To Catch a Thief
This 1955 Hitchcock thriller won an Oscar for Best Cinematography and although I don’t know what the competition was like, it’s not difficult to see why it won such an accolade. It is a beautifully shot movie; one where colours pop, where a three dimensional feel is so real that despite the fact that I was watching it on a cold wet winter afternoon in Ireland, is there any other type you might ask, the heat that radiated off the screen warmed me, and the cerulean water of the Mediterranean was so vivid and inviting, I began to wonder where my swimsuit was. Not that I’d necessarily want to find myself on the same beach as Grace Kelly,who sporting large, white-framed sunglasses, a chic headdress with matching lemon bathing suit, looks simply stunning. Edith Head was the film’s costume designer, need I say more? No, I didn’t think so. Anyway back to the movie. The basic plot is simple; a cat burglar is on the prowl and the police think it’s Cary Grant, who as a former jewel thief, is having a tough time proving his innocence. He embroils Kelly, or rather her jewels, as the bait to catch the mouse, or in this instance “The Cat”. Cue speeding cars, bumbling policemen and angry flower sellers.
Grant and Kelly look good together and despite the age gap, she was 26 he was 51, there is some sizzle, some actual sexual tension, between them which is not often the case in old movies.
Grant’s wardrobe rivals Kelly’s and although he is usually too sauve, too clean cut for me, there is something very appealing about him in this role. Maybe it is all the fancy footwork on the darkened rooftops, maybe it is the tanned, toned body emerging Aphrodite-like from the azure waters of the Riviera. Perhaps it was Kelly, who he admitted was his all-time favourite actress to work with, or Hitchcock who said of Grant that he was ‘the only actor I have ever loved in my whole life’. Suffice to say after watching it if you were not a Grant fan you will become one, and if you are one already , you’ll just feel smug and further convinced of your own superior taste. And Kelly, well she’s sublime and certainly lives up to her as title of the ‘most elegant woman in cinematic history’.
So pour a glass of white wine, a sauvignon blanc perhaps?, sit back and escape to the French Riviera; to glorious sunshine, shimmering blues and sparkling gems.