of the screenplay was written by Irving Brecher, with help from Bemelmans. Brecher initially resisted the assignment but agreed to accept it when M-G-M promised him a four-year ... More Less

HR news items in Jul 1943 indicate that M-G-M bought the film rights to Ludwig Bemelmans and Jacques Thery's short story for $23,000, and that lyricist and librettist E. Y. Harburg was originally set to produce the film. A Mar 1944 HR news item notes that Bemelmans worked on the screenplay. Bemelmans wrote several childrens books and short stories in the 1930s, and his most popular book, Madeline , was published in 1939.
       Contemporary news items in HR and M-G-M News provide the following information about the production: Lucille Ball was set for a leading role in Mar 1944 but was reassigned to a starring role in Early to Wed (see above) before production on the film began. Victor Moore was originally cast in the part played by Frank Morgan, and Hume Cronyn was originally set for the part played by Leon Ames. Puppeteer and actor Remo Bufano, who played a puppeteer in the film, created the marionette shot for the film's opening sequence.
       Modern sources provide the following information about the production: Writer Joseph Schrank wrote an early draft of the screenplay, which was based on a screen treatment written by Bemelmans and Thery. Schrank's screenplay was rejected by producer and lyricist Arthur Freed, and George Wells was assigned to write a new screenplay. Wells's screenplay was also rejected, and Robert Nathan was the next writer assigned to the film. The final draft of the screenplay was written by Irving Brecher, with help from Bemelmans. Brecher initially resisted the assignment but agreed to accept it when M-G-M promised him a four-year contract at a salary of $2,000 a week. In collaboration with composer Harry Warren, Freed completed the score of Yolanda and the Thief in three weeks. The film was completed at a cost of nearly $2,500,000 and lost more than $1,500,000 in its initial release. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
13 Oct 1945.
---
Daily Variety
17 Oct 45
p. 3.
Film Daily
19 Oct 45
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 44
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 44
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Nov 44
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jan 45
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Apr 45
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 45
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Nov 45
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Nov 45
p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
20 Nov 1945.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Mar 45
p. 2354.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Oct 45
p. 2685.
New York Times
23 Nov 45
p. 26.
Variety
17 Oct 45
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Ghislaine Perreau
William Edwards
Saul Martell
Jean DeBriac
Pete Cusanelli
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Miss Bremer's gowns by
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec dir
Unit mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Mus mixer
Mus mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Matte paintings, cam
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Research dir
Asst research dir
Unit mgr
STAND INS
Singing voice double for Lucille Bremmer
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Assoc
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Yolanda and the Thief" by Ludwig Bemelmans and Jacques Thery in Town and Country (Jul 1943).
SONGS
"This is a Day for Love," "Angel," Will You Marry Me?," "Yolanda" and "Coffee Time," music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Arthur Freed.
DETAILS
Release Date:
December 1945
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 20 November 1945
New York opening: 22 November 1945
Production Date:
15 January--mid May 1945
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 November 1945
Copyright Number:
LP237
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
108-109
Length(in feet):
9,720
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In the country of Patria, heiress Yolanda Aquaviva is celebrating her birthday and last day at the convent where she grew up. The Mother Superior explains that since she comes of age that day, she must leave the sheltered world she knows and prepare to spread kindness throughout the "other" world, where she is worth about seventy-two million dollars. Yolanda takes the train to her estate in the idyllic town of Esperando, and on the same train are Johnny Parkson Riggs and Victor Budlow Trout, embezzlers on the run from the police. As soon as they discover that Yolanda is an heiress, Johnny hatches a plan to steal her money, though Victor warns him not to because she is too beautiful and he will fall in love. Once they reach town, Johnny follows Yolanda to her gigantic estate, where Yolanda's flighty aunt Amarilla hands over control of the grounds, overwhelming her. Johnny hides in the garden just as Yolanda comes out to pray for her guardian angel to help her find her way. Another man, Mr. Candle, also strolls by, though Yolanda does not see either of them. The next day, Johnny telephones Yolanda and pretends to be "Mr. Brown," her guardian angel. He arranges for her to meet him "in human form," and makes Yolanda agree to be perfectly obedient to him. When he meets her and sees how innocent she is, Johnny feels somewhat guilty, but that night he has a nightmare in which Yolanda entices him into marriage, and this vision strengthens his resolve to swindle her. The next day he visits her and convinces her to sign a paper granting him power of attorney, and ... +


In the country of Patria, heiress Yolanda Aquaviva is celebrating her birthday and last day at the convent where she grew up. The Mother Superior explains that since she comes of age that day, she must leave the sheltered world she knows and prepare to spread kindness throughout the "other" world, where she is worth about seventy-two million dollars. Yolanda takes the train to her estate in the idyllic town of Esperando, and on the same train are Johnny Parkson Riggs and Victor Budlow Trout, embezzlers on the run from the police. As soon as they discover that Yolanda is an heiress, Johnny hatches a plan to steal her money, though Victor warns him not to because she is too beautiful and he will fall in love. Once they reach town, Johnny follows Yolanda to her gigantic estate, where Yolanda's flighty aunt Amarilla hands over control of the grounds, overwhelming her. Johnny hides in the garden just as Yolanda comes out to pray for her guardian angel to help her find her way. Another man, Mr. Candle, also strolls by, though Yolanda does not see either of them. The next day, Johnny telephones Yolanda and pretends to be "Mr. Brown," her guardian angel. He arranges for her to meet him "in human form," and makes Yolanda agree to be perfectly obedient to him. When he meets her and sees how innocent she is, Johnny feels somewhat guilty, but that night he has a nightmare in which Yolanda entices him into marriage, and this vision strengthens his resolve to swindle her. The next day he visits her and convinces her to sign a paper granting him power of attorney, and to give him one million dollars in bonds. He throws the bag with the money out the window, hitting Victor on the head and knocking him out. Candle, who is walking by, takes the bag. In a nightclub soon after, Johnny and Victor see Candle walk by with the bag, and convince him to flip a coin for it. Johnny wins and gets the money but does not trust Candle, who indeed immediately tells Aunt Amarilla that Johnny has power of attorney over Yolanda. Aunt Amarilla assumes this means that the two are to be married, and though Yolanda is scared that her guardian angel might hear this rumor and abandon her, she realizes she does have feelings for him. Johnny and Victor try to leave town right away, but they are stopped by the police and escorted back to Aunt Amarilla's costume ball, where everyone stares at Johnny, assuming he is the future Mr. Aquaviva. When Yolanda finds Johnny and asks him about the hierarchy of angels, Candle overhears, and soon after Johnny leads her in a dance into the garden. He then sadly tells her has to leave, causing Yolanda to kiss him and run away. That night, he writes her a letter explaining everything, professing his love and returning her money. On the train out of town the next day, the police tell Johnny and Victor that as soon as they leave Esperando, they will be arrested. Just then, Candle appears next to them and reveals that he is the real guardian angel, and that he has arranged everything so that Johnny can marry Yolanda. At the wedding, Candle hands Johnny a photograph of Yolanda and him and four children, and though Candle disappears, Johnny promises Yolanda that he will guard and protect her now. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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