For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Hitchcockian Films, here’s a review of To Catch a Thief (1955) by Vinnie of Vinnie H.
Thanks again to Michael Eddy for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Vinnie of Vinnie H. and it is Historical True Story Films.
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of February by sending them to email@example.com
Try to think out of the box! Great choice Vinnie!
Let’s see what Vinnie thought of this movie:
To Catch a Thief
- Cary Grant as John Robie
- Grace Kelly as Frances Stevens
- Jessie Royce Landis as Jessie Stevens
- John Williams as Hughson
A witty, scintillating romantic thriller from the iconic Alfred Hitchcock, To Catch a Thief finds the master at his most playful and arch. This lush gem of a movie is super gorgeous to look at and soars to greatness thanks to the star pairing of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.
John is a retired jewel thief who lives in a villa just off the French Riviera. Once dubbed ‘The Cat’ and the best in the field of burglary, he has now turned his back on his old stomping ground. But he’s about to be dragged into it again thanks to a spate of high-profile thefts along the coast. All the cases involved the gorgeous and very expensive jewelry of the rich and well-known. Wanted by the police and with only a handful of old contacts trusting him, he attempts to evade capture and arrest for something he hasn’t done. Thanks to an insurance man Hughson, who has the knowledge of who owns the best gems, he comes into contact with the very beautiful Frances Stevens and her flouncy mother. Frances is a seemingly icy girl with boredom to contend with, but John discovers she lusts after something thrilling and even dangerous. Both begin a flirtation that ignites her curiosity over who he really is and what to do about it. Meanwhile, John sees the opportunity to bait the real thief with jewels belonging to the wealthy widow Jessie. But it’s not as easy to prove his innocence as thief is gearing up again and the dalliance with Frances is growing deeper.
To Catch a Thief has Alfred Hitchcock in relaxed and bubbly mode; teasing the audience in just who the real thief could be and whether John and France’s will become a couple. Hitchcock is having a whale of a time with the sexy interplay and mystery of the piece; utilising his bag of exceptional tricks to marvellously entertaining effect amid gorgeous scenery and attractive stars. His elegant hands are all over To Catch a Thief and it’s all the better for us that we have the master movie maker delivering the goods with customary high quality. Some may dismiss it as lightweight Hitchcock, but even if that is the case, it’s darn entertaining. I might not put it up there as one of Hitchcock’s classics, but any Hitchcock is better than most and that is something I stand by cinematically. A cracker of a script blends elements of caper, humour, seductiveness and thriller into a pretty and polished product that presents a lighter side to Hitch. And it’s amazing how much innuendo To Catch a Thief manages to pack into its frames. From Frances asking John whether he’d like a (chicken) breast or a leg to the memorable deduction that is inter cut with fireworks wildly exploding to signify passion, this movie is definitely not short on suggested naughtiness. This cheeky approach greatly benefits the movie and is impressive, especially considering how movies back when this was released where often at the mercy of the censors. Lush cinematography that deservedly garnered an Oscar and splendidly detailed costumes are a cherry on top of a finely made cake. And of course, the sweeping and romantic music is a big plus throughout To Catch a Thief’s running time.
Cary Grant, the King of suave, is on solid and fine ground as the former jewel thief trying to clear his name. His lightness of touch and twinkle in his eyes is just right for this movie and showcase him at his most charismatic. Complimenting Grant is the gorgeous Grace Kelly, who never looked more lovely or sensual as she did here. She spars nicely and seductively with Grant, by exhibiting a kittenish and sly demeanor that is very becoming as she plays with his feelings in a bid for thrills. And you can’t miss the sizzling chemistry shared between both stars that practically radiates whenever they’re in proximity of each other. It’s the kind of sexual tension you’d want to bottle up it’s that impressively shown. Jessie Royce Landis and John Williams both lend some fine support to proceedings too.
A gorgeous romance and thriller with oodles of style and sexy moments, To Catch a Thief presents Hitchcock at his most cheeky and in the mood to entertain. A breezy quality is very apparent, plus his numerous directorial stamps blending with sublime sights of the French Riviera.