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Yolanda and the Thief

Yolanda and the Thief title card

Year - 1945
Studio - MGM
Stars - Fred Astaire, Lucille Bremer, Frank Morgan, Mildred Natwick, Leon Ames
Director - Vincent Minnelli
Writing Credits - Jacques Thery (story), Ludwig Bemelmans (story and screenplay), Irving Brecher (screenplay)
Music - Arthur Freed, Harry Warren


Yolanda (Lucille Bremer) is sheltered and raised in a convent before reaching the age to assume her role as the heiress of the wealthiest family in her country of Patria. Understanding that she is naive on the subject of financial matters, she prays in her garden for a guardian angel to guide her. Her prayer is overheard by a visiting American con man, Johnny Parkson Riggs (Fred Astaire), and he plots with his partner, Victor Budlow Trout (Frank Morgan), to steal her wealth. He introduces himself as her guardian angel as the answer to her prayers, and she is overjoyed.

Yolanda and the Thief poster

Johnny gets Yolanda to sign over Power of Attorney to him, and she gives him all of her stocks and bonds to manage for her. But the satchel containing those documents is stolen by a dapper gentleman, Mr. Candle (Leon Ames). Johnny and Victor confront him, and they agree to flip a coin for the satchel. Johnny wins the coin toss, and Mr. Candle amiably returns the satchel to them. But when they attempt to flee by taxi, the police arrive and take them back to the city.

Returning to the city, they learn that the police are actually an honor guard for them. Yolanda's ditsy Aunt Amarillo (Mildred Natwick) has assumed that Yolanda is in love with Johnny and that they plan to marry. Yolanda, still believing that Johnny is her guardian angel, is embarrassed by this, and understands when he tells her he must leave, having helped her. But, before leaving, he writes her a letter, confessing his deceptions.

Johnny and Victor again depart, this time on a train. But the police, having been alerted by Aunt Amarillo, board the train and advise them that they will be arrested at the next station. But Mr. Candle appears and tells them that he has caused a bridge to fall and that the train will reverse direction, back to Patria. Johnny realizes that Mr. Candle is genuinely Yolanda's guardian angel. He and Yolanda marry and, at the reception, Mr. Candle gives them a photograph before he vanishes. They see that it is dated five years in the future and pictures the couple with a large family of children.

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Yolanda and the Thief was suggested for this site by Karine Philippot.