Hitchcock at his glossiest.
Set in the lavish Riviera countryside, notorious jewel thief, John Robie, otherwise known as ‘The Cat’ (Cary Grant), ‘retired’ from his occupation in France fifteen years ago. However, he is soon suspected of returning to his role. In attempt to prove his innocence, he must fish out the copy cat.
Grace Kelly, as always, is fabulous. This being her third Hitchcock film, she takes on the role of an opinionated socialite from Philadelphia, who accompanies Grant, finding herself falling deeply in love with him. Grant is also very well-cast, giving off a strong performance here. And Jessie Royce Landis isn’t far behind as Frances’ down-to-earth mother. Though To Catch a Thief’s romance doesn’t have the dark, psycho, sexual elements of Hitchcock’s more intriguing films.
The direction certainly matches the usual high standards of Hitchcock. As seen in all of his films, keep an eye out for Hitchcock’s cameo appearance; it happens within the first fifteen minutes or so. For a somewhat lightweight narrative, as Hitchock himself has admitted to, the film is splendidly paced, throwing in the correct elements to make a great Hitchcock number; suspense, humour and romance mostly. Though the special effects are not so special, not at all does this hinder the film. Old Hollywood classics certainly hold a place in my heart, and I can’t help but admire their wondrous efforts.
On the whole, To Catch a Thief is a worthwhile watch for the gorgeous cinematography alone. Not to mention, the witty dialogue, and appealing characters coinciding with this beautiful piece of cinema. Arguably the least interesting of Hitchcock’s 50’s masterpieces, when compared to Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Dial M for Murder and The Man Who Knew Too Much, but nevertheless, an elegant film providing light entertainment. If you ask me, I think they did a great job, especially with the limited equipment available in the fifties.