Sunday, November 09, 2008

Grant at his Grandest

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. The French Riviera. A comedy by Hitchcock. Those first three gems are enough to make a stunning picture. But even that last, unlikely component -- a Hitchcock comedy ends up making this piece the crown jewel on several already luminary careers in 1955's To Catch a Thief.

Cary Grant, to this day, exemplifies the dashing, suave, charming, and handsome leading man. His X factor was always off the charts, and he sure could deliver witty, wry comedy. But as retired jewel thief John "the cat" Robie, his carefree, cavorting lifestyle gets cramped when a copycat thief begins burgling in his backyard. So why not enlist the help of an American heiress to track down the real thief to clear his name? Especially when that heiress is none other than Grace Kelly.

Between the costumes, the setting, and the two leads, this picture is a visual feast. It's also a bit of a departure for Hitchcock, because although it's suspenseful, it's also romantic, and the cheeky dialogue still glitters today.

Cary Grant, by this time in his career, merely had to show up, and his likeability factor could command everything else. But he does more than just clock in here. He's everything you ever expect from him. He's Cary Grant, and that's more than enough to steal any woman's heart.

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