Monday, April 11, 2011

To Catch a Thief

To Catch a Thief; Crime comedy, USA/ France, 1955; D: Alfred Hitchcock, S: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis

A mysterious "cat burglar" is stealing jewels in the French Riviera - in the same way former crook John Robie once did. Even though John is innocent and now lives a noble life, the police doesn't trust him so he runs away from his mansion. His former colleagues help him hide, among them Danielle to whom he never showed his love for. In order to catch the real burglar, John present himself as Mr. Burns and observes Mrs. Stevenson's jewels while her daughter Frances falls in love with him. At a party, John finally captures the burglar on the roof, who turns out to be Danielle.

Even though it suffers from a few banal moments and a slow start (that lasts for 30 minutes), "To Catch a Thief" is a skillful, shrill and fun comedy-thriller 'light' by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock, who has his trademark cameo appearance some 10 minutes into the film as a passenger sitting next to Cary Grant's character. Hitchcock played here with a few subversive erotic jokes (with taste): Grant pretends to be clumsy in a casino and throws a worthless chip inside a cleavage of a rich madam; she is insulted because it is inappropriate to get it out in public, but he cleverly insists that he chip "was worth 10,000 $", so she him that amount with her own chips. In another sequence, Grace Kelly's character "provokes" Grant while wearing a seductive dress and a jewel bracelet around her neck ("It must be making you mad that you're in the same room with jewels you can not touch!") whereas the story is engaging, though it seems more like a "casual" Hitchcock film.


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