I have a feeling that, tonight, you’re going to see one of the Riviera’s most fascinating sights.
After being exposed to a lot of today’s predictable plots, watching this Hitchcock classic showed me why his name still echoes in references, even though he created his art almost six decades ago, in the 1950s. And art, his films truly were; quite difficult too, considering that they didn’t have the technology to make a thriller film sleek, and the weight of the entire film rested purely on the story, screenplay, and direction.
A word on Hitchcock:
Hailed as a master film maker, he originated from the UK, but moved to Hollywood after his successful career [in England] in 1955 – precisely when this film was made. Sir Albert Hitchcock, also known as ‘The Master of Suspense’ could have you locked and frozen in your seat with terror, curiosity and even sheer sex appeal.
His characteristic camera movement mimicking a person’s gaze amplified a viewer’s identification with the characters and storyline. Add to that mix, his psychologically complex characters that unravel in elegant, messy ways through the thrillers and mysteries he spins, and you’ve got yourself a film that will forever be a shadow looming over every thriller produced after it.
It all begins with a series of jewel burglaries in Nice and Cannes, which are pinned on the ex-jewel thief John Robbie [played by Carrie Grant]. The inept French police chase John through the beautiful Cote D’Azur while he attempts to clear his name by unmasking the the real criminal.
Since the techniques this thief is implement are his old ones, John can anticipate what’s going to happen next. In search of this copycat, he meets a girl, Frances Stevens (played by Grace Kelly), who is wealthy, mischievous, bored and spoilt. Frances predicts that John is the thief who has been behind all these embezzlements. Who is the thief? Is it actually John Robbie a.k.a The Cat?
Glittering jewels, bright actors, shimmering cinematography
This fast-moving crime-romance piece is accentuated by well-performed dialogues between the leads [oh, the sexual tension]. The shine of Kelly’s jewels and the vast blue Mediterranean are caught well on camera with exquisite wide shots and spilling over with extravagance.
Hand-picked by Hitchcock himself, the actors are well suited to the parts. Cary Grunt was Sir Albert’s all-time favourite and did justice to the suave and sexy John Robbie. Grace Kelly, the female lead, in all her glamour, played it cool and grand as the rich American girl. Charles Vanel (as Monsieur Bertani), Briggitte Auber (as Danielle Foussard) and Jessie Royce Landis (as Jessie Stevens) lent quite a hand to the leads in keeping the story moving.
All in all
To Catch A Thief is a fine example of Hitchcock’s creations, and I suggest you watch it if you’re delving into the 50s. I would extol this film on the exemplary background score, splendid locations and Sir Albert’s gift of cradling the suspense. Yes, it’s a classic. A watch-able classic!
B-Change Rating: 8.9/10
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