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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

TO CATCH A THIEF -- Movie Review by Porfle

Hitchcock rears his familiar head again (see if you can spot it) in TO CATCH A THIEF (1955), a smoothly sophisticated vehicle in which some of the director's favorite actors get to engage in shadowy intrigue laced with coy dialogue and wry witticisms.

The French Riviera forms a gorgeous backdrop for this tale of a reformed cat burglar, John "The Cat" Robie (Cary Grant), trying to prove his innocence after a new rash of daring jewel thefts put him under intense police suspicion.

How to do that, you ask? Simple--he hangs around some of the most likely future targets at the most expensive beachfront hotel, hoping to catch the unknown thief in the act.

Not surprisingly, the most prominent potential victims turn out to be lovely playgirl Frances Stevens (Grace Kelly) and her mother Jessie (Jessie Royce Landis, who'd play Grant's mother in NORTH BY NORTHWEST), who is practically dripping with priceless jewelry at all times.

It's not hard to guess that John and Frances will form a mutual infatuation, especially when she figures out his true identity and excitedly expresses interest in joining him in his next heist.

As a refined but irreverent heiress living the life of leisure, Kelly is as far removed from THE COUNTRY GIRL as one can get. But her seductive playgirl is cool as a champagne cocktail despite an effort by the actress to loosen up. Even in the heat of passion, she's as flawless and silky-smooth as the sumptuous frosting on a wedding cake.

Not that I mind, of course--what man wouldn't want to romance such a woman at least once in his life? And especially a man who happened to be as impossibly handsome and effortlessly suave as Cary Grant?

Indeed, in addition to the delectable mystery and giddy suspense which Hitchcock (as expected) handles like the virtuoso that he is, one of the irresistible attractions of TO CATCH A THIEF is seeing two of the most beautiful people in Hollywood history having a ticklish go at each other with postcard-pretty France as their playground. Hitchcock's having fun here, and he wants us to have fun, too. And we do.



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