Monday, October 29, 2012

To Catch A Thief Review

To Catch a Thief Banner
To Catch a Thief is one of my favorite Hitchcock films because Grace Kelly is drop dead gorgeous and Cary Grant is irresistible, not to mention how beautiful the scenery of Monte Carlo is.

The film, made in 1955, is unlike most of Hitch's films in that it isn't too dark or troubling.  I would really classify it as a romance, with a touch of comedy and just enough suspense.

The story takes place on the Riviera, where "The Cat", the famous and long retired cat burglar, John Robie, played by Grant, has been living well in a beautiful villa on the French Riviera for the past 15 years.  In prison during the war when the Germans bombed it which allowed him to escape, he chose to stay and fight with the French Resistance, and became a legend which led to his parole.  Now, a string of professional jewel robberies has the police suspecting The Cat has come out of retirement.

Cary Grant Monte Carlo landscape

Since the only way to prove his innocence is to catch the thief himself, Robie hooks up with an insurance agent whose company is paying out the claims on all the robberies and begins a game of cat and mouse with the thief. 

John Williams and Cary Grant
Along the way he runs into Jessie Stevens, played by Jessie Royce Landis, and her American Heiress daughter, Frances, played by Grace Kelly.  They are vacationing in Europe with hopes to land Frances a husband.  

Grace Kelly and Jessie Royce Landis

Robie, posing as a lumber tycoon from Oregon, wants to keep them and their diamonds company until the thief strikes.  Frances, however, learns early on who he really is and displays a wild enthusiasm for helping him steal.  Of course, Robie isn't there to steal, but has trouble convincing her of that when her mother's jewels are stolen.  This is especially insulting to Frances since it happens at the time that she and "The Cat" share a romantic interlude.  I think this is one of the movie's greatest scenes, where their evening together is framed beautifully by Hitchcock, cutting back and forth between the fireworks outside on the Riviera and the fireworks going on inside.

Grace Kelly and Cary Grant fireworks

The next day, Frances takes them on a wild ride in her sports car along the coast of the French Riviera that has Robie a little worried.  (This scene is a little surreal given it is the same road that later claimed the life of Princess Grace.)

Grant and Kelly French Riviera car ride

In comes another sexy kitten, Danielle Foussard, played by Brigitte Auber. She is the daughter of one of Robie's old pals and would like nothing better than to run off with him to South America.  When her father is murdered and pegged as the thief, she lashes out at Robie at his funeral.  

Brigitte Auber

By this time, wise mother Jessie has set her daughter straight about Robie, and together they set a trap for the real thief at a swanky costume ball.  This leads to an exciting chase on the rooftops, complete with wrestling and gunshots, as Robie unmasks the true thief.

Kelly and Landis at costume ball

It's not too hard to figure out who the real thief is, but that really isn't the point.  The visuals are splendid--there's plenty of beauty to fill up every screen, whether it's shots of the blue blue sea with loads of sunbathers, French chefs in mile-high hats or a flower market filled with pink and red blooms. 

Grant and Kelly on French Riviera beach
Red and Pink Flowers
The costumes by Edith Head are lavish.  Grace Kelly is stunningly beautiful and sophisticated.  Cary Grant is charming and debonair.  The chemistry between the two is electric and believable.  

To Catch A Thief
The movie is full of witty dialogue and solid acting, typical of a Hitchcock film. Look for Hitchcock's standard cameo appearance in about the first 10 minutes of the film, sitting on a bus to the left of Cary Grant.

If you're looking for a different kind of Hitchcock film with more romance than dark story line, then in my opinion, this is a must see.


  1. This is a great movie, I bought the Grace Kelly Barbie from To Catch A Thief, she is so pretty.

    1. I love Grace Kelly, she is one of my favorites. Gorgeous!

  2. Love this movie! One of Hitchcock greatests.


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