The first time I saw Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief was when it was broadcast on national television in the mid-60s.
I was not impressed.
In fact, I got sleepy and went to bed before it was over. The next day I asked a classmate how it ended, and while she related the ending correctly, I misunderstood and had a skewed understanding of the movie for years afterwards.
Many years later I watched the movie again, and while I finally grokked the ending, I didn’t really enjoy it that much more.
So I approached the blu-ray edition of To Catch a Thief with caution, Hitchcock fan that I am.
I needn’t have worried. The movie is a delight from beginning to end.
So why didn’t I appreciate it when I was in high school?
Probably a few reasons.
First, it’s more of a comedy with a few thriller elements than the usual suspense-laden drama that Hitch typically served up.
Second, I don’t think I really appreciated all the double entendre dialogue that peppers the film in an effort to avoid the censorship problems of that era.
And finally, the delicate comedy of the flick probably couldn’t survive the frequent commercial interruptions of network TV.
Anyway, I’m happy to find that there is one more Hitchcock movie that I’ll be able to enjoy over and over again. From the lovely scenery of the French Riviera to the sparkling performances of Cary Grant (in his third Hitchcock role) and Grace Kelly (also her third and sadly final role in a Hitchcock flick), the movie shines from start to finish.
Even Hitchcock’s notorious dislike of eggs (eggs in a soufflé were fine; he just didn’t like fried eggs with their yolks sticking out) finds its expression in two great scenes.
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