To Catch a Thief (1955)

to catch a thief poster 1955 movie alfred hitchcock
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good cast, great location

Story is so-so, anti-climatic ending, Cary Grant is too old for the role

Movie Info

Movie Name:  To Catch a Thief

Studio:  Paramount Pictures

Genre(s):  Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  August 5, 1955

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

to-catch-a-thief-cary-grant-grace-kelly-french-riviera

Just chillin’, on the Riviera.

A thief has been stealing jewels from the wealthy in the French Riviera, and the police decide the legendary jewel thief known as the Cat must be responsible.  When the police come to the home of John Robie (Cary Grant), he denies the charges and realize to prove himself innocent he must catch the new thief.  Getting the names of the wealthiest people in the area from a jewelry insurance agent named H.H. Hughson (John Williams), Robie seeks out the thief’s next target.  He meets Jessie Stevens (Jessie Royce Landis) and her daughter Francie (Grace Kelly) who become victims…now Robie must prove his innocence to Francie, get the police off his trail, and stop the thief once and for all.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, To Catch a Thief was based on the 1952 novel by David Dodge and followed Hitchcock’s Rear Window in 1954.  Hailed by critics, it won an Oscar for Best Cinematography, but was also nominated for Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction.

to-catch-a-thief-fireworks-cary-grant-grace-kelly

When I see you, it’s fireworks! Oh no, wait, those are actual fireworks

I like this movie, but feel like it has some pacing issues.  The movie has some dead points in the middle and doesn’t rely as heavily on trick photography as some of Hitchcock’s other films.  The start of the film has some nice stuff with Robie on the run, but once he strikes his deal with John Williams, there seems to be no urgency and he becomes almost James Bond-like in his cockiness toward not getting caught.  I also feel like the last sequence with the party and the rooftop confession doesn’t have enough pressure and tension when there could be a lot more.

Grace Kelly and Cary Grant are of course perfect, but I thought Grant was a bit too old for the role (he was twenty-five years older than Kelly at the point and closer in age to Jessie Royce Landis who played her mother).  He also has that way-too-tan tan that doesn’t show up well in the bright color.  This was Grace Kelly’s last film for Hitchcock (which set him looking for a new leading lady).

to-catch-a-thief-hitchcock-cameo

There’s Hitch!

Though much of the movie is still shot on sets, the lush French Riviera is a constant throughout the movie and looks great.  If you had no desire to go to the French Riviera, this movie might change your mind.  It looks amazing with its hills and ocean views.  The stucco rooftops of the buildings are used great and despite not loving the ending, it still looks good.

To Catch a Thief is good, but not great.  With so many classic movies, even a middle tier Hitchcock film is still worlds above a lot of directors.  Hitchcock followed To Catch a Thief with The Trouble with Harry in 1955.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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