Newest Review: ... the basic scene for this rather 'bitty' film. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To Catch A Thief is shot in colour, and it suffers from what a... more
Cat burglar on the loose
To Catch A Thief (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
To Catch A Thief (DVD)
Advantages: Not a bad story, the filming location
Disadvantages: Confusing, uninspiring, poor colour, boring in parts
RELEASED: 1955, Cert. PG
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 105 mins
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Alfred Hitchcock
SCREENPLAY: John Michael Hayes
MUSIC: Lyn Murray
Cary Grant as John Robie
Grace Kelly as Frances Stevens
Jessie Royce Landis as Jessie Stevens
John Williams as Hughson
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Based on David Dodge's novel presumably of the same name and set in the South of France, To Catch A Thief introduces us to ex-jewel thief John Robie, nicknamed 'the cat burglar' by police.
After retiring from his life of crime, Robie leads a fairly quiet existence, living in luxury with his housekeeper, in a villa overlooking the French Riviera.
When a series of jewel thefts occur locally which are carried out very much in Robie's style, the police naturally suspect him. After managing to give the police the slip, Robie decides to take it upon himself to try and catch the thief, claiming that he'd know exactly what strategy is used due to it being a copy-cat of his own style.
Robie enlists the help of Hughson, an English insurance expert, who off the record provides him with a list of potential targets for the at large jewel thief. On this list is wealthy mother and daughter Jessie and Frances Landis, who Robie befriends in the hopes that when they become victims of the jewel thief, he can blow the thief's cover and clear his own name.
Whilst setting himself up as guardian to the two women, Frances falls in love with him.
That sets the basic scene for this rather 'bitty' film.
To Catch A Thief is shot in colour, and it suffers from what a lot of films from the late 1940s and early 1950s do, in that the depth and brightness of the colour is much too harsh, losing an element of realism, and bearing this in mind, I'd have preferred to see it in black and white.
This is one of Alfred Hitchcock's more whimsical films, in that there is a definite thread of humour running through it, in parts almost having a romp-type element. The style of humour is very typical of the era, which I'm afraid I found irritating rather than funny.
However, and similarly to Hitchcock's masterpiece, Rear Window, Cary Grant and Grace Kelly work very well together, albeit in similar roles whereby Grant is cast as a smartly dressed individual who although he is fascinated by women, views them as an irritation, and Kelly plays the part of a strong-minded, pleasantly feisty young woman whose femininity and glamorous sense of fashion hides a softer, more romantic side. In contrast to her daughter, Jessie Stevens - although still glamorous - is far more down to earth, and a lot of the humour in this film centres around her. She overall is my favourite character, as her personality exudes a refreshing, albeit borderline 'rough and ready' attitude as opposed to the pretentiousness that people with an affluent lifestyle can get caught up in.
I wouldn't say that the acting from any of the cast is particularly stunning, as this is a film which concentrates on the storyline and a sense of adventure rather than character development, and all is done very much in that late 1940s/early 1950s style where it was the fashion for actors to speak in a rather barked, clipped fashion....To Catch A Thief is no exception.
For me, this honestly isn't one of Alfred Hitchcock's best productions. It has all the hallmarks of everything we come to associate with the Master Of Suspense, such as a story with a criminal element, a touch of romance, mystery and intrigue, but I don't think such is put across as well in this film as it is in his others.
The music again is very typical of films from this era, in that it is orchestral, intense, and comprised of varying levels of dramatic strings sounds, hiking both up and down depending on what happens on the screen at any given time.
The idea of an ex-jewel thief setting himself up to clear his name by setting a trap to catch a burglar who is copy-catting him I think is a very good one, but I don't feel as though such is explored too well in this film, it coming across as a bit confusing in parts, with the plot line for me being weakened rather than turned into a nail-biting, edge of your seat mystery crime thriller. I found it difficult to concentrate on who was who in the story, although there is a little twist at the end which although I didn't see coming, I feel it could have been presented more powerfully than it was.
I really don't like putting a downer on Hitchcock films as for me he can do very little wrong, but for me this definitely isn't one of his best. I'd like to have seen the whimsical element, intended to be for amusement, removed....and for the levels of intrigue to be focused on and expanded out in order to create deeper levels of tension. From the point of view of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly working together, I'd much rather watch Rear Window, as for me it has far greater strength as a storyline, with the way it is made and its setting being much more original.
In summary, I have to say sorry Alfred Hitchcock, but I feel you flopped here with To Catch A Thief, as for me it is a somewhat boring, uninspiring mystery/thriller that simply doesn't hit my spot at all....it being boring in parts rather than gripping. Maybe Hitchcock had an off day when he thought of making To Catch A Thief? Who knows! The best part about this film for me is the location in which it was made, with some beautiful shots of the French Riviera.
At the time of writing, To Catch A Thief can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.13 to £23.24
Used: from £3.29 to £5.25
Collectible: only one copy currently available @ £19.99
Some items on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: Not one for me!