"So This is Where You Live? Oh, Mother Will Love it up Here!" - To Catch a Thief

So chic, so glamorous. This is To Catch a Thief

Review: To Catch A Thief


This is my entry for the Fourth Alfred Hitchcock blogathon hosted by Maddy Loves Her Classic Films. Make sure you read all the entries this weekend!

Okay, let's talk Hitch. Right off the top: I'm not a scholar of Hitchcock's films. I took a film class in college and we talked about his use of MacGuffins and his cameos in every film, but I won't pretend to be an expert on all the hidden meanings and symbols in To Catch a Thief, which is probably my favourite of his films. 


So why pick it? Two names: 


There's something there that works. Plus, there's this:


Which is what I want to talk about today. All of the filming locations in To Catch a Thief. I watch this movie over and over not for the mystery and intrigue or the sake of watching a Hitchcock film, per se, I watch it because deep down I really just want to move to the south of Frances and live a glamorous life. 

I mean, look at these shots right off the bat. Hitch is really setting the scene: 








Meanwhile, retired jewel thief John Robie, played by Cary Grant, is being pursued by the police. If you didn't read the newspaper above, the police are there because a new jewel thief is stealing from people along the Riviera and they think it might be Robie. 


He certainly retired in style! His villa is located in the Alpes-Maritimes in southern France, in Saint-Jeannet.


It's rustic and cozy, if possible. Maybe not what I'd envision for a former jewel thief, but I guess the point isn't to retire in high style, is it? 


Anyways, Robie does what anyone would likely do if they were being wrongly pursued by the police. Well, what anyone in a movie would do. A normal person might ask if it's a misunderstanding and stay there to clear it up. 

He takes us on a lovely chase throughout southern France though, so can you blame him? 





Hey Hitch!


Naturally, Robie finds himself in Monte Carlo. A little prescient, eh? 


After meeting his old associates at a restaurant along the waterfront of Monte Carlo, and to further evade detection, Danielle, the daughter of an associate, speeds him away on a boat. 


Bonjour and au revoir, Monte Carlo! Danielle's spiriting him back to Nice. 


In the next scene, Robie's at a flower market in Nice. The street in question is the Boulevard Jean Jaurès. Doesn't it look fantastic? I'd love to spend an afternoon pursuing the markets in France. 



This is H.H. Hughson, by the way. He's in insurance and he tells Robie that if he helps to catch the new cat burglar plaguing the south of France, perhaps it'll clear his name and he can go back to his retirement in peace.


Enter Jessie Stevens and her daughter, Frances. They're très très riche and they're staying at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes.


And they have a hefty amount of jewelry that needs insuring, including two platinum diamond bracelets, a platinum diamond necklace, a platinum diamond circle brooch, a blue sapphire ring and other rings, earrings and necklaces that total $280,000. 


The Carlton Hotel was built in the 1910s in the Beaux Art style. It's an iconic hotel, as one of the central locations of the Cannes Film Festival. You'll definitely recognize the exterior. The interior certainly is grand, too! 




A shot of the lobby, with its columns and chandeliers, and Grace decked out in a summery chic outfit designed by Edith Head. 


Outside, Robie and Frances lay out in the sun on the Carlton Hotel Beach. 



I'd love to lay in one of those lounge chairs with a good book and a nice cocktail... 






Later in the day, Robie and Frances decide to take a drive into the country, up to a villa. 




They stop at the Château de la Croix-des-Gardes, which is a private residence in reality. 


Their pursuers lose them for a silly reason, eh? 


Robie and Frances stop to eat lunch on the Avenue des Combattants en Afrique du Nord, which is located in Beausoleil. Look at the Riviera in the background! So beautiful! 



Back to the Carlton Hotel. 






The jewel thief has stolen their jewels, and naturally Frances believes Robie did it. 





Laying low in the Cannes Harbour. 


Robie pursues the jewel thief at this stunning villa, located at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. A struggle ensues and Robie hurls the man to his death. It turns out it was Danielle's father, Foussard.  



He attends Foussard's funeral at the Ancien Cimetière, which is located in Cagnes-sur-Mer.




Back at the Carlton Hotel for a costume party, and a chance for Robie to trap the real jewel thief. He doubts Foussard was acting alone, as he had a wooden leg and wouldn't have been able to climb around so quickly.




It was Danielle and Foussard, plus another old associate! Robie forces her to loudly confess to the police that he had nothing to do with any robberies before he'll pull her up to safety. 


Now cleared of the crime, Robie heads back to his villa with Frances in tow. 




She tells him that she's in love with him and wants to be a part of his life. He agrees, he loves her too, and they kiss. Then Frances says a great closing line:


"So this is where you live? Oh, Mother will love it up here!" Note Robie's enthusiasm. 


It's definitely a different tone to other Hitchcock classics, but when I want some high glam, I'll pick this film from his work every time. Some of my other favourite Hitchcock films include Rebecca, Suspicion, Rear Window and Notorious

For more reading on where to find the filming locations from this film, click here

Comments

  1. The plot does nothing for me so for years I dismissed To Catch a Thief. Then one rainy day, I gave it a second look and found all those delights that comfort the senses, plus the drollery of John Williams. It is like a dream and we need our dreams.

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