This story was originally published in May 2013. It has been updated.
This week, The 66th Cannes Film Festivalopened with much anticipation. The prestigious jury, led by Steven Spielberg, includes glamorous Nicole Kidman, French actor Daniel Auteuil, director Ang Lee, and actor Christoph Waltz to name just a few.
Ah, Cannes! The red carpet. Hundreds of paparazzi and professional photographers. Journalists and reporters. Limousines. Fans. Stars. Rain. Torrential rain. Wait. Rain? In May on the French Riviera? Oh oui, and lots of it. It has been a soggy five days in Cannes, and many are wondering if this is the end of the world as they know it…
Carey Mulligan (the Great Gatsby) thinks: @#$%!!!
Then, just before the weekend, a man shot a gun loaded with blanks during the taping of a French TV show, prompting the audience and everyone present (including actors Daniel Auteuiland Christoph Waltz) to duck for cover. He was quickly apprehended.
As if this weren’t bad enough, I heard on the French news that the Chopard jewelry house, one of the festival’s official sponsors, had lost over one million Euros in a burglary. When the news broke, the Chopard spokesperson announced promptly that none of the jewelry stolen from a rented hotel safe [ed: a rented hotel safe???] was part of the “special collection” reserved for the Festival’s glamorous movie stars. Phew. I don’t know about you, but I feel better already. Thank goodness Nicole Kidmanwill be accessorized properly when she announces the Festival’s winners in a few days!
The French police is investigating, but they are at a loss, and no suspect has been arrested yet. If they asked me, I could tell them who did it. It seems pretty obvious. The culprit is… the Cat!
Un chat noir? A black cat? Tssssss… Don’t you know your classics? The Cat, a.k.a. John Robie!
Voilà John Robie
Do you see what I mean? In a strange turn of events, it seems we are witnessing a case of life imitates art… on the French Riviera.
Come on. You must remember, even if you do not love movies as much as this French Girl does. After all, this is only one of the most famous American movies ever filmed in Europe! A legend. I am talking, of course, about To Catch a Thief released to great acclaim in 1955.
How many times have I seen this classic? You don’t want to know. It is still a favorite here for home-based movie nights with my girlfriends. Just for the fun of it, (and to try and forget the chilly spring weather on the French Riviera and in the Pacific Northwest,) let’s list some of the reasons why the movie remains so mesmerizing, 58 years after it was released.
1. Location, location, location.
La Côte d’Azur. Cannes’ prestigious Carlton Hotel. Nice’s Promenade des Anglais. Some of the quaintest villages in the foothills above the French Riviera, Tourrettes sur Loup, le Bar sur Loup, Gourdon andla Turbie. La Côte d’Azur threatens to steal the show in almost every frame, if it weren’t for the movie’s two superstars. And this takes us to…
Nice setting for a picnic, Grace Kelly and Cary Grant…
2. The undeniable chemistry between the two lead actors.
Grace Kelly. Cary Grant. Beautiful. Smart. Sexy. And great friends off camera. Their witty and playful banter catches viewers’ attention. Watch them make the screen sizzle!
John Robie: You’re here in Europe to buy a husband.
Kelly and Grant: Amis à la ville, comme à l’écran…
3. Grace Kelly’s elegance
She would have looked good in a garbage bag, but in the iconic movie, she never had to. Grace Kelly was dressed by legendary costume designer Edith Head(she won eight Academy Awards,) and had never looked so… regal.
The “Bathing Suit”
The lamé gown in the costume ball finale
The blue chiffon evening dress that, many years later, inspired another princess…
Making one of his signature cameo appearances in the movie…
Directing his actors in Cannes…
5. Elegant fluff as art.
To Catch a Thief is not considered one of Hitchcock’s best movies. Yet, it remains a viewers’ favorite. Revenge. Deception. An ex-burglar forced out of retirement. Suspense. Thrilling car chases. This would be good enough for some, but what stands out is the movie’s visual style, the stylized elegance in each frame, from the splendid French Riviera locations; to Edith Head’s costumes; and the lead actors’ natural charm. Perfection. Pure escapism.
Will John Robie prove his innocence?
The hair-raising drive along the Grande Corniche road above Monte-Carlo
6. A princess story.
To Catch a Thief was Grace Kelly’s last film with Alfred Hitchcock. As she was attending the Cannes Film Festival to promote the movie in 1955, she was invited to meet Prince Rainier of Monaco. A photo session was organized at the royal palace. The rest, as they say, is History…
A young prince meets his princess
Visiting the royal palace with Prince Rainier
Grace and Rainier’s wedding day: April 19, 1956
What about you? Have you seen To Catch a Thief? Did you like it?