One of my favorite movies ever made is one of my favorite movies ever made because it was directed by one of my favorite filmmakers (Alfred Hitchcock), it stars two of the most beautiful people who ever lived (Cary Grant and Grace Kelly) and it was filmed in one of the most stunning places on the planet (in the south of France, predominately in Cannes, Nice and the surrounding countryside).
In To Catch a Thief, Grant plays John Robie, a retired burglar known as “The Cat,” living in the south of France very quietly until a new copycat burglar starts imitating his crime style in the area. Quiet though notorious because of his past, Robie is the prime suspect, and the plot involves him trying to prove his innocence, save his reputation and catch the real thief.
Along the way, Robie meets Frances (“Francie”) Stevens, played by the one and only Grace Kelly, the daughter of a wealthy widow whose jewels will serve as bait to catch the copycat burglar. (Fun fact: Grace Kelly’s wealthy mother is played by the inimitable Jessie Royce Landis, who played Cary Grant’s mother in North by Northwest. She’s a hilarious scene-stealer in both movies.)
Though perhaps not as famous as Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959) or Psycho (1960), To Catch a Thief is among Hitchcock’s best, in my opinion. What sets it apart from the aforementioned titles and others from Hitchcock’s oeuvre is its sense of whimsy. Romantic, sexy and fun, it’s heavier on glamour and lighter in tone than some of his others. It’s an absolutely gorgeous movie shot in gorgeous locations (and gorgeous sets that approximate said locations) with gorgeous people wearing gorgeous clothes. Win, win, win, win.
We all know those movies that create a universe we’d all love to dive through the screen and live in. To Catch a Thief is one of them. As I write this post, it’s streaming on Netflix. Dive in and enjoy.