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Alfred Hitchcock made two kinds of movies: bone-chilling thrillers that looked into the dark side of human nature, and witty adventure stories.

"To Catch A Thief" is a sterling example of the latter kind of movie -- a chic, sleek, golden-tinted caper, full of witty dialogue and solid acting from legendary actors. Despite the taut action scenes, Hitchcock makes it feel almost like a cinematic vacation.

Paul Robie (Cary Grant) was "The Cat," the most notorious jewel thief in Europe, before he retired. But now impossible heists -- made in Robie's style -- are popping up all over Cannes, and he's the immediate suspect. Narrowly escaping the police, he enlists a friend to help him clear his name by capturing this new Cat.

To do that, he masquerades as an American tourist, and gets to know pretty oil heiress Frances Stevens (Grace Kelly) and her mother. But when the Stevens jewels are stolen, Frances brings the cops down on Robie -- and now he is more desperate than ever to find the Cat, because he suspects it's an old friend...

Hitchcock was in fine form with "To Catch a Thief," especially since he had two great actors in the mix. Granted this isn't one of his more insightful or suspenseful movies, but it captures a sense of sly wit and fun instead.

If "To Catch A Thief" has a problem, it's that astute viewers will be able to guess who the Cat is after about a half hour, maximum. But fortunately viewers can be distracted by Hitchcock's knack for razor-sharp dialogue ("What do you say?" "My only comment would be highly censorable") and double entendres (during an intimate lunch, Francie asks, "You want a leg or a breast?").

It's also gorgeous to behold -- he entire movie is bathed in the golden Riviera sun, with lots of swimming, fast car chases, elaborate costume balls, and ornate hotels. But Hitchcock winds it up with a genuinely tense rooftop chase, complete with wrestling and gunshots.

Grant is a bit grizzled (and VERY overtanned) here, but still dapper and charming enough for Robie, a thief with principles and a taste for the good life. Kelly is also quite good as an heiress who is less prim than she appears; John Williams and Jessie Royce Landis have fun supporting roles as a "veddy veddy English" insurance man and a shrewd rich woman.

"To Catch A Thief" is a warm, sumptuous piece of classic film, with great dialogue and even better acting. Fun, stylish little mystery
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on 26 September 2012
I have just received this blu ray and felt compelled to write a quick review, not of the movie this has already been covered but of the blu ray product itself....I am not sure where some of the reviewers on here get their information but I can confirm that the UK edition has all 11 of the extras listed by Amazon.

I nearly cancelled this to buy the US version as I wanted the extras, I am so glad I did not.

Believe me you do not need to purchase the US version as this has it all.

The picture quality is as excellent as expected, if you love this movie do yourself a favour and buy this you will not be dissapointed.
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It would be fair to say that this is somewhat mediocre by Hitchcock standards, but the fact is mediocre for him is still a class act by anyone else's yardstick.
Cary Grant plays an ex cat burglar, who is accused of a string of jewel robberies in the French Riviera where he has retired. He decides to catch the thief in order to clear his own name, and latches onto the next likely victim, a wealthy American and her daughter - Grace Kelly.
For a Hitchcock movie, there are not so many surprises - you can see the ending coming long before it arrives, and the set pieces are not as spectacular as usual.. the thief catching is really just the Maguffin needed to capture some sparkling interplay between the charismatic Grant and the luminous Grace Kelly. It is the word play and even sexual tension that keep the film a favourite. The innuendo in the scene where Grace Kelly is urging Cary Grant to reach out and stroke and caress her...err... diamonds.. is superb, albeit a little undone by the over the top splicing with the fireworks outside - as amusing as that idea is.
Grant plays the charismatic and lithe ex burglar known as `the cat' in typical Grant mode, and Kelly is take-your-breath-away stunning in her Edith head costumes - as movie-star like as it is possible to be.
Some aspects seem dated - the back projection driving scenes, the studio bound house and water scenes.. however, Cannes and Nice are up there on display, making the Riviera as much a character as the stars, and the photography, as always in Hitch's movies, is gorgeous and richly coloured.
It has neither the edge, the suspense or the complexity of themes of Hitch's later work, but is an enjoyable piece of easy to watch fluff, that bears repeated viewings thanks to the director's flair, his stars luminescence and the sparkling interplays between them.
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VINE VOICEon 6 October 2007
Years ago John Robie (Cary Grant) decided that it was better to live rich than poor. So he became a joule thief. He was pretty good at his trade. His ability and modus operandi of sneaking along roof tops gave him the title of "The Cat". However he a war came up and he was an iatrical art of the resistance. This and the promise to give up his thieving ways allowed him to go free and enjoy the proceeds from his ill-gotten ways.

Well it looks like "The Cat" has stuck again. Robie can only clear himself by finding the "Copy Cat." To help he enlists some old friends, an insurance investigator, and some new friends/or maybe victims.

So did he really do it and trying to blame it on someone else?
Why would anyone after all these years want to frame him?

This movie can become a favorite as even when you know the outcome you will watch it again for the action and interaction of the different characters. Then you will also look for clues that are now obvious but missed the first time.
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on 24 January 2003
This has to be one of my all-time favourite films. Hitchcock was at his best shooting a witty scrip, full of action, suspense and sexual innuendos. Cary Grant protraits a reform jewel thief wrongly accused of theft who sets to prove his innocence. Grace Kelly is set on getting him. Shot partially on location in the french riviera, it still stands today as a great comedy.
The DVD edition of the film is actually quite good. For the first time you can see the film in widescreen, allowing you to actually see the Hitchcock cameo. The extras are good enough and include a making of and a couple of smaller featurettes. The film has subtitles in 24 different languages and several of these (if not all) are also available in extras. This is a great DVD edition of a classic film.
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on 17 February 2015
TO CATCH A THIEF [1954] [Blu-ray] [US Import] Its Hitchcock . . . It’s Monte Carlo . . . Its Cary Grant and Grace Kelly!

The French Riviera…two luminous stars Grace Kelly and Cary Grant and the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, behind the camera. They all add up to one romantic, dazzling screen thriller for the first time on his Blu-ray edition. Cary Grant plays John Robie, a retired jewel thief once known as “The Cat,” who catches the eye of Frances Stevens [Grace Kelly] a pampered, vacationing heiress. But when a new rash of gem thefts occurs amongst the luxury hotels of the spectacular French Riviera playground, it appears the “The Cat” is on the prowl again. Is John Robie truly reformed? Or is he deviously using Frances Stevens to gain access to the tempting collection of fabulous jewellery belonging to her Mother [Jessie Royce Landis]? Romance sparks fly as the suspense builds in this glittering Alfred Hitchcock classic that nabbed and OSCAR® for Best Cinematography.

FILM FACT: The film won an Academy Award® and was nominated in another two categories. Won: Best Cinematography for Robert Burks. Nominated: Best Art Direction for Hal Pereira, Joseph McMillan Johnson, Samuel M. Comer and Arthur Krams. Best Costume Design for Edith Head. This was Alfred Hitchcock's first of five films in the widescreen process VistaVision and the final film with Grace Kelly. The film also led to another successful collaboration with Cary Grant, the 1959 classic ‘North by Northwest,’ and also about a man with a mistaken identity who goes on a breakneck adventure to prove his innocence. The costumes were by Edith Head, including Grace Kelly's memorable golden gown for the film's costume ball. Alfred Hitchcock makes his signature cameo approximately ten minutes in as a bus passenger sitting next to Cary Grant.

Cast: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis, John Williams, Charles Vanel, Brigitte Auber, Jean Martinelli, Georgette Anys, George Adrian (uncredited), John Alderson (uncredited), Martha Bamattre (uncredited), René Blancard (uncredited), Eugene Borden (uncredited), Nina Borget (uncredited), John Breen (uncredited), Jack Chefe (uncredited), Frank Chelland (uncredited), Reinie Costello (uncredited), William 'Wee Willie' Davis (uncredited), Guy De Vestel (uncredited), Lala Detolly (uncredited), Bess Flowers (uncredited), Art Gilmore (Trailer Narrator (voice) uncredited) and Alfred Hitchcock (uncredited)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Producer: Alfred Hitchcock

Screenplay: John Michael Hayes, Alec Coppel (contributing writer) and David Dodge (based on the novel)

Composer: Lyn Murray

Cinematography: Robert Burks

Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 [VistaVision]

Audio: English: 2.0 Dolby TrueHD Stereo, English: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, French: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono and Portuguese: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese

Running Time: 106 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: It takes a thief to catch a thief. That's the old saying, anyhow. And that's the thesis Alfred Hitchcock is exhibiting in his new mystery thriller-romance at the Paramount. With Cary Grant playing the catcher and Grace Kelly playing, well, we won't say! ‘To Catch a Thief’ comes off completely as a hit in the old Hitchcock style. We're not saying much about Miss Grace Kelly, other than to observe that she is cool, exquisite and superior as a presumably rich American girl traveling with her mother in Europe in a quest (her mother says) of a man. To say more might tip you as to whether she is what you suspect her to be the jewel thief whom Cary Grant is stalking through the lush gambling-rooms and gilded chambers of French Riviera villas, casinos and hotels.

Well from the start of the film it keeps you guessing whether he is the slick cat-burglar, because he says he is out to touch in his previous slick cat-burglar days and that is where Alfred Hitchcock keeps you on tender hook. And vows to help an insurance man from Lloyds of London. What with his being an acknowledged old gem thief, living in a villa high above Cannes and chumming with a covey of ex-convicts, he could be almost anything. He's the fellow who genuinely tries to use his own knowledge of being a cat-burglary to nab the thief who has been terrorising Cannes and causing hysterics and conniptions among the always ineffectual police. But then there are enough other suspects, especially ex-convicts, French thugs and pretty girls, not to mention that nervous Lloyds of London fellow.

Other memorable scenes from ‘To Catch A Thief’ include the elaborate costume ball which Alfred Hitchcock wanted to film merely to showcase Grace Kelly's shimmering gold gown and Cary Grant's unmasking of the thief on the rooftop. "John Michael Hayes recalled that, during the filming of the final rooftop sequence, Hitchcock summoned him up to the high scaffolding, "Look at them all down there," the director said to his writer, "They think we're discussing something important or profound. But I only wanted to find out whether you're as frightened of heights as I am." (From “The Dark Side of Hitchcock”).

In his accustomed manner, Alfred Hitchcock has gone at this job with an omnivorous eye for catchy details and a dandy John Michael Hayes script. Most of his visual surprises are fantastic, spectacular vistas along the breath-taking Cote d'Azur. As no one has ever done before him, and especially Alfred Hitchcock has used that famous coast to form a pictorial backdrop that fairly yanks your eyes out of your head. Almost at the start, he gives you an automobile chase along roads that wind through cliff-hanging, seaside villages. The surprise is that it is seen from the air! If you have ever been on the Riviera, the images you view look totally brilliant, especially in the awesome Technicolor and VistaVision, splashed on that giant screen.

The script and the actors keep things popping along at a fast pace, in a fast, slick, sophisticated vein. Cary Grant and Miss Grace Kelly do us proud, especially in one sly seduction scene. If you've never heard double-entendre, you will hear it in this film. As the chap from Lloyds of London, John Williams is delightfully anxious and very dry, and Jessie Royce Landis is most amusing as Miss Kelly's low-down American mother. Brigitte Auber is fetching and funny as a frightfully forward French girl, and Charles Vanel has the air of a rascal as a local restaurateur. The direction, of course, is up to the usual high standards of Hitchcock. The film is expertly paced, with just enough jolts interspersed with the comedy to remind the audience that it is, after all, viewing an Alfred Hitchcock film. As Hitchcock himself has admitted, ‘To Catch A Thief’ has be entitled a "lightweight story," at least compared to such thrillers as ‘Strangers On A Train’ [1951], ‘Rear Window’ [1954] and ‘Psycho’ [1960], to name a few of the film's approximate contemporaries. But a lightweight story in the hands of Alfred Hitchcock does not necessarily make for an inconsequential film. ‘To Catch A Thief’ is an outstanding comedy, highlighted by the acting of Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and John Landis, and the Academy Award® winning cinematography of Robert Burks.

Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘To Catch a Thief’ is presented on a Blu-ray disc, with a stunning 1080p encoded image and with an also stunning 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This Blu-ray, in many ways, is like watching ‘To Catch a Thief’ for the very first time. Never have the colours looked this amazing, all of them popping off the screen with shocking electricity that blew my mind. Black levels are striking and strong throughout, clarity borders on perfection and while the age of the print is evident in a handful of scenes by and large Paramount’s restoration of the negative is beyond outstanding.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – There is only so much you can do with many soundtracks of this era. The 2.0 Dolby TrueHD Stereo offers a clearl upfront presentation, however, given the other available soundtrack options, this is as good as it gets. Dialogue, an essential component to the realisation of this film, is crisp and clear. Not to worry, I did not miss the surround effects or throbbing low frequency sound waves. ‘To Catch a Thief’ does not need any of these elements to get its point across.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Audio Commentary: Commentary from Dr. Drew Casper, Professor of American Film and Hitchcock Film Historian: Alfred Hitchcock Film Historian [effete] Dr. Drew Casper, often sounding as if reading his comments, discusses the VistaVision process, the score, the colour palette, shooting locales, Hitchcock's career and style, the specific technical merits of the shoot and the work and make-up of the cast, and even going so far in-depth to discuss how a slight angling of the credits, combined with their colour, suggests the film's duality between light and bubbly motifs and darker elements.

Special Feature: A Night with the Hitchcocks [2008] [1080p] [16:9] [23:20] Footage of the Question and Answer session with Mary Stone [Granddaughter of Alfred Hitchcock], Patricia Hitchcock [Daughter of Alfred Hitchcock] and Dr Drew Casper filmed at the University of Southern California in 2008, with an introduction by Elizabeth Daley, who is the Dean at the School of Cinematic Arts.

Special Feature: Unacceptable Under the Code: Film Censorship in America [2009] [1080p/480i] [16:9] [11:48] Here we get to see people like Dr. Richard Jewell [Hefner Professor of American Film at the University of Southern California], Dr, Drew Casper [Professor of American Film of the University of Southern California], and Del Reisman [Former President of the Writers Guild of America, West] talk about Censorship in the American Cinema and how the Will Hayes Code came in and how Alfred Hitchcock fooled the censors with the sexual innuendoes in the film ‘To Catch A Thief’ and was totally blatant about it.

Special Feature: Writing and Casting To Catch a Thief [2002] [480i] [4:3] [9:03] Participating in this documentary are Patricia Hitchcock [Daughter of Alfred Hitchcock], Mary Stone [Granddaughter of Alfred Hitchcock], and Steven DeRosa [Author of “Writing with Hitchcock”] discuss how ‘To Catch A Thief’ was brought to the screen, especially how the script was altered many times from its initial draft, especially the censors objection to the sexual references and the cost to sections of the film that were dropped from the finished film.

Special Feature Documentary: The Making of To Catch a Thief [2002] [480i] [4:3] [16:53] With this insightful documentary, people like Mary Stone [Granddaughter of Alfred Hitchcock], Doc Erickson [Production Manager], Steven DeRosa [Author of “Writing with Hitchcock”] and Sylvette Baudrot [Continuity/France] talk about how the film evolved, especially the choice of location in the South of France, that Alfred Hitchcock and family use to holiday regular. It also informs you why they chose the actors, script editor, technical experts and composer, in bringing Alfred Hitchcock film to the silver screen.

Special Feature: Behind the Gates: Cary Grant and Grace Kelly [2009] [1080p] [16:9] [16:12] Participation in this feature are A. C. Lyles [Producer] and Richard Schickel [Film Historian] who inform us whay cary grant and Grace Kelly were chosen for ‘To Catch A Thief’ and how the camera captured the magic allure of these two actors. One interesting fact brought to our attention, is that this was the last film Grace Kelly ever did, because after this she married the Prince of Monaco.

Special Feature: Alfred Hitchcock and To Catch a Thief: An Appreciation [2002] [480i] [4:3] [7:32] Here we get to see a nice informal insight with Patricia Hitchcock [Daughter of Alfred Hitchcock], Mary Stone [Granddaughter of Alfred Hitchcock] and Sylvette Baudrot [Continuity/France] who give us very personal information about the private life of Alfred Hitchcock and how he had brilliant naughty humour, and also why he chose South of France and of course as I have mention earlier, the whole family use to love to go on holiday in the that part of France where ‘To Catch A Thief’ was filmed. But what is also very nice is that we get to see Alfred Hitchcock’s private home movies.

Special Feature: Edith Head: The Paramount Years [2002] [480i] [4:3] [13:44] Here is another very nice personal documentary about the famous Hollywood clothes designer and is told with great affection by the likes of David Chierichetti [Edith Head’s Biographer], Tzeti Ganeu [Head of the Custom-Made department of Western Costume], Bob Mackie [Fashion Designer] and Rosemary Clooney [Actress] who talk in great detail why Edith head became Paramount’s top clothes designer and how Edith Head was so good at making the actors look good, and especially the male actors, who Edith Head preferred to design clothes for.

Special Feature: Interactive Travelogue Feature: If You Love To Catch Thief, You’ll Love This [1080p] [16:9/4:3] With this Interactive Travelogue Feature, you get to see the via a map of the South of France where each actual location of the film was shot and all you have to do is press ENTER on your remote where the cross is located on the map and what you get is a brief description via a voice over of the actual location where ‘To Catch A Thief’ was filmed.

Theatrical Trailer: This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for ‘To Catch A Thief’ [1080p] [1.78:1] [2:12]

Special Feature: Galleries [1080p] This is in four separate categories and they consist of:

1. Movie: Here you get to see 33 black-and-white prestige publicity shots from the film, and mainly of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.

2. Publicity: Here you get to see 11 black-and-white studio images, mainly of the actors from the film set in set publicity promotional photographs.

3. Visitors To The Set: This time you get to see other famous stars visiting the film set and they consist of 14 black-and-white images. Under certain photographs you get yellow typeface wording describing who the stars were and what is happening in that particular photograph.

4. Production: Here we get to see 72 black-and-white rare informal publicity images around the Paramount Studio and in South of France. Once again under certain photographs you get a yellow typeface wording describing who the stars were and what is happening in that particular photograph.

Finally, ‘To Catch a Thief’ is one great watch. Grace Kelly made very few films and retired a year after shooting this film, following her marriage to Prince Rainier. Monaco’s gain was Hollywood’s loss since Grace Kelly shows an unerring comedic talent and luminous screen presence. Co-star Cary Grant has deft control of the leading man persona and takes to comedy like a duck to water. Considering what passes for comic presentation in today’s cinema, he delivers a performance that should be mandatory viewing for all aspiring actors. There is also something to be said for clever, articulate dialogue without profanity or incoherence as the give-and-take between Cary Grant and Grace Kelly amply demonstrates. Also finding out why Director Alfred Hitchcock’s knew how to make all aspects of this film come together and exploits the scenic landscape for all that its worth. But first and foremost, this film reminds us that film-making is a visual art form. In this regard, Paramount Pictures centennial celebration is well served by this brilliant Blu-ray reissue of ‘To Catch a Thief.’ Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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on 5 April 2012
This film is pure tongue in cheek opulence and style, and no doubt we all would love to be either of the characters played by Grant and Kelly (depending on your gender).

Hitchcock has created an adventure catalogue of life on the French Riviera that still draws you to that holiday style, that dream of adventure and fun.

And one of Hitchcock's principal leading men, an aging but still virile Cary Grant (the other being James Stewart), plays the handsome debonair playboy/ reformed jewel thief with an aplomb few other actors would get away with (no doubt this was the template for Robert Wagner's fine TV series 'It Takes a Thief').

And then there is that very beautiful, stylish and clever actress Grace Kelly (what a loss to film audiences when she soon after married that Monaco prince like some fairytale princess of yore). Few actresses had the stylish grace (excuse the pun) of this very attractive thespian, who was one damn good actress as well. Who can forget her memorable performance alongside James Stewart in Rear Window.

But this film is about glamour, that imagined holiday we all crave for. The sights of the Riviera are all given full coverage...the opulence of the hotel suites, the sun drenched beach scenes, the romantic picnic overlooking a spectacular coastal vista, the fun fast car chases utilising every spectacular scene in the hills, the castle like residences and park lands, the scenic speed boat scene giving us full view of the beautiful coastline, the luscious party scenes and attire, the chaotic market scenes and of course that wondrous residence Robie lives in atop a spectacular scenic hillside. Dont you just want to be one of the characters.

And then there's the fun of the chase, the quiry characters, the roof top struggle to finish it off. And who can forget so many of the clever, though at times predictable, witty one liners that have you joining in with the fun. Because that is what this film is all about. This is a romantic's fun adventure holiday dream made in film and it does it so well...so polished.

Hitchcock has created here the ultimate adventure travelogue and its little wonder at the end when Grace Kelly's character whilst embraced by Grant turns and looks about his home and says 'Mother will love this place'. We all would given the chance.
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Alfred Hitchcock made two kinds of movies: bone-chilling thrillers that looked into the dark side of human nature, and witty adventure stories.

"To Catch A Thief" is a sterling example of the latter kind of movie -- a chic, sleek, golden-tinted caper, full of witty dialogue and solid acting from legendary actors. Despite the taut action scenes, Hitchcock makes it feel almost like a cinematic vacation.

Paul Robie (Cary Grant) was "The Cat," the most notorious jewel thief in Europe, before he retired. But now impossible heists -- made in Robie's style -- are popping up all over Cannes, and he's the immediate suspect. Narrowly escaping the police, he enlists a friend to help him clear his name by capturing this new Cat.

To do that, he masquerades as an American tourist, and gets to know pretty oil heiress Frances Stevens (Grace Kelly) and her mother. But when the Stevens jewels are stolen, Frances brings the cops down on Robie -- and now he is more desperate than ever to find the Cat, because he suspects it's an old friend...

Hitchcock was in fine form with "To Catch a Thief," especially since he had two great actors in the mix. Granted this isn't one of his more insightful or suspenseful movies, but it captures a sense of sly wit and fun instead.

If "To Catch A Thief" has a problem, it's that astute viewers will be able to guess who the Cat is after about a half hour, maximum. But fortunately viewers can be distracted by Hitchcock's knack for razor-sharp dialogue ("What do you say?" "My only comment would be highly censorable") and double entendres (during an intimate lunch, Francie asks, "You want a leg or a breast?").

It's also gorgeous to behold -- he entire movie is bathed in the golden Riviera sun, with lots of swimming, fast car chases, elaborate costume balls, and ornate hotels. But Hitchcock winds it up with a genuinely tense rooftop chase, complete with wrestling and gunshots.

Grant is a bit grizzled (and VERY overtanned) here, but still dapper and charming enough for Robie, a thief with principles and a taste for the good life. Kelly is also quite good as an heiress who is less prim than she appears; John Williams and Jessie Royce Landis have fun supporting roles as a "veddy veddy English" insurance man and a shrewd rich woman.

"To Catch A Thief" is a warm, sumptuous piece of classic film, with great dialogue and even better acting. Fun, stylish little mystery.
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The tourists along the French Riviera are being robbed of their valuable jewelry. And the robberies have all the trademarks of notorious jewel thief John Robie (Cary Grant). There's just one problem, John retired years ago after serving time in prison and the French underground. But the police won't take his word for it and are insisting he's returned to his old ways.

So John decides that the only way to clear his name is to find the real burglar. Working closely with insurance man Hughson (John Williams) he attempts to pick the next victim so he can catch the burglar. And he settles on Jessie Stevens (Jessie Royce Landis) and her daughter Frances (Grace Kelly). But Frances turns out to be more of a distraction then the bachelor John counted on. Will he succumb to temptation? And will he catch the thief?

Those looking for a typical Hitchcock thriller will be highly disappointed. Yes, there's a bit of a mystery here, but it is pretty light. Instead, the middle segment is devoted to the budding relationship between John and Frances. And it is a complete hoot. I was laughing so hard at some of the lines. And they got away with some pretty suggestion comments, too. Frankly, I was disappointed when the movie went back to focusing on the mystery, although it was a satisfying ending.

And I have to mention the scenery. It was filmed on location. I'm ready to hop the next plane to see the French Riviera myself.

This may be lighter then Hitchcock's normal fair, but it is plenty fun. Sit back and get ready to enjoy a good film.
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*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2012 BLU RAY REISSUE ***

When 1955's "To Catch A Thief" was relaunched on DVD back in 2007 with a full frame-by-frame Lowry Digital Restoration (the company is now known as Reliance MediaWorks) - fans of the film were quietly blown away by the work done on the print. Like "North By Northwest" (that other great Hitchcock/Grant collaboration cleaned up by the same much-praised process) - "Catch" looked stupendous - beautifully clean vibrant colour - and it came with a nice slew of new complimentary extras.

This 2012 BLU RAY reissue of it is no different - a truly gorgeous looking film finally given the format it deserves. In fact there are moments in this transfer that must surely rate as BLU RAY 'restoration benchmarks' - the clean up seeing Robert Burks' original colour cinematography shine like a diamond. Burks and his team (who had framed "Rear Window" for Hitch the year before) pulled an Oscar for their work on "To Catch A Thief" - and would go on to provide Hitchcock with the same filmic magic on "Vertigo" (1958), "North By Northwest" (1959), "The Birds" (1963) and "Marnie" (1964).

"To Catch A Thief" is presently an American issue on BLU RAY (Paramount 14637) but it's due in the UK in July 2012. If you can't wait and want the US version - the good news is that it's NOT REGION-CODED so it'll play in all players. It comes in a card wrap sleeve (which the British issue won't) and features a full compliment of extras including a few new bits over the 2007 DVD issue (see list below).

The film itself is the stuff of legend - a testament to clever scriptwriting, Director grit, meticulous planning and sheer leading man and woman starpower. Battling censorship groups and prudish bosses - Hitch used his brilliant scriptwriter JOHN MICHAEL HAYES to adapt David Dodge's book and construct a screenplay positively bristling with salacious suggestion. For this he needed sex - or more accurately - implied sex. So we get lines like "What you need is two weeks with a good man in Niagara Falls..." (a famous Honeymoon destination of the time where newlyweds rarely left their chalets) or Grace Kelly offering Cary Grant some chicken from the picnic basket "You want a leg of a breast?" Cary smirks and gives the perfect double-entendre reply. "You make the choice..."

Even something as innocuous to us now as sunbathing on a sandy beach was fraught with moral degradation then. The powers-that-be feared bikinis - so Hitch had Grace wear a full bathing suit to get around their protestations. BUT when he came to shoot the scene, she sexily rubs in suntan oil into her elegant bare arms. You don't notice her passion-killer swimsuit much after that. Or even when they eventually kiss in the darkened bedroom towards the end - it cuts to fireworks in the background to suggest explosions of a more human kind. And yet precisely because both the writer and Hitch had to be so devious - the film is so much better for it. "To Catch A Thief" may be considered by some to be lightweight Hitchcock - but it's bloody entertaining fluff and was hugely racy for its time. Alfred Hitchcock knew that suggestion was more potent than showing - and his audience had a far more active imagination that any Committee of Impeccable Moral Turpitude.

Hitchcock also loved his leading ladies - and few came more gobsmacking than Grace Kelly. Beautiful, sophisticated and (like her name) graceful in every way - she was the very epitome of Golden-Girl Fifties chic. What most hadn't expected however was that underneath all the glacial glamour lurked an out-an-out sexpot (she apparently devoured men in real life and of course married an actual Prince a year later). So combined with the legendary Hollywood costumer Edith Head - and the loaded lines - you got the gorgeous Grace Kelly both looking and sounding ravishing.

Then of course came Hitchcock's other weapon of choice - the debonair Cary Grant. Cary plays John Robie - a retired jewel thief and burglar of 15-years affectionately known as "The Cat" because of his acts of agility when making house withdrawals. Someone who knows his methods starts robbing jewels from rich ladies elsewhere - and it isn't long before the finger of blame comes calling to Robie in his French retirement home in the hills. Robie must go to Cannes (where the robberies are) - and confront some of his old 'Resistance' mates (even if some of them want him dead) - a thief sent 'to catch a thief'. And on the story goes...

Grant was 50 in 1954 and almost in semi-retirement - feeling that his public no longer wanted him - while Kelly (who was just 25) had worked with Hitchcock on "Dial M For Murder" and "Rear Window" in the previous year and become Hitch's new go-to girl. Hitch was keen to ally this rising female star with a suitable male match and game material that would enhance both - and after a persuasive dinner - he got Cary on board. And it worked a treat. Despite his advanced years and her youth - they seemed like Tracy and Hepburn - Bogey and Bacall - a completely believable couple. The film was a huge hit with the public (and still is) - largely due to the great script and their explosive onscreen chemistry...

Jessie Royce Landis provided much of the comedy as the meddling mother and the gamine French actress Brigitte Auber played the other possible love interest - the young wilful Danielle with a soft spot for the suave John Robie. Solid dependable accomplice was played by John Williams - a Lloyds of London Insurance agent willing to give Robie what information he needs - if it means he can get his clients stolen jewels back. And all of it leads to a rooftop finale in the dark with a clever twist in its rather elegant tail...

BLU RAY highlights include the market and flowers sequence - Kelly walking through the Hotel corridors in knockout off the shoulder dresses - Grant in the water by the pontoon - Robie trying to explain his innocence to the Chief of Police (Charles Varnell couldn't speak good English so you will notice that his entire performance is overdubbed) - and many more. Even the opening sequence that focuses on the window of a travel agent is gorgeous.

To sum up - if you're a fan and your soft machine flutters at the thought of "To Catch A Thief" and its delicious naughtiness - then you must own it on BLU RAY.

As Elin said on the 18th fairway to her faithful husband - is that a Redwood in your trousers Tiger - or are you just pleased to see me. Oh stop it...

BLU RAY Specifications:
PICTURE: 1080p High Definition (Full Frame)
AUDIO: English 2.0 Stereo Dolby TrueHD, English Mono Dolby TrueHD, French Mono Dolby Digital, Spanish Mono Dolby Digital, Portuguese Mono Dolby Digital
SUBTITLES: English, English SDH (Deaf And Hard Of Hearing), French, Spanish and Portuguese

EXTRAS:
1. Feature-Length Commentary by Dr. Drew Casper - Hitchcock Film Historian
2. A Night With The Hitchcocks (Drew Casper introduces Patricia Hitchcock (his daughter) and her daughter Mary Stone to an audience of film students in Nov 2008 to discuss their father and grandfather's movies) (23 minutes) ** NEW **
3. Unacceptable Under The Code: Film Censorship in Hollywood (discusses how movies were made in such repressive times - 12 minutes) **NEW**
4. Writing And Casting To Catch A Thief (9 minutes)
5. The Making of To Catch A Thief
6. Behind The Gates: Cary Grant and Grace Kelly (6 minutes)
7. Alfred Hitchcock and To Catch A Thief: An Appreciation (Home movies of Hitch and family - 7:30 minutes)
8. Edith Head: The Paramount Years (14 minutes on the legendary costumer)
9. If You Love To Catch A Thief - You'll Love This Interactive Travelogue (a map of Southern France allows you to pick out the villas and locations used in the film)
10. Theatrical Trailer
11. Galleries

PS: Hitchcock's "The Birds" is due later in 2012 - fully restored - and part of Universal's "100th Anniversary" celebrations - see my review for "To Kill A Mockingbird"

PPS: for other superb BLU RAY reissues (including full restorations) - see also my reviews for:
"The Italian Job", "Saturday Night, Sunday Morning", "The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner", "North By Northwest", "Cool Hand Luke", "The Dambusters", "The Prisoner - The Complete (UK TV) Series In High Definition", "Braveheart", "Snatch", "The Ladykillers", "The African Queen", "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", "Back To The Future Trilogy", "Brief Encounter", "The Blues Brothers", "All Quiet On The Western Front", "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "Kelly's Heroes"
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