To Catch a Thief

To Catch a Thief ★★★★

I fell hard for Hitchcock in my early teens and devoured all his movies, and I remember eagerly renting this one from the local video shop. The dream pairing of Grant and Kelley in a Hitchcock thriller about jewelry theft in the South of France promised dynamite, but for some reason it came off rather muted and awkward to me at fifteen. Watching it today for the first time in decades I can see that I missed how much Hitch put into the aesthetics of this movie, more so than maybe any of his others. The plot is nothing notable and the suspense is relatively meager, but Hitch shot the thing like a gorgeous postcard. The deep, clean technicolor hues, particularly the purple and green set lighting in the second half of the film, are applied with painterly bravado. Of course the palettes accentuate the otherworldly beauty of the director’s two leads—it’s hard to imagine a physically handsomer couple in Hollywood history. It’s one of the rare times when the form itself is so refined it matters more than the content.

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