American expatriate John Robie, living in high style on the Riviera, is a retired cat burglar. He must find out who a copycat is to keep a new wave of jewel thefts from being pinned on him. High on the list of prime victims is Jessie Stevens, in Europe to help daughter Frances find a suitable husband. The Lloyds of London insurance agent is using a thief to catch a thief. Take an especially close look at scene where Robie gets Jessie's attention, dropping an expensive casino chip down the décolletage of a French roulette player.Written by
Dale O'Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Filming on the French Riviera plays a pivotal role in Wu Ming's novel "54". The action takes place in the springtime of 1954, and nearly all of the characters in the novel (including Cary Grant, an Italian-American mafioso nicknamed "Steve Cement", and two Parisian gangsters from Rififi (1955)) cross each other's paths in Cannes and Nice. See more »
On the list of jewelry owners, the room number of Mrs. Jessie Stevens is given as 541, but when John Robie accompanies Mrs. Stevens and her daughter to their rooms, the numbers on their doors are 625 and 623, respectively. See more »
In between his suspense masterpieces,Alfred Hitchcock sometimes liked to work on less intense projects,and this is one of them.There isn't much opportunities for palm-sweating tension or balletically-composed thrills as you'd expect from old Hitch,but in TO CATCH A THIEF this seems quite deliberate.The intention from the very start is partaking in a light comedy-thriller,and on this level it is very enjoyable.And accomplished performers such as Cary Grant,Grace Kelly,Jessie Royce Landis and John Williams further help to give it further resonance and quality.The one disappointment in the film is it's slow pace.There are some parts in the film that drag and produce lethargy,but the beautiful locations,photography and cast save it,including a witty and sometimes surprisingly risqué script which caused some concern from censors at the time.Grant and Kelly rank as one of the best romantic couples ever on screen,and rub genuine sparks off each other.Even at 50 years old,Grant is as handsome,if not more handsome,than he ever was previously,and also looks amazingly lithe,agile and fit,as befits a retired cat burglar,and despite being almost double Grace Kelly's age,is wholly convincing as her suitor.Grace herself never looked more alluring and ravishing,and Jessie Royce Landis and John Williams provide fine support.Williams himself is barely a year older than Grant,yet you wouldn't suspect that at all when they're together on screen,and how ludicrous it is compared to Grant when towards the film's end Kelly puts a relieved head on his shoulder(even Williams himself seems embarrassed!).Such is Grant's eternal youthfulness that Miss Landis played his mother in the superior NORTH BY NORTHWEST(1959);the fact is she's a few months younger than Cary!
There's a well-known tragic coda to the film;the later titled Princess Grace of Monaco lost her life in a car accident on the very same stretches of road that Hitchcock filmed a chase sequence,but barring this sad fact TO CATCH A THIEF is still very decent Hitchcock,not great Hitchcock.But very decent Hitchcock is still far better than 95% of other directors,so there's no problem in watching and enjoying this film.
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