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Fun in the Sun: Excitement on the French Riviera in Alfred Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief" (1955)

Posted on the 18 May 2022 by Lady Eve @TheLaydeeEve
Sun: Excitement French Riviera Alfred Hitchcock's Catch Thief

Romance, adventure and intrigue, plus dashing Cary Grant and delectable Grace Kelly. All of this along with a tour of the French Riviera courtesy of Alfred Hitchcock. Who could resist such high style fun in the sun - and moonlight?

Sun: Excitement French Riviera Alfred Hitchcock's Catch ThiefWhat rapidly turns into an adventure begins with a mundane shot of a sedate travel agency where a colorful poster in its window proclaims, "If you love life, you'll love France." The scenario shifts quickly, plunging into the poster image of the Riviera and then, suddenly, to the face of a middle-aged woman who is screaming frantically as she discovers her jewels have been stolen. Running to the sea-view balcony of her hotel suite she cries out over the Promenade des Anglais, "Help, help, police!"  It soon comes out that the Riviera has lately been plagued by a rash of robberies all having the earmarks of a legendary jewel thief, now retired, by the name of John Robie (Cary Grant), once known as "the Cat."Sun: Excitement French Riviera Alfred Hitchcock's Catch ThiefA lighthearted thriller, To Catch a Thief blends mystery and romance with a breathless romp through the South of France and the Principality of Monaco. It's a wonderful ride that takes off when the local police speed to John Robie's home in the hills of the Cote d'Azur to question him. The one-time jewel thief has been living a quiet, simple-but-elegant life at his villa, the Villa des Bijoux, in the village of Saint-Jeannet, but his tranquility is about to be shattered...Sun: Excitement French Riviera Alfred Hitchcock's Catch Thief
During his years as a "cat burglar," Robie mastered the art of the stealthy entrance and exit, and so when the police arrive he creates a diversion and slips out his bedroom window to avoid further grilling and possible arrest. Now he is intent on discovering who is copycatting his well known modus operandi.
Sun: Excitement French Riviera Alfred Hitchcock's Catch ThiefMaking his way to the Riviera, Robie first seeks out a gang of cronies who work at Bertani's restaurant on the Quai Antoine ter. Bertani (Charles Vanel) and staff are, like Robie, former thieves and crooks who fought together in the resistance during World War II. Robie is hoping to get some support and possible guidance, but gets nothing but grief from this surly crew. A clever fellow, John Robie is not one to run out of ideas. He checks in with the daughter (Brigitte Auber) of one of Bertoni's men - to no avail - and then solicits help from H.H. Hughson (John Williams), an insurance man from Lloyds of London desperate to see the jewel robberies come to an end. Through Hughson, Robie meets the wealthy Stevens women, sleek blonde Francie (Grace Kelly) and her lovely, no-nonsense mother (Jessie Royce Landis), a woman with a collection of very fine jewelry.Sun: Excitement French Riviera Alfred Hitchcock's Catch Thief

From the Monte Carlo Harbour to Nice's Cours Saleya flower market, to the Hotel Carlton International and its beaches, the cliffs of the village of Beausoleil and the ballroom of the Chateau de la Croix-des-Gardes, every vista in every direction is spectacular. And as this fabulous travelogue unfolds, a mystery is gradually solved and a romance blooms.

Sun: Excitement French Riviera Alfred Hitchcock's Catch Thief

Some have called To Catch a Thief  'Hitchcock light.' Perhaps, but I would liken its lightness to the sensations of buoyancy and effervescence one experiences with a glass or two of good champagne. In fact, To Catch a Thief and champagne make splendid companions on a balmy afternoon or evening when fun-and-a-movie is on the menu.
Sun: Excitement French Riviera Alfred Hitchcock's Catch Thief


This is my entry for the Classic Movie Blog Assn.'s Fun in the Sun Spring Blogathon

Sun: Excitement French Riviera Alfred Hitchcock's Catch Thief

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