Adam’s Film Friday – A Review of To Catch a Thief

This week’s film, To Catch a Thief  is a classic Hitchcock film, and it is considered one of the “lighter” Hitchcock films. While it was no comedy, it was lighter in mood as it didn’t focus on a murder, but rather a case of mistaken identity and to clear one’s name. I was eager to watch this movie because back in October, Kim single-handedly tripled the amount of Hitchcock films I had seen.  Since being exposed to more Hitchcock films, I’ve come to notice and appreciate directing style more, which makes me eagerly anticipate watching a work by Hitchcock. 

Cary Grant stars as John Robie, a retired (but still notorious) jewel thief, who throughout his career garnered the nickname “The Cat”, due to his ability to get out of a crime scene without leaving a trace. Having been paroled he is now living the straight life, when suddenly crimes eerily similar to the ones he committed begin to occur again. He maintains his innocence, but also vows to catch the criminal who has been imitating him. He gets help from H. H. Hughson (John Williams), who gets him a list of the people who are staying on the Riviera with the most valuable jewels so he can track down the imitator. On top of the list are Jessie Stevens (Jessica Royce Landis) and her daughter Francie, played by the gorgeous Grace Kelly.  John meets them under the guise of being a salesman from Oregon and immediately takes a liking to Francie while starting up a conversation with Jessie. John and Francie developing a budding relationship, when soon after Francie declares she knows who he is and the two share a kiss. Unfortunately it is during the night someone steals Jessie’s jewelry, and the first person Francie suspects is John.  Will John be able to prove to Francie it wasn’t him? Or was it in fact John all along? These are the questions the viewer is left to solve by the end of the movie.

This movie was awesome, and definitely lived up to the hype I had created for it. It had the right amount of suspense, yet still was humorous at points. There was so many double entendres, which sort of made me shocked considering the time period in which the film was produced. The story was extremely well-told and like all good Hitchcock suspense films, it kept the viewer guessing and at the edge of his/her seat.

One thing that was definitely noticeable and made the movie that much better was the chemistry between Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. The two stars of the movie seemed like they had such an enjoyable experience making this movie, and in real life they actually developed a budding friendship that would last the rest of Grace Kelly’s life. Many of the scenes which featured just the two of them seemed very naturally acted on both parts. It is obvious that the actors were comfortable with each other. The scenes were so enjoyable because not only did they both give great performances, but they made it seem so effortless. There was no overacting or over the top performances, yet the scenes were still effective. Also like most Hitchcock films, the music was perfect. It gave the viewer the feeling of suspense. If you were to only listen to the movie, you would still be nervous because of the music, which is the sign of a great score.

All and all I loved the movie. I was really impressed with Hitchcock’s ability as a film maker. For being known as the master of suspense and horror films, this film is definitely a hidden gem in the Hitchcock collection. Like always, I will leave my reader with a question: what lengths would you go to in order to protect your reputation? Until next time, Happy viewing to you.

5 out of 5 Stars

To Catch a Thief (1955)
Paramount Pictures
PG-13, 106 Minutes

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