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The Spider and the Fly (1949)

Not Rated | | Crime, Romance, Thriller | 1 December 1949 (UK)
A clever and dedicated French police official, a cleverer master-thief whom he secretly admires, the woman loved by the official who is in love with the thief, at the outbreak of World War I.


Robert Hamer


Robert Westerby (screenplay), Robert Westerby (story)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eric Portman ... Fernand Maubert
Guy Rolfe ... Philippe Lodocq
Nadia Gray ... Madeleine Saincaize
George Cole ... Marc - A Detective
John Carol John Carol ... Jean Louis / Alfred Louis
Harold Lang Harold Lang ... Belfort - The Pickpocket
Edward Chapman ... Minister for War
Maurice Denham ... Colonel de la Roche
John Salew John Salew ... Minister's Secretary
May Hallatt ... Monique
James Hayter ... Mayor
Arthur Lowe ... Town Clerk
Patrick Young Patrick Young ... Captain le Maitre
Sebastian Cabot ... Prefect at Amiens
Jeremy Spenser ... Jacques - The Boy in Church


A clever and dedicated French police official, a cleverer master-thief whom he secretly admires, the woman loved by the official who is in love with the thief, at the outbreak of World War I.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spy | See All (1) »


A New British Thriller of Crime, Detection and Suspense! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 December 1949 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Meisterdieb von Paris See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Fernand Maubert: How many times have I arrested you?
Philippe Lodocq: Oh, five, ten...
Fernand Maubert: And still you go on?
Philippe Lodocq: You know that absinthe is a vicious drink. It can blind you. But you still drink it.
See more »


Written by André Tabet, Roger Bernstein, Alex Alstone and Jack Lawrence
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User Reviews

A thief goes to war against the Germans
12 June 2017 | by robert-temple-1See all my reviews

This is a slow-paced but solid film about a police inspector, played by the calm and unruffled Eric Portman (the spider) and his quarry, a master thief and safe cracker (the fly), who is played by Guy Rolfe. Rolfe was excellent in another film which he made this same year, PORTRAIT FROM LIFE (1949, see my review). He is just as good in this one as well, though playing a very different type of character, and one far less sympathetic. Robert Hamer directed this, one of only 14 films which he directed. He retired from the screen at age 49 and died at age 52, hence the small number of his films. He is best remembered for directing KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS (1949), this very same year, with Alec Guinness. The love interest in this story is played by the Romanian actress Nadia Gray, who has both men in her thrall but has a wild passion for Rolfe which at first he does not return. This was only her second film, the first being a French film in this same year which has never been reviewed on IMDb and may be lost, or at least lost to memory. Portman finally catches the elusive Rolfe and send him to prison, but then a wartime situation arises which requires a crucial document to be stolen from the safe of The German Legation in Switzerland. Portman recruits Rolfe for this task and the thief thus uses his safe-cracking and building-climbing skills to get the document and fight the Germans. It is a good film, well made, but somewhat slow. It would not have seemed so in 1949, perhaps, but things have speeded up now.

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