To Catch a Thief Cover

Another Paramount classic, given the lavish “Centennial Collection” treatment – Cary Grant at the height of his powers as the suave and debonair reformed jewel-thief, once known as “The Cat”, Alfred Hitchcock at the height of his own directorial powers, Grace Kelly in her last big-screen role as the willful heiress … and the French Riviera in all of it’s mid-century glory. Tiny villages with weathered tile roofs cling to the mountain ridges, classical villas with formal gardens overlook the distant blue Mediterranean, and in the casinos and grand hotels of Nice and Cannes, the wealthy amuse themselves with gambling and displaying their wealth – including lavish jewels. As the story begins, an extremely agile and daring burglar is harvesting said jewels, and the suspicions of those on both sides of the law fall upon one John Robie, an American expatriate, reformed jewel thief and local hero of the French Resistance. Robie, who has been granted a conditional parole for his burglarious activities on account of his wartime heroism, realizes that his only chance of remaining out of jail and clear his own name, is to catch the real thief. So he strikes a deal with a representative of the insurance company – he’ll use his own skills to track down and catch the thief. In the process of this, he encounters Frances Stevens, who is more than a little titillated to think that Robie might actually be a jewel thief. And so it goes, the two of them striking provocative sparks off each other, as the plot turns and twists upon itself, just as one of those twisting roads along the coastal cliffs twists and turns, climbing higher. Ironic indeed, watching Grace Kelly as Frances, try and shake Robie’s nerve by driving fast and reckless on one of those roads, knowing that she would die after an auto accident on a similar road, decades later.

The movie itself has aged very well and the restoration of it is meticulous – the Riviera locations and the palette of colors are vividly striking, although the use of rear-screen projections for the scenes in which the actors are traveling in a motor vehicle is very obvious, and looks even more contrived now than it did fifty years ago. Of the generous extra features included, the stand-out is a long feature on the movie production code which existed at the time “To Catch a Thief” was written, produced and filmed. This feature dealt amusingly with all the constraints imposed on the director and the studios, and the stratagems employed to get around them and still tell the story, with a wink and a nod.

This version of “To Catch a Thief” will be available March 24th, at Amazon.com and other retail outlets.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her current book project, “The Adelsverein Trilogy” is also available at Amazon.com and selected local outlets. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com.

Be Sociable, Share!