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12/28/11

TO CATCH A THIEF - REVIEW


Never quite my favourite Hitchcock film, To Catch A Thief has nevertheless grown on me these past few years. Similarly in tone to North By Northwest, it always felt like a slight, silly effort from The Master.

And yet these days I find there's something irresistible about it.

This is probably THE most chilled-out whodunit you'll ever see: there's little to no hurry. Characters have long chats while driving down the sunny French coast, stop by to have picnics, go for a swim... It's one big, long holiday with a freakishly tanned Cary Grant at the heart of it playing a cat burglar trying to find a copy-cat burglar in order to clear his name.

But where the chillaxed nature of the film infuriated me as a kid, now I get the joke: take a typical Hitchock thriller and make it as lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek as possible, set the whole thing in the most inoffensive setting and get Cary Grant to wear horrible sweaters and scarves: voila!

To Catch A Thief never pretends to be anything more than a fun little ride. You've got a really silly Hitchcock cameo, ejaculating fireworks, Grace Kelly wearing no less than 9 dresses over the course of one day, violent old ladies, cats... it's a bit of harmless nonsense courtesy of a guy who, we know, has a pretty dark and twisted sense of humour.

Hence the ejaculating fireworks...

Grant is fun, Kelly's gorgeous, the film's involving without feeling heavy, urgent or entirely necessary. Make of that what you will: chances are you'll probably dismiss To Catch A Thief as one of The Master's lesser works much like I once did. But look at it for what it is, sit back, get your picnic basket out and you'll enjoy it I'm sure.

Slick, fun, silly, sexy, breezy, To Catch A Thief is by no means essential Hitchock but it's definitely worth a watch.

If only for those stripy sweaters.

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