To Catch a Thief-attachment0

To Catch a Thief

Movie Information

In Brief: Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief (1955) stars Cary Grant and Grace Kelly (yes, this is where the famous fireworks kissing scene comes from) in one of the master's lighter and most pleasant 1950s films. The film is nothing more than a romantic suspenser soufflé of the kind that Hitchcock was rightly famous for. OK, despite some location work, the film does suffer from some of the most obvious rear screen and process work of Hitch's career, but with Cary Grant as a retired jewel thief trying to prove he really is retired to the police — with time out for romancing Grace Kelly, it doesn't matter much.
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis, John Williams
Rated: PG

Owing to the lightness of its tone, To Catch a Thief has tended to be viewed as one of Alfred Hitchcock’s lesser movies. Oh, some of his more ardent European admirers have tried to turn the fairly stock comedy character of Jessie Royce Landis as Grace Kelly’s mother into some kind of condemnation of rich Americans, but it really doesn’t stick since American comedies bubble over with essentially the same kind of mother. The real question is whether there’s anything wrong with a Hitchcock picture being mere entertainment. I’m saying no — especially, since that’s obviously the intent of a movie advertised with, “WANTED by the police in all the luxury-spots of Europe!… A catch for any woman!.” This is strictly a romantic suspense mystery relying on showing two pretty stars — Cary Grant and Grace Kelly — in pretty locations. On that basis, it’s nearly perfect — and it might have crossed over into that realm if it hadn’t been for Hitch’s heavy reliance on placing his glamorous stars against painfully obvious rear-screen projections of those glamorous locations. Most times, Hitch could get away with this, but here it’s pretty distracting and it dates the film. However, the engaging plot and the presence of Grant and Kelly — along with Hitchcock’s sense of style — carry the day, making for one terrific entertainment.

Pack Memorial Library will screen To Catch a Thief Tuesday, May 21 at 3 p.m.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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6 thoughts on “To Catch a Thief

  1. Jeremy Dylan

    I’ve always enjoyed this film, but it feels a lot longer than it is to me. The first time I watched it, I could’ve sworn it was over two hours, but it’s only about 105 minutes.

  2. Xanadon't

    I get the same sensation from it. But it might just be that Grace Kelly doesn’t appear early enough in the movie for me.

    For whatever reason, I reach for this film less less frequently than the other two Hitch/Kelly pictures– despite the fact that it’s better cinema than Dial M by most measures.

  3. Ken Hanke

    So it feels a lot longer to you, too? (I can’t believe you boys leave phrases like that lying around where I can see them.)

  4. Xanadon't

    Immediately upon hitting ‘submit’ I realized the mistake I’d made. Thanks for living up (down?) to my expectations.

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