Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Feb. 27, 2016, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movie has been the 1945 MGM picture “Yolanda and the Thief,” starring Fred Astaire, Lucille Bremer, Frank Morgan, Mildred Natwick, Mary Nash, Leon Ames and Ludwig Stossel. The screenplay was by Irvin Brecher based on a story by Jacques Thery and Ludwig Bemelmans (the author of the Madeline books), with songs by Arthur Freed and Harry Warren and choreography by Eugene Loring.    The picture was photographed in Technicolor by Charles Rosher, produced by Arthur Freed and directed by  Vincente Minnelli.

“Yolanda and the Thief” springs from the fad during World War II for movies with a Latin American atmosphere. It was based on a story by Bemelmans published in Town and Country in 1943, according to Emanuel Levy’s biography of Minnelli. Listing E.Y. Harburg as the producer, the Los Angeles Times (July 26, 1943) explained that “MGM entered the fray [in making Latin American pictures] with a planned musical that promises the height of novelty” with a plot was a fantasy based on Latin American sources. Early casting for the film included Victor Moore in the role ultimately taken by Frank Morgan as Fred Astaire’s slightly disreputable sidekick and Lucille Ball co-starring with Lucille Bremer in an unspecified role. Hume Cronin was also mentioned for a part in the film.

“Yolanda” is available on DVD from Warner Archive for $16.59.

In Los Angeles, the film opened at the Los Angeles, Egyptian and Fox Ritz theaters in November 1945 and was reviewed by The Times’ Edwin Schallert (Nov. 21, 1945), who noted the lavish production values and flimsy plot. “Not for realists,” Schallert said, adding: “It is a question too whether this picture has the basic material to satisfy the general audience, although in texture and trimmings it might almost be termed an event.”

Bosley Crowther of the New York Times (Nov. 23, 1945) said: “Fetched from a mischievous fable by Jacques Thery and Ludwig Bemelmans, and mounted with charm and magnificence by Vincente Minnelli and Arthur Freed, it is a pleasing compound of sparkling mummery and glistening allures for eye and ear, hampered throughout by a flat script which doesn’t match the visual elegance with wit.”

I have to say that “Yolanda” was major a disappointment. Since I left The Times, I have tried to select the mystery movies with more care, featuring a film that hasn’t been released on DVD or has been overlooked in some respect.  A couple of friends were discussing the brief movie career of Lucille Bremer and I thought she might make a good mystery guest. A search of the Daily Mirror film vault revealed only two of her pictures, “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “As the Clouds Roll By,” so I checked the local video store and found “Yolanda.”

Truth be told, nothing could save this very weak movie, which is sometimes described as the first production of MGM’s Freed unit to lose money. Irving Brecher’s script is dreadful and the concept might have been a charming story, but  a movie it does not make. Bremer is a lovely woman, but terribly weak as a leading lady and the reason for the brevity of her Hollywood career is no mystery.

As I noted earlier in the week, I had quite a bit of trouble finding images from this film that don’t turn up in Google’s image search. A few years ago, I didn’t have to worry about Google’s image search spoiling the mystery photos, but it has become a major concern and these days, every image has to be vetted to make sure it isn’t online. On some days, I had to reject five or six otherwise usable photos because of Google, which raises the prospect of whether a day will come when all images except for the most obscure are identified online.

Behind the scenes, Earl Boebert and I have had an interesting exchange on trying to outsmart Google – and for now it can be done by clever cropping or flopping an image. But I suspect Google will eventually get wise to those tricks as well. I may be the only person on the Internet who wants to keep things off Google.

Feb. 22, 2016, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery gent with a serious mustache.

Update: This is Marek Windheim.


Feb. 23, 2016, Mystery Photo



For Tuesday, we have a mystery woman.

Update: Yes  Mildred Natwick – again.
Feb. 24, 2016, Mystery Photo
Update: This is Jane Green.

In case you are wondering about Tuesday’s mystery woman, let me explain. This lady was supposed to be Tuesday’s mystery woman – but it was virtually impossible to find a photo of her that didn’t pop up on Google images. In fact, it seems that virtually all the decent images from this mystery movie are online  somewhere.  I grabbed Tuesday’s mystery woman in desperation, and yes, she is a repeat. My apologies.

As an aside, though, I must say that it is increasingly difficult to find usable images that aren’t already online. Crowd shots, of course, are unusable, so I’m confined to close-ups, and two- and three-shots. Digital recognition of human faces is apparently just part of the age in which we live, which makes mystery photos more and more difficult. To find this photo, I had to go through and discard five otherwise good pictures because they were on Google images. Very frustrating.

Brain Trust roll call: Sheila (Tuesday’s mystery guest), Mary Mallory (Tuesday’s mystery guest), David Inman (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guest), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and mystery guests), Benito (Tuesday’s mystery guest), Candy Cassell (Tuesday’s mystery guest), Don Danard (Tuesday’s mystery guest), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and mystery guests), Jenny M (Tuesday’s mystery guest), Pat in Michigan (Tuesday’s mystery guest), Dewey Webb (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guest), Floyd Thursby (Tuesday’s mystery woman/wrong movie), Anne Papineau (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guest), Megan, Lee Ann and Thom (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guest), Pat van Hartesveldt (Tuesday’s mystery guest), Roget-L.A. (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guest), Gary Martin (Tuesday’s mystery woman, wrong movie), LC (mystery movie and mystery cast), Sarah (Tuesday’s mystery guest) and Bob Hansen.

Feb. 24, 2016, Mystery Photo

For Thursday, we have a mystery woman who is apparently uncomfortable about the water outlets in her sumptuous tub.

Update: Lucille Bremer.

Brain Trust roll call: Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery woman), Barbara Klein (Tuesday’s mystery woman/wrong movie), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery woman), Patrick (mystery movie and mystery guests), Richard Wegescheide (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery woman), Sarah (mystery movie), Roget-L.A. (Wednesday’s mystery woman), Bob Hansen (mystery movie and mystery stars) and Dan Nather (mystery movie).


Feb. 26, 2016, Mystery Photo

And for Friday, we have a mysterious woman and a rather puzzled mystery gent.

Update: Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer.

Brain Trust roll call: Dan Nather (Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guest), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guest), Jenny M (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guest), Roget-L.A. (Thursday’s mystery guest), Don Danard (Thursday’s mystery guest), Anne Papineau (Thursday’s mystery guest), Lee Ann, Megan and Thom (Thursday’s mystery guest), Barbara Klein (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guest) and Mary Mallory (mystery movie, wrong mystery guest).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Mary Mallory says:



  2. Jenny M says:

    Steven Geray


  3. Charles Kjelland says:

    Jerry Colonna would be too easy!


  4. Diane Ely says:

    Don’t know the gent nor the movie, but it looks like this scene takes place on one of those gilded age “palace cars”.


  5. Sheila says:

    Mildred Natwick for Tuesday.


  6. David Inman says:

    For today it’s the return of Mildred Natwick! The movie is “Yolanda and the Thief.”


  7. Mike Hawks says:

    Marek Windheim and Mildred Natwick in YOLANDA AND THE THIEF.


  8. Benito says:

    Mildred Natwick again?


  9. beachgal says:

    Tues looks a lot like it could be Hermione Gingold, but I fear it’s not – she made few films and cannot think what this would be if it is her.


  10. Candy Cassell says:

    Isn´t today´s lady the marvelous Mildred Natwick displaying all those lovely gems? (But we had her just a couple of weeks ago, much earlier in her career, in ¨The Enchanted Cottage,¨ and it seems too early to see her again. So I will hedge my bets with a guess of Beatrice Lillie in ¨Around the World in Eighty Days,¨ even though Miss Lillie was a more petite lady.)


  11. Don Danard says:

    Today’s Lady is Mildred Natwick.


  12. Howard Mandelbaum says:


    Monday: Marek Windheim Tuesday: Mildred Natwick

    On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 10:27 AM, wrote:

    > lmharnisch posted: ” For Monday, we have a mystery gent with a serious > mustache.” >


  13. Jenny M says:

    Mildred Natwick


  14. Pat in Michigan says:

    For Tuesday, we have Mildred Natwick again.


  15. Dewey Webb says:

    Mildred (her again?) Natwick in YOLANDA AND THE THIEF


  16. I don’t want you to think I’m obsessed with this lady but Tuesday does have a look of Una O’Connor.


  17. Floyd Thursby says:

    Mildred Natwick in “The Kissing Bandit” for Tuesday.


  18. Anne Papineau says:

    Might that be Mildred Natwick (again!) in “Yolanda and the Thief?”


  19. Megan, Lee Ann and Thom says:

    Tuesday is Mildred Natwick, in what looks like Yolanda and the Thief.


  20. Pat van Hartesveldt says:

    Tuesday: Mildred Natwick?


  21. Rogét-L.A. says:

    Tuesday: Mildred Natwick, again. Mystery Movie: Yolanda and the Thief (1945)?


  22. Gary Martin says:

    I’m just in the house from two months in Oaxaca so I might be a little rusty. But isn’t this Mildred Natwick in The Court Jester?


  23. LC says:

    Yolanda and the Thief (1945) w/Mildred Natwick (didn’t we just have her?), Fred Astaire, Lucille Bremer, Frank Morgan….


  24. Sarah says:

    Mildred Natwick!


  25. Bob Hansen says:

    Mildred Natwick again on Tuesday!


  26. Mike Hawks says:

    Jane Green for wednesday.


  27. Barbara Klein says:

    Perhaps “Cheaper by the Dozen” with Mildred Natwick and Evelyn Varden


  28. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Jane Green


  29. Patrick says:

    Ed Agresti, Mildred Natwick and Jane Green in Yolanda and the Thief from 1945.


  30. Richard Wegescheide says:

    I am going to guess Yolanda and the Thief, with another Mildred Natwick Tuesday.


  31. Candy Cassell says:

    Larry, I never even knew that one could click on an online image and have information identifying it pop up until you explained it, and made us all swear not to use it in order to ¨guess.¨ But then I am old school and stuck somewhere in the 1990s as far as technology. I can imagine how frustrating finding images for us must be. Thank you for putting in the effort.


    • lmharnisch says:

      Yes, once you learn how to do a reverse image search on Google it’s quite easy. There is another site — — which does the same thing but isn’t quite as extensive. Facial recognition software is really amazing. A few months ago, I took a photo of several people and uploaded it to Facebook, which automatically “recognized” the people in the picture and tagged them.


  32. Sarah says:

    It’s “Yolanda and the Thief” (1945).


  33. Rogét-L.A. says:

    Wednesday: Jane Green as Mother Superior?


  34. Bob Hansen says:

    I don’t know Wednesday’s actress, but the movie is starting to look like Yolanda and the Thief. The stars would be Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer. I hope that’s right! I love your mystery photos so I hope the problem with Google images doesn’t bring it to an end.


  35. Dan Nather says:

    Larry, this is such a pleasant pastime for me that I don’t want to spoil it with the new technology and rely only on what I personally recognize. I guess it’s a matter of pride in what I’ve learned just by watching thousands of movies over the last half-century. That said, is the movie YOLANDA AND THE THIEF?


  36. Dan Nather says:

    Okay, now I can guess further — I think Tuesday’s lady is Mildred Natwick, Wednesday is Jane Green, and now today is the leading lady, Lucille Bremer.


  37. Mike Hawks says:

    Lucile Bremer gets the ultimate MGM bath.


  38. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Lucille Bremer


  39. Jenny M says:

    Lucille Bremer in Yolanda and the Thief.


  40. Rogét-L.A. says:

    Thursday: Lucille Bremer


  41. Don Danard says:

    The lady in the tub is Lucille Bremer. Sure looks like her. Of course, I’ve never seen her in a tub in person so hopefully I’m correct.


  42. Anne Papineau says:

    On Thursday, that other red headed Lucille, Lucille Bremer


  43. Lee Ann, Megan and Thom says:

    Thursday is the lovely Rose Smith, aka Lucille Bremer.


  44. Barbara Klein says:

    Lucille Bremer in “Yolanda and the Thief”


  45. Mary Mallory says:

    YOLANDA AND THE THIEF. Gigi Perreau today.


  46. Mary Mallory says:

    Lucille Bremer Thursday and Fred Astaire and Lucy today. I was confused Tuesday, because the shot on Monday looks like the 1970s from the lighting, while the one on Tuesday like the 1940s.


  47. Mike Hawks says:

    Fred Astaire and Lucile Bremer dance to the music.


  48. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Fred Astaire in a surrealist landscape.


  49. Rogét-L.A. says:

    Friday’s mysterious woman looks like a veiled Lucille Bremer and the rather puzzled mystery gent is none other than Fred Astaire.


  50. Benito says:

    The barely famous Lucille Bremer on Thursday in YOLANDA AND THE THIEF. I say barely due to her short movie career, and her artistic nudes on the net.


  51. Candy Cassell says:

    That tiny image of today´s mystery gent is the face of the incomparable Fred Astaire. The movie might be Vincent Minelli´s ¨Yolanda and the Thief¨ in glorious Technicolor. Haven´t even thought of it in decades! Is the mystery lady in her bath Louise Bremer? (She looks like Minelli´s future wife Judy Garland´s sister in ¨Meet Me in St. Louis¨ which I watch every year to cry along with Margaret O´Brien when Judy sings ¨Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.¨)

    I do so miss the Fabulous Fifty-Two on Saturday nights (on KTTV 11? KHJ 9? KTLA 5?) in the 1960s. I was allowed to stay up late watching those wonderful movies when the rest of my family went to bed. Netflix is just not quite the same!


  52. Barbara Klein says:

    Fred Astaire


  53. Don Danard says:

    Just remembered….the movie is “Yolanda and the Thief”….a title I’m surprised I saw back then!!


  54. Dan Nather says:

    And Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer again today. Did my last catch-up comment get lost again?


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