Burglar, The (1957): Wendkos’ Noir Thriller, Starring Dan Duryea and Jayne Mansfield

Paul Wendkos directed The Burglar a crime thriller noir released by Columbia Pictures, based on the 1953 novel by David Goodis (who also wrote the script).

Wendkos would later go on to helm the pilot for the original Hawaii Five-O TV series

The picture stars Dan Duryea in the titular role, burglar Nat Harbin who, with his two associates, Baylock (Peter Capell) and Dohmer (Mickey Shaughnessy), set their sights on wealthy spiritualist Sister Sarah (Phoebe Mackay), who has inherited a fortune, including an emerald necklace, from a Philadelphia financier.

Using Nat’s female ward, Gladden (Jayne Mansfield), to pose as admirer and case the mansion where the woman lives, they set up a perfect break-in; even when Nat’s car is spotted by cops, he bluffs his way through, gets the necklace, and makes the getaway.

But they can’t agree on how to dispose the necklace, though their bickering becomes less important when they realize they’re being followed. A woman (Martha Vickers) is working on Nat, while a man (Stewart Bradley) is working on Gladden.

The trio kills a New Jersey state trooper on their way to warn Gladden. Meanwhile, among the cops chasing them is one with larceny and murder on his mind.


Dan Duryea as Nat Harbin
Jayne Mansfield as Gladden
Martha Vickers as Della
Peter Capell as Baylock
Mickey Shaughnessy as Dohmer
Stewart Bradley as Charlie
John Facenda as himself


Directed by Paul Wendkos
Produced by Louis W. Kellman
Screenplay by David Goodis, based on his 1953 novel, The Burglar
Music by Sol Kaplan
Cinematography Don Malkames
Edited by Paul Wendkos, Herta Horn
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date: June 1957
Running time 90 minutes

Budget $90,000 (estimated)