To catch a thief (1955)

“To catch a thief” (1955)

IMDb

i needed more “Rope” and less Bond

commenting on films like this one creates me the moments in which i seriously think about not giving rating opinions on any film at all. That’s because it is as comfortable to calmly admit a film is really good as it is uncomfortable to say one is not good, above all when it comes to a Hitchcock film, with the charge of melancholy and the number of followers within film world this has. But i didn’t think this to be a good film, by the standards Hitch’s established for his films. This is an important statement to me, i rate this above all (not only) in relation to the work of AH.

Here he was just ‘getting out’ of his research on camera movement, camera eye, which had had its peak the previous year with the masterpiece Rear Window. Hitch always pursued new ideas after he felt satisfied with the conclusions he took, so it is not strange in his work that a new film has cinematically very little to do with the previous ones. This is the case. With this one he started working with something that, in his films would culminate with North by northwest, but in the larger picture (that is, evolution of films) still has repercussions today. It has to do with involving the film within a coat of glamour, appealing escapist elements, something that in the end we can call style. So the french Riviera is chosen. That is pure glamour, and the class Hitchcock always shows is seen in the very first scene. We get several shots of jewels being stolen, and women screaming as they find out. In the last robbery we see, the victim moves to the balcony, and screams to a blissful view of the bay in Nice. This sets the ton, en forms the mood. First scenes are essential, here is no exception. To help on the mood he trusts Grant. Here was being created the character of James Bond, which later became the loyal emulator of this “style” Hitch was creating. Grace Kelly makes probably the least interesting role for Hitchcock, despite this was apparently perfect for her. oh and it’s creepy enough to think about how film became life when Kelly lost her life in the known conditions, in the road where she takes chances high speeding here, but this is a side note.

What doesn’t work here is that the whole thing is to static, to based on scenery. Hitchcock usually worked and preferred sets to real location. I think here he trusted to much on landscape, and left aside the knowledge and mastery he had from his projects from Rope to Rear Window. He understood this, i suppose, and corrected it later, with North by Northwest, which is the peak of his investigation on making a film live on style. There he incorporated some dynamism through the use of some camera moves and above all choosing well the point of view, the perspective. Here he trusted so much on things exterior to his control, that the whole thing doesn’t work out well, not to me. Curiously, the film is not dated, it’s enjoyable in many aspects, but the pace fails, the action drags, and the plot twists which usually hitch underlines with cinematic elements, preferably camera work, here just succeed.

My opinion: 2/5 despite this is a classic, despite i really appreciate Hitchcock’s work, and despite you can get some enjoyment out of this one, i didn’t really connect to this one, maybe i’ll change in future re viewings.

This comment on IMDb

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