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To Catch a Thief

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. US. 1955. NR. 106 minutes. Paramount. 35mm.
Sun., February 3, 2013

Many fans of Alfred Hitchcock’s work consider the 1950s to have been his most productive and creative period. One possible reason that his films of that time were so popular may have been his excellent usage of the new wide-screen technology that was being made available, in part as a means of drawing people back to the theaters and away from their TV sets. And, indeed, his movies made in the wide VistaVision format are truly impressive in scope, as you can see this month, when we show some of his greatest on the Colonial’s really big screen.

With To Catch a Thief, Hitchcock used the VistaVision format to emphasize and enhance his color photography of the picturesque French Riviera. Starring Cary Grant (at his most handsome and nimble) and Grace Kelly (at her loveliest and most seductive), this is one of Hitch’s most scenic films. Grant stars as a former jewel thief (known as “The Cat”) suspected by the Monte Carlo police (and Grace) of having recently staged several daring cat burglaries. On the way to finding the real cat burglar, Cary must deal with pulse-pounding car chases along the scenic cliffs of Monte Carlo, perilous rooftop pursuits, chic costume balls, and the advances of the cool and sexy Miss Kelly. During the filming of this lively romantic comedy/mystery is, of course, when Grace met and fell in love with her future husband, Prince Rainier of Monaco. The rest, as they say, is history. (Bill Roth)