Monday, April 29, 2013

Movie Review: To Catch a Thief

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Romantic chemistry between Cary Grant and Grace Kelly; liberal use of humor
Cons: Mystery a little light
The Bottom Line:
Film is Hitchcock light
Not as intense, lots of fun
And some good humor




Watch Cary Grant and Grace Kelly Flirt in To Catch a Thief

Hitchcock made a name for himself with his suspense films.  Then there's To Catch a Thief.  Oh, there's a mystery here.  But the suspense is pretty light and the middle section focuses more on a budding romance then anything else.  And that makes this slight departure lots of fun.

The tourists along the French Riviera are being robbed of their valuable jewelry.  And the robberies have all the trademarks of notorious jewel thief John Robie (Cary Grant).  There's just one problem, John retired years ago after serving time in prison and the French underground.  But the police won't take his word for it and are insisting he's returned to his old ways.

So John decides that the only way to clear his name is to find the real burglar.  Working closely with insurance man Hughson (John Williams) he attempts to pick the next victim so he can catch the burglar.  And he settles on Jessie Stevens (Jessie Royce Landis) and her daughter Frances (Grace Kelly).  But Frances turns out to be more of a distraction then the bachelor John counted on.  Will he succumb to temptation?  And will he catch the thief?

Now let's not make any mistake about it, there is a mystery here.  I never really suspected that John had gone back to his old ways.  But I was wondering who could possibly be the culprit now.  That kept me intrigued through out the film until it is ultimately resolved.  The climax was a tad rushed, but it worked.  On the whole, the plot was a bit lighter then it could have been, but that just allowed time for the romance.

And the heart of this film really is the budding relationship between John and Frances.  And it is a hoot.  I was laughing at quite a few of their lines.  Those lines are still pretty risque, too, a fact that surprised me.  Oh, there's nothing here that would get it a rating other then G.  There was plenty to get howls of laughter from me, however.

Now, let's talk chemistry because Cary Grant and Grace Kelly certainly have it.  Of course, how any man could help but have amazing chemistry with a beautiful woman like Grace Kelly is beyond me.  Still, I bought every moment they were together.

The cast is uniformly good.  Since the film was set in France, the cast has to switch into French every so often.  We don't get subtitles, but I sure didn't notice any of them struggling with the changes.

And I've got to talk for a moment about the scenery.  The movie was filmed on location on the French Riviera.  It is amazing.  I'm ready to hop the next plane for an extended visit.

Hitchcock used a black cat to get effect in the beginning of the film.  See, John Robie's nickname was "The Cat."  Frankly, I would have liked to see more of the cat imagery in the second half of the film, but it got dropped as things progressed.

To Catch a Thief is more relaxed then Hitchcock's normal fair with lots more laughs then you would normally expect.  But that doesn't make it a bad film at all.  Catch this flick when you want light suspense with sizzling romance.

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