The Challenge (1960 film)

The Challenge, released as It Takes a Thief in the United States, is a 1960 British neo noir crime film directed by John Gilling and starring Jayne Mansfield and Anthony Quayle.[1]

The Challenge
Directed byJohn Gilling
Produced byJohn Temple-Smith
Written byJohn Gilling
StarringJayne Mansfield and Anthony Quayle
Music byBill McGuffie
CinematographyGordon Dines
Edited byAlan Osbiston and John Victor-Smith
Distributed byJ. Arthur Rank Film Distributors (UK)
Release date
17 May 1960 (London) (UK)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The film was shot in England from 12 October[2] to around December 1959. Mansfield flew back to America on the 16th, after she finished filming.[3]


Mansfield plays Billy, the ruthless gang leader who persuades Maxton to take part in a big robbery. Maxton is shopped and convicted of robbery. Maxton serves his time, returns home to his son. The gang want the money which he buried but Maxton wants nothing more to do with it or them. The gang then kidnap Maxton's son and demand the money as ransom. There follows a race against time to save Maxton's son. At the end of the film, a policeman tells Maxton that the stolen money had been found 3 years previously.[4]


Critical reception

  • TV Guide wrote, "most of the actors, with the exception of Quayle, are pretty stiff, and the story is hardly inspired."[4]
  • Sky Movies noted, "filled with such familiar leading men of British 'B' features as Peter Reynolds, Edward Judd, Dermot Walsh and Patrick Holt. Some of the best moments, though, are provided by Hollywood's Jayne Mansfield as the criminal mastermind, demure in black wig and horn-rimmed glasses as she does her 'firm's' books by day, but slinking around in sequins by night with a smile and a song."[5]


  1. "The Challenge | BFI | BFI". Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  2. Weekly Variety Magazine; 4 November, 1959 issue; Page 17
  3. Daily Variety Magazine; 18 December, 1959 issue; Page 2
  4. "It Takes A Thief Review". Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  5. "The Challenge - Sky Movies HD". 14 May 2003. Retrieved 11 April 2014.

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