Starring: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Running Time: 106 mins
To Catch A Thief is an American film about a notorious former jewel thief, John ‘The Cat’ Robie, who is accused of returning to a life of crime after a recent spate of thefts leaves the upper class community on the French Riviera devastated, leaving him to set out to prove his innocence.
This may have some of the best style you’ll see in a Hitchcock film, but it’s definitely not the most suspenseful or exhilarating story you’ll get from the master of suspense. It plays out too slowly, and descends into a situation where it emphasises too much on the romance, in a similar way to Notorious, than the crime thriller that was set out at the beginning.
On the plus side, this film is very elegant and good-looking. It’s one of Hitchcock’s earliest films to be shot in colour, and that really pays off, because you get to see the beauty of the setting of the French Riviera, as well as all of the slick wealth that the people live in, from the extravagant costume parties to the massive jewels that the women wear, it’s a great immersion in a world of class.
What’s more is that Cary Grant puts in a decent show as the main character. For the first half of the film, he makes his character as likeable as possible, without there being any revelation as to whether he is innocent, leaving you in two minds between supporting him and wanting him to face justice, making that part of the movie all the more exciting.
The problem with that is that we lose the excitement of following ‘The Cat”s desperate run along the Riviera to escape his pursuers, as everyone appears to be against him, in the second stage of the film when a romance takes hold, and becomes the focal point of the story, leaving it no longer as a thriller, but more so as a simple romantic drama.
As a result of that, the pacing slows down dramatically, with long dialogue sequences becoming more prevalent than the actual catching of the thief, which reduces the excitement levels significantly more the very long-winded final act, and although it ramps back up again to some degree at the climax, this part of the film is just not as enthralling as it needs to be.
Overall, this gets a 6.9, because despite a strong start and a good central performance, the fact that this film descends from a great crime thriller into a relatively boring romantic drama is simply not exciting enough.