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Alfred Hitchcock made two kinds of movies: bone-chilling thrillers that looked into the dark side of human nature, and witty adventure stories.

"To Catch A Thief" is a sterling example of the latter kind of movie -- a chic, sleek, golden-tinted caper, full of witty dialogue and solid acting from legendary actors. Despite the taut action scenes, Hitchcock makes it feel almost like a cinematic vacation.

Paul Robie (Cary Grant) was "The Cat," the most notorious jewel thief in Europe, before he retired. But now impossible heists -- made in Robie's style -- are popping up all over Cannes, and he's the immediate suspect. Narrowly escaping the police, he enlists a friend to help him clear his name by capturing this new Cat.

To do that, he masquerades as an American tourist, and gets to know pretty oil heiress Frances Stevens (Grace Kelly) and her mother. But when the Stevens jewels are stolen, Frances brings the cops down on Robie -- and now he is more desperate than ever to find the Cat, because he suspects it's an old friend...

Hitchcock was in fine form with "To Catch a Thief," especially since he had two great actors in the mix. Granted this isn't one of his more insightful or suspenseful movies, but it captures a sense of sly wit and fun instead.

If "To Catch A Thief" has a problem, it's that astute viewers will be able to guess who the Cat is after about a half hour, maximum. But fortunately viewers can be distracted by Hitchcock's knack for razor-sharp dialogue ("What do you say?" "My only comment would be highly censorable") and double entendres (during an intimate lunch, Francie asks, "You want a leg or a breast?").

It's also gorgeous to behold -- he entire movie is bathed in the golden Riviera sun, with lots of swimming, fast car chases, elaborate costume balls, and ornate hotels. But Hitchcock winds it up with a genuinely tense rooftop chase, complete with wrestling and gunshots.

Grant is a bit grizzled (and VERY overtanned) here, but still dapper and charming enough for Robie, a thief with principles and a taste for the good life. Kelly is also quite good as an heiress who is less prim than she appears; John Williams and Jessie Royce Landis have fun supporting roles as a "veddy veddy English" insurance man and a shrewd rich woman.

"To Catch A Thief" is a warm, sumptuous piece of classic film, with great dialogue and even better acting. Fun, stylish little mystery
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 26, 2009
The 1955 Hitchcock drama/thriller "To Catch a Thief" gets the high hat treatment as part of Paramount's two disc Centennial collection of movies.
The movie filmed in Vistavision(Hitchcock's first in this format)stars the suave,debonair and very much tanned Cary Grant and the soon to be real Princess of Monaco,looking stunning I might add,Grace Kelly.All outside footage was shot on the French Riviera in and around the Nice area...and beautiful is the scenery we see throughout.
The film concerns itself with a famous pre-WW2 thief by the name of John Robie(Grant).During the war he was part of the Maquis and became quite famous for his heroic exploits with them.After the war he went legit and is living a contented life in a wonderful villa over looking the Mediterranean until some 15 years later when another thief starts to pick up where Robie left off;copying Robie's style to a tee.
The local constabulary of course suspect him right away.When they come a-knocking Robie leads them on a wild goose chase and for the first while stays barely a step ahead of them.He seeks out an ex-Maquis friend named Bertani who runs a restaurant and who offers his assistance.However his staff,who are also all ex freedom fighters,view Robie as persona non grata,think he's guilty and want no part of him.
Bertani hooks him up with the local Lloyd's of London agent(John Williams) who is the insurer for many of the victim's of the thefts.Robie figures the best person to catch the thief is himself as no one would know the thief's next moves better.The agent supplies him with a list of individuals and their insured property so Robie can get a better handle on what and who might be next.
The police eventually catch Robie but release him on a short leash,so they think,in order for him to prove his innocence.Robie meets up with a rich American widower Jessie Stevens(Jessie Landis)and her daughter Francie(Kelly).It is inevitable that Kelly falls hard for Grant's charms but Francie knows from the start who he really is.She is a headstrong girl and won't take no to helping Robie play out his scheme.She gets him invited to a masquerade ball and it is at that event that Grant finally manages to get his man,er crook.Through a lonely vigil on the roof,while the police think he's on the grounds dancing with Francie(it is really the Lloyd's of London man in disguise),he finally comes face to face with the real thief and in the end catches and exonerates himself.The film ends with Grant and Kelly in a passionate embrace.....ahh,viva la romance!
The film,though not a great film,is still very enjoyable throughout and typical Hitchcock.(Watch for his cameo a short way into the film on a bus-Grant looks at him,then out the bus window to a fade out).It has a lot of plot twists and visual turns that keep you guessing throughout.The scenery in the film is just wonderful and is almost a travelogue in itself.It is of no coincidence that the film was shot where it was.This was a favourite spot for the Hitchcock clan to vacation at and Kelly herself about a year later would become the reigning queen of the principality of Monaco in this very region.
I would give the film itself four stars but in the technical department and with the features supplied in this set,I have added another star to give it full marks.The picture has been remastered wonderfully(as have all the films in this series)and the colours are crisp and rich looking.The second disc of this set contains a real bonanza of riches.Here are some of the things included:A short bio of Hitchcock,a short film on the censorship code prevelant during the /50s,a short on the writing and casting of the film,a short on the making of the film,a short look at its' two main stars,an "appreciative" look at the film,a short on costumer Edith Head,the trailer,several still galleries and an interactive map of the the French Riviera and the actual spots at which the film was shot.I think you will agree this is a stunning array of extras which makes overall for an even more enjoyable experience.
In conclusion,the film gets a solid four stars and the extras contained therein push it all the way to the max.An intriguing and interesting plot keeps one guessing throughout the films run.With this restored print the scenery is shown at its' magnificent best,as are its' cast and two main stars Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.This is the only way "To Catch a Thief".
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on November 10, 2002
For filmlovers, there is only one important issue when it comes to discussing a first time DVD reissue of a cinema classic: does it fullfill their hope of seeing the movie with markedly superior visual and audio characteristics. The answer in this case, sadly, is NO! This DVD issue of "To Catch a Thief" has NOT been restored, and is in no better than the washed out VHS version.
This is particularly regretable here, as this lightweight Hitchcock romp (which was awarded an Academy Award for best cinephotography,) relies heavily for its appeal on its breathtaking visuals; ie., the spectacular aerial shots of the famous shorelines of the French Riviera, the opulent costume ball, etc..
My one star rating is for the poor quality of the DVD, not the much-loved film, which represents the highest level of light entertainment.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 16, 2015
TO CATCH A THIEF [1954] [Blu-ray] [US Import] Its Hitchcock . . . It's Monte Carlo . . . Its Cary Grant and Grace Kelly!

The French Riviera'two luminous stars Grace Kelly and Cary Grant and the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, behind the camera. They all add up to one romantic, dazzling screen thriller for the first time on his Blu-ray edition. Cary Grant plays John Robie, a retired jewel thief once known as 'The Cat,' who catches the eye of Frances Stevens [Grace Kelly] a pampered, vacationing heiress. But when a new rash of gem thefts occurs amongst the luxury hotels of the spectacular French Riviera playground, it appears the 'The Cat' is on the prowl again. Is John Robie truly reformed? Or is he deviously using Frances Stevens to gain access to the tempting collection of fabulous jewellery belonging to her Mother [Jessie Royce Landis]? Romance sparks fly as the suspense builds in this glittering Alfred Hitchcock classic that nabbed and OSCAR® for Best Cinematography.

FILM FACT: The film won an Academy Award® and was nominated in another two categories. Won: Best Cinematography for Robert Burks. Nominated: Best Art Direction for Hal Pereira, Joseph McMillan Johnson, Samuel M. Comer and Arthur Krams. Best Costume Design for Edith Head. This was Alfred Hitchcock's first of five films in the widescreen process VistaVision and the final film with Grace Kelly. The film also led to another successful collaboration with Cary Grant, the 1959 classic 'North by Northwest,' and also about a man with a mistaken identity who goes on a breakneck adventure to prove his innocence. The costumes were by Edith Head, including Grace Kelly's memorable golden gown for the film's costume ball. Alfred Hitchcock makes his signature cameo approximately ten minutes in as a bus passenger sitting next to Cary Grant.

Cast: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis, John Williams, Charles Vanel, Brigitte Auber, Jean Martinelli, Georgette Anys, George Adrian (uncredited), John Alderson (uncredited), Martha Bamattre (uncredited), René Blancard (uncredited), Eugene Borden (uncredited), Nina Borget (uncredited), John Breen (uncredited), Jack Chefe (uncredited), Frank Chelland (uncredited), Reinie Costello (uncredited), William 'Wee Willie' Davis (uncredited), Guy De Vestel (uncredited), Lala Detolly (uncredited), Bess Flowers (uncredited), Art Gilmore (Trailer Narrator (voice) uncredited) and Alfred Hitchcock (uncredited)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Producer: Alfred Hitchcock

Screenplay: John Michael Hayes, Alec Coppel (contributing writer) and David Dodge (based on the novel)

Composer: Lyn Murray

Cinematography: Robert Burks

Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 [VistaVision]

Audio: English: 2.0 Dolby TrueHD Stereo, English: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, French: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono and Portuguese: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese

Running Time: 106 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: It takes a thief to catch a thief. That's the old saying, anyhow. And that's the thesis Alfred Hitchcock is exhibiting in his new mystery thriller-romance at the Paramount. With Cary Grant playing the catcher and Grace Kelly playing, well, we won't say! 'To Catch a Thief' comes off completely as a hit in the old Hitchcock style. We're not saying much about Miss Grace Kelly, other than to observe that she is cool, exquisite and superior as a presumably rich American girl traveling with her mother in Europe in a quest (her mother says) of a man. To say more might tip you as to whether she is what you suspect her to be the jewel thief whom Cary Grant is stalking through the lush gambling-rooms and gilded chambers of French Riviera villas, casinos and hotels.

Well from the start of the film it keeps you guessing whether he is the slick cat-burglar, because he says he is out to touch in his previous slick cat-burglar days and that is where Alfred Hitchcock keeps you on tender hook. And vows to help an insurance man from Lloyds of London. What with his being an acknowledged old gem thief, living in a villa high above Cannes and chumming with a covey of ex-convicts, he could be almost anything. He's the fellow who genuinely tries to use his own knowledge of being a cat-burglary to nab the thief who has been terrorising Cannes and causing hysterics and conniptions among the always ineffectual police. But then there are enough other suspects, especially ex-convicts, French thugs and pretty girls, not to mention that nervous Lloyds of London fellow.

Other memorable scenes from 'To Catch A Thief' include the elaborate costume ball which Alfred Hitchcock wanted to film merely to showcase Grace Kelly's shimmering gold gown and Cary Grant's unmasking of the thief on the rooftop. "John Michael Hayes recalled that, during the filming of the final rooftop sequence, Hitchcock summoned him up to the high scaffolding, "Look at them all down there," the director said to his writer, "They think we're discussing something important or profound. But I only wanted to find out whether you're as frightened of heights as I am." (From 'The Dark Side of Hitchcock').

In his accustomed manner, Alfred Hitchcock has gone at this job with an omnivorous eye for catchy details and a dandy John Michael Hayes script. Most of his visual surprises are fantastic, spectacular vistas along the breath-taking Cote d'Azur. As no one has ever done before him, and especially Alfred Hitchcock has used that famous coast to form a pictorial backdrop that fairly yanks your eyes out of your head. Almost at the start, he gives you an automobile chase along roads that wind through cliff-hanging, seaside villages. The surprise is that it is seen from the air! If you have ever been on the Riviera, the images you view look totally brilliant, especially in the awesome Technicolor and VistaVision, splashed on that giant screen.

The script and the actors keep things popping along at a fast pace, in a fast, slick, sophisticated vein. Cary Grant and Miss Grace Kelly do us proud, especially in one sly seduction scene. If you've never heard double-entendre, you will hear it in this film. As the chap from Lloyds of London, John Williams is delightfully anxious and very dry, and Jessie Royce Landis is most amusing as Miss Kelly's low-down American mother. Brigitte Auber is fetching and funny as a frightfully forward French girl, and Charles Vanel has the air of a rascal as a local restaurateur. The direction, of course, is up to the usual high standards of Hitchcock. The film is expertly paced, with just enough jolts interspersed with the comedy to remind the audience that it is, after all, viewing an Alfred Hitchcock film. As Hitchcock himself has admitted, 'To Catch A Thief' has be entitled a "lightweight story," at least compared to such thrillers as 'Strangers On A Train' [1951], 'Rear Window' [1954] and 'Psycho' [1960], to name a few of the film's approximate contemporaries. But a lightweight story in the hands of Alfred Hitchcock does not necessarily make for an inconsequential film. 'To Catch A Thief' is an outstanding comedy, highlighted by the acting of Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and John Landis, and the Academy Award® winning cinematography of Robert Burks.

Blu-ray Video Quality ' 'To Catch a Thief' is presented on a Blu-ray disc, with a stunning 1080p encoded image and with an also stunning 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This Blu-ray, in many ways, is like watching 'To Catch a Thief' for the very first time. Never have the colours looked this amazing, all of them popping off the screen with shocking electricity that blew my mind. Black levels are striking and strong throughout, clarity borders on perfection and while the age of the print is evident in a handful of scenes by and large Paramount's restoration of the negative is beyond outstanding.

Blu-ray Audio Quality ' There is only so much you can do with many soundtracks of this era. The 2.0 Dolby TrueHD Stereo offers a clearl upfront presentation, however, given the other available soundtrack options, this is as good as it gets. Dialogue, an essential component to the realisation of this film, is crisp and clear. Not to worry, I did not miss the surround effects or throbbing low frequency sound waves. 'To Catch a Thief' does not need any of these elements to get its point across.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Audio Commentary: Commentary from Dr. Drew Casper, Professor of American Film and Hitchcock Film Historian: Alfred Hitchcock Film Historian [effete] Dr. Drew Casper, often sounding as if reading his comments, discusses the VistaVision process, the score, the colour palette, shooting locales, Hitchcock's career and style, the specific technical merits of the shoot and the work and make-up of the cast, and even going so far in-depth to discuss how a slight angling of the credits, combined with their colour, suggests the film's duality between light and bubbly motifs and darker elements.

Special Feature: A Night with the Hitchcocks [2008] [1080p] [16:9] [23:20] Footage of the Question and Answer session with Mary Stone [Granddaughter of Alfred Hitchcock], Patricia Hitchcock [Daughter of Alfred Hitchcock] and Dr Drew Casper filmed at the University of Southern California in 2008, with an introduction by Elizabeth Daley, who is the Dean at the School of Cinematic Arts.

Special Feature: Unacceptable Under the Code: Film Censorship in America [2009] [1080p/480i] [16:9] [11:48] Here we get to see people like Dr. Richard Jewell [Hefner Professor of American Film at the University of Southern California], Dr, Drew Casper [Professor of American Film of the University of Southern California], and Del Reisman [Former President of the Writers Guild of America, West] talk about Censorship in the American Cinema and how the Will Hayes Code came in and how Alfred Hitchcock fooled the censors with the sexual innuendoes in the film 'To Catch A Thief' and was totally blatant about it.

Special Feature: Writing and Casting To Catch a Thief [2002] [480i] [4:3] [9:03] Participating in this documentary are Patricia Hitchcock [Daughter of Alfred Hitchcock], Mary Stone [Granddaughter of Alfred Hitchcock], and Steven DeRosa [Author of 'Writing with Hitchcock'] discuss how 'To Catch A Thief' was brought to the screen, especially how the script was altered many times from its initial draft, especially the censors objection to the sexual references and the cost to sections of the film that were dropped from the finished film.

Special Feature Documentary: The Making of To Catch a Thief [2002] [480i] [4:3] [16:53] With this insightful documentary, people like Mary Stone [Granddaughter of Alfred Hitchcock], Doc Erickson [Production Manager], Steven DeRosa [Author of 'Writing with Hitchcock'] and Sylvette Baudrot [Continuity/France] talk about how the film evolved, especially the choice of location in the South of France, that Alfred Hitchcock and family use to holiday regular. It also informs you why they chose the actors, script editor, technical experts and composer, in bringing Alfred Hitchcock film to the silver screen.

Special Feature: Behind the Gates: Cary Grant and Grace Kelly [2009] [1080p] [16:9] [16:12] Participation in this feature are A. C. Lyles [Producer] and Richard Schickel [Film Historian] who inform us whay cary grant and Grace Kelly were chosen for 'To Catch A Thief' and how the camera captured the magic allure of these two actors. One interesting fact brought to our attention, is that this was the last film Grace Kelly ever did, because after this she married the Prince of Monaco.

Special Feature: Alfred Hitchcock and To Catch a Thief: An Appreciation [2002] [480i] [4:3] [7:32] Here we get to see a nice informal insight with Patricia Hitchcock [Daughter of Alfred Hitchcock], Mary Stone [Granddaughter of Alfred Hitchcock] and Sylvette Baudrot [Continuity/France] who give us very personal information about the private life of Alfred Hitchcock and how he had brilliant naughty humour, and also why he chose South of France and of course as I have mention earlier, the whole family use to love to go on holiday in the that part of France where 'To Catch A Thief' was filmed. But what is also very nice is that we get to see Alfred Hitchcock's private home movies.

Special Feature: Edith Head: The Paramount Years [2002] [480i] [4:3] [13:44] Here is another very nice personal documentary about the famous Hollywood clothes designer and is told with great affection by the likes of David Chierichetti [Edith Head's Biographer], Tzeti Ganeu [Head of the Custom-Made department of Western Costume], Bob Mackie [Fashion Designer] and Rosemary Clooney [Actress] who talk in great detail why Edith head became Paramount's top clothes designer and how Edith Head was so good at making the actors look good, and especially the male actors, who Edith Head preferred to design clothes for.

Special Feature: Interactive Travelogue Feature: If You Love To Catch Thief, You'll Love This [1080p] [16:9/4:3] With this Interactive Travelogue Feature, you get to see the via a map of the South of France where each actual location of the film was shot and all you have to do is press ENTER on your remote where the cross is located on the map and what you get is a brief description via a voice over of the actual location where 'To Catch A Thief' was filmed.

Theatrical Trailer: This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for 'To Catch A Thief' [1080p] [1.78:1] [2:12]

Special Feature: Galleries [1080p] This is in four separate categories and they consist of:

1. Movie: Here you get to see 33 black-and-white prestige publicity shots from the film, and mainly of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.

2. Publicity: Here you get to see 11 black-and-white studio images, mainly of the actors from the film set in set publicity promotional photographs.

3. Visitors To The Set: This time you get to see other famous stars visiting the film set and they consist of 14 black-and-white images. Under certain photographs you get yellow typeface wording describing who the stars were and what is happening in that particular photograph.

4. Production: Here we get to see 72 black-and-white rare informal publicity images around the Paramount Studio and in South of France. Once again under certain photographs you get a yellow typeface wording describing who the stars were and what is happening in that particular photograph.

Finally, 'To Catch a Thief' is one great watch. Grace Kelly made very few films and retired a year after shooting this film, following her marriage to Prince Rainier. Monaco's gain was Hollywood's loss since Grace Kelly shows an unerring comedic talent and luminous screen presence. Co-star Cary Grant has deft control of the leading man persona and takes to comedy like a duck to water. Considering what passes for comic presentation in today's cinema, he delivers a performance that should be mandatory viewing for all aspiring actors. There is also something to be said for clever, articulate dialogue without profanity or incoherence as the give-and-take between Cary Grant and Grace Kelly amply demonstrates. Also finding out why Director Alfred Hitchcock's knew how to make all aspects of this film come together and exploits the scenic landscape for all that its worth. But first and foremost, this film reminds us that film-making is a visual art form. In this regard, Paramount Pictures centennial celebration is well served by this brilliant Blu-ray reissue of 'To Catch a Thief.' Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller ' Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon October 22, 2009
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"Is it true, or just a rumour--that John Robie, a former cat burglar of Paris before the war [World War II], is once again on the prowl? Fashionable resorts on the Riviera are being regularly looted by a skilful jewel thief. Robie, once a hero in the French Resistance Army, was said to have reformed--however, the style of this new crime wave is certainly his."

The above is a close-up of a newspaper article found in this movie that happens to explain its entire premise. John Robie (Cary Grant), nicknamed "The Cat," is thought to be on the prowl again after a lengthy absence. Problem is he hasn't "stolen a piece of jewellery in 15 years."

Robie's self-chosen mission: to catch this imitator, this copy-cat. In order to do this, he "unofficially" gets the aid of an insurance agent (John Williams) and a rich, widower (Jessie Royce Landis) & her daughter (Grace Kelly).
Along the way, Robie becomes romantically involved with the daughter.

This movie (a romantic thriller) is based on the novel "To Catch a Thief" (1952) by David Dodge. It was directed by the "master of suspense," Alfred Hitchcock. It would be Grace Kelly's third and final film for Hitchcock (as she was to become a real princess shortly after).

This movie is filled with witty dialogue. Here's an example just after some jewels have again been stolen on the French Riviera and the thief is again thought to be John Robie by a French woman Robie is talking to:

French woman: "Last night you steal a small fortune, and today you lie on the beach with an American beauty [the rich widower`s daughter]."

Robie: "Well, that's why one needs a small fortune."

The acting is fantastic with Grant Cary (whose birth name was Archie Leach) being debonair, charismatic, and charming. Grace Kelly (being 25 years younger than Grant) holds her own with Grant. Despite the age difference, there was a definite chemistry between Grant and Kelly that comes through on the screen. I also liked the performances by John Williams and Jessie Royce Landis. (Note that by the end of this movie, it seems that Robie (as played by Grant) might become the son-in-law of the rich widower (as played by Landis). Landis was only seven years older than Grant.)

There are also some French actors that appear in this movie. Many seem to be uncomfortable speaking English. There is one exception though. The French actress (Brigitte Auber), whose character (she's the French woman alluded to in the witty dialogue above) is integral to the plot, gives a good performance. (This was a rare occurrence for her to be appearing in an English movie.)

Look for Hitchcock's customary cameo which appears at about nine minutes into the movie.

The cinematography is in a word--magnificent. You can't go wrong when you have the French Riviera (known as the Cote D'Azur in France) in the background. The colour of this movie is beautiful. It was filmed in VistaVision. If you have a large widescreen television to view this movie, then you're in for an incredible experience, (I also envy you.)

The DVD itself (the "Centennial Edition" released in 2009) is perfect in picture and sound quality. Altogether there are eleven interesting extras.

You might be interested to know that there was a television series in the mid-1960s entitles "T.H.E. Cat."

Finally, my only problem concerns the disc's English subtitles. There is some French spoken in the movie. Now the French actors do a good job through there movements and expressions of conveying what is said. However, I would have appreciated that their spoken French be translated by the English subtitles. (Note that the first words Cary Grant speaks are in French.)

In conclusion, there are movies that are said to be "classics." Watch this movie to see for yourself why it is a true classic!!

(1955; 1 hr, 45 min; 18 scenes; 2 discs; widescreen)

<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Alfred Hitchcock made two kinds of movies: bone-chilling thrillers that looked into the dark side of human nature, and witty adventure stories.

"To Catch A Thief" is a sterling example of the latter kind of movie -- a chic, sleek, golden-tinted caper, full of witty dialogue and solid acting from legendary actors. Despite the taut action scenes, Hitchcock makes it feel almost like a cinematic vacation.

Paul Robie (Cary Grant) was "The Cat," the most notorious jewel thief in Europe, before he retired. But now impossible heists -- made in Robie's style -- are popping up all over Cannes, and he's the immediate suspect. Narrowly escaping the police, he enlists a friend to help him clear his name by capturing this new Cat.

To do that, he masquerades as an American tourist, and gets to know pretty oil heiress Frances Stevens (Grace Kelly) and her mother. But when the Stevens jewels are stolen, Frances brings the cops down on Robie -- and now he is more desperate than ever to find the Cat, because he suspects it's an old friend...

Hitchcock was in fine form with "To Catch a Thief," especially since he had two great actors in the mix. Granted this isn't one of his more insightful or suspenseful movies, but it captures a sense of sly wit and fun instead.

If "To Catch A Thief" has a problem, it's that astute viewers will be able to guess who the Cat is after about a half hour, maximum. But fortunately viewers can be distracted by Hitchcock's knack for razor-sharp dialogue ("What do you say?" "My only comment would be highly censorable") and double entendres (during an intimate lunch, Francie asks, "You want a leg or a breast?").

It's also gorgeous to behold -- he entire movie is bathed in the golden Riviera sun, with lots of swimming, fast car chases, elaborate costume balls, and ornate hotels. But Hitchcock winds it up with a genuinely tense rooftop chase, complete with wrestling and gunshots.

Grant is a bit grizzled (and VERY overtanned) here, but still dapper and charming enough for Robie, a thief with principles and a taste for the good life. Kelly is also quite good as an heiress who is less prim than she appears; John Williams and Jessie Royce Landis have fun supporting roles as a "veddy veddy English" insurance man and a shrewd rich woman.

"To Catch A Thief" is a warm, sumptuous piece of classic film, with great dialogue and even better acting. Fun, stylish little mystery.
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on July 5, 2003
TO CATCH A THIEF, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is a lush and entertaining comedy/thriller concerning a jewel thief on the French Riviera. The film�s title was based upon an ancient proverb: �Set a thief to catch a thief,� with double meanings regarding a double chase. The hero, John Robie, a falsely-accused former cat burglar, has to find and catch the �real� cat burglar before he is caught himself, while the heroine, Frances Stevens, is on a quest to �catch� him--first as a burglar and then as a husband. Each wishes �To Catch a Thief.�
Unlike most of Hitchcock�s work, this thriller is very low-key and based around a small mystery. As time passes, the audience realizes there is more afoot to this game than at first meets the eye. Does Frances have more malicious intent in trailing Robie�s every move, or is her quest purely husband-oriented? The robberies are all in his particular style; could our hero be lying? When an investigation winds up in murder, and Robie is blamed by Francis for the theft of her priceless family jewels, Robie must defy death and attempt to grasp some sense of the truth, before he loses everything. At times, you are not quite
certain who everyone truly is. They are playing two-sides of a chess game; much like NOTORIOUS. Can you trust them or do they have something sinister up their sleeves?
Spread throughout the dialogue are sensationally clever double entendres that although made in a light manner, still overshadow a deeper meaning. They come fast and furious throughout most of the film. It�s all done in a knowing, cheeky fashion, which was rendered to placate the overzealous Production Code Administration as much as it was to remind the audience that, in the end, this is all in good fun.
One of the few good points about the old Hollywood Production Code was the creative dialogue it caused writers to come up with in order to get their points across; which is also why the fireworks/kiss scene is still effective. It�s a wonder the dialogue passed through the censors without a murmur. Obviously, filmmakers were now doing everything in their power to subvert the code--albeit in a friendly, comedic manner. I believe if this film had been played more seriously and didn�t have such a light and comictone, most of the dialogue would not have passed through the code. Lucky for us, it did.
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on November 19, 2002
I've been waiting for this movie to be released on DVD since the format was introduced. Yes, it would have been great if Paramount had restored this candy. But the colors ARE nevertheless nice and rich, Grant is full of panache and Grace Kelly is simply scrumptious. In the words of Joe E Brown in "Some Like it Hot"---YOWZA! The supporting cast is great, but to me the real stars are the post-war beauty that was the Riviera, and the gallic life style--however romanticized it may be. I suspect this is a DVD release that would benefit from a 16:9, HDTV screening. A major advantage of seeing it on DVD is the obvious crispness and detail of both the foreground and, when it was convenient to Hitchcock, the backgrounds as well. Interior scenes benefit from the detail as the richness of the Rivera hotel and restaurant locations can be savored. Come to think of it, this may be one of Mr. Hitchcock's most sensual movies, emphasizing the tactile: you see the patient fondling of the jewels, the enjoyment of the food ("..it's a quiche lorraine...")and wine and, by implication, the treat represented by the lovely Miss Kelly ("...have you ever had a better offer?...One that guarantees satisfaction?") It may well be, as many viwers have said, that this is a "lighter" Hitchcock. It is by no means less enjoyable. Grab it (and devour it with a quiche and a glass of crisp white wine. A muscadet). Sixth star, anyone?
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on November 6, 2002
There is so much to like about Alfred Hitchcock's 'To Catch a Thief' that a special DVD edition is a cause for celebration! First, the very premise of Cary Grant as a retired cat burglar enjoying life on the Rivera until a copycat criminal thrusts him back into service (and the oh-so willing arms of Grace Kelly) was so irresistable that it lured Grant, who had retired from film, back to the screen (a very fortunate decision, as he went on to make 'North by Northwest', 'Operation Petticoat', 'Charade', and other memorable films). Second, it reteamed Hitchcock with not only his favorite actor, but also with Kelly, his favorite actress, and the archetype for all the other blonde actresses in his other great films of the 50s and 60s. Third, it was a light-hearted romp, full of beautiful scenery, bawdy double-entendres (At a picnic: "Do you want a leg or a breast?" "You make the choice."), and a plot as light as a French souffle, which was a welcome change for Hitch, after a series of much darker films.
Some of the supporting cast were French, which required some less than successful redubbing of dialogue, but great comic turns were provided by British character actor John Williams, and the redoubtable Jessie Royce Landis, who was so delightful as Kelly's mother that Hitchcock cast her as Cary Grant's mother in 'North by Northwest'! A bit of trivia: Brigitte Auber, who plays the busty, hormonally-charged French girl Kelly icily refers to as a 'child', was, in fact, nearly a year older than her!
Among the extras this very special DVD offers are a 'making-of' featurette, a Remembrance, featuring recollections of Hitchcock's daughter and granddaughter, an instructive look at how the story came to the screen, and a great piece about Hitchcock's favorite costume designer, Edith Head. You definitely get your money's worth!
If you want to lose yourself in a wonderful light romantic adventure, they don't come much better than this! Indulge yourself!
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on December 27, 2002
Alfred Hitchcock once dismissed "To Catch a Thief" as a lightweight diversion, yet it remains an important work in several respects. Hitchcock made the picture in 1954 during one of his most prolific periods. The filmmaker's energy is evident in the vividness of the Riviera cinematography (by Oscar winner Robert Burks) and imaginative use of the newly developed VistaVision process. Cary Grant and Grace Kelly deliver stunningly cool performances -- the carnal nature of their characters' romance (as well as the unmentioned difference in age) adds to the overall lasciviousness. The film also should be credited for its underlining theme of "sex as larceny," a recurring motif in later Hitchcock works such as "Psycho" and "Marnie." Though not terribly suspenseful, "To Catch a Thief" ranks among Hitchcock's most stylish and elegant achievements due to the distinct perfectionism of its scenic and acting grandeur.
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