Tuesday, August 11, 2020
To Catch a Thief (1955)
I'm a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock, and To Catch a Thief is an entry in his canon I was looking forward to when I first saw it. It seems the perfect marriage of all
John Robie is a retired cat burglar, and member of the French Resistance during the war. He's since = to his peaceful villa in the countryside but when a fresh spate of burglaries/thefts happen, all eyes point to Robie, alias The Cat. With his old Resistance buddies out for his blood, John must prove his innocence and catch the real thief, all while avoiding the advances of = socialite Francie...
To Catch a Thief is a very popular movie, and has lots of fans, so I'm probably treading on eggshells when I say I could not bloody stand it! I was expecting a mix of Charade and North by Northwest, with a dash of High Society, and it's not that the movie doesn't have familiar elements or themes from those =, but it does everything so poorly for me!
Where To Catch a Thief fell down for me, both 10 years ago when I last saw it, and now, is that it's a bit boring! The movie sets up this plot about thieves and people on the run, but then it just takes half an hour out to focus on the dating between John and Francie. I didn't necessarily mind the fugitive aspect being cut short, since it allows greater freedom for the characters, but the romance took over the plot in a greater way than I feel it should've.
The story is relatively thin, and it hurts that we don't see a lot of the players. We only really get to know John and Francie, plus her mum. The British insurance agent gets a little to do too. Everyone else though, from = Dominique to John's old Resistance pals, they're offscreen most of the time, and we never get to know the majority of them. I've gotta say, they're pretty shitty friends to so immediately assume John is the thief and try killing him!
John is a relatively good lead, heroic and sarcastic in good measure. He's fine enough. Francie is a bit mixed. She's annoying some scenes, bitchy in others, and good fun for the rest. All of these are intentional, but it can still be annoying when you find yourself disliking the main female character for much of the movie. Her mother in comparison is loads more fun! I thought she was a dear, and her relationship with John is great. The insurance agent is a fun addition too
Dominique is a little treasure, a typical feisty and sexy French girl. I was really disappointed with John for not banging her! She's hot, she adores you, and =, what's not to love! But nope, he spurns her and is instead interested in Francie, who's either pestering him for half the movie, or hating him for the other half. The romance between them does improve by the end, and Dominique is essentially phased out for much of the film. This helps the main romance, but not her character. I wanted to see her more!
The mystery of who's behind everything is a bit disappointing. There are three in all by the end. The first barely has any scenes, and dies offscreen, having done nothing we could see. I honestly had no idea who he even was. The third is literally mentioned at the last second, and we never see them after this revelation, so not only did I have no idea who he was, we never get to be reacquainted, get a good villain moment, or see him in defeat. The = just says "He did it!" and that's it for the story!
The main cat burglar is ok, though I was disappointed in their identity simply because I liked them so much. It's also a tad obvious after the funeral scene.
The climax of To Catch a Thief was a bit half-and-half. The build-up at the dance is s boringly filmed, I kept zoning out. Nothing happens! It's all just random stuff. When he action starts, it's a lot better. Suspenseful = in the dark = rooftops The encounter itself is a little unbalanced in terms of =, but since most of it is sneaking, it works well. The ending itself is amusingly romantic. Very brief, but sweet
The music in To Catch a Thief is ok I guess. I don't really remember much of it. It's perfectly decent, I'm sure, but nothing too memorable. The film understands silence well in some scenes, befitting the = tone, but other scenes are te opposite, a bit too quiet.
Lastly, the direction here is as great as you'd expect! Alfred Hitchcock frames scenes well, from suspense/danger to romance, and the location work is sunning some of the time
Overall,I just don't like To Catch a Thief. I'm a fan of most of Hitch's films, older and recent, but this isn't one of 'em...