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 Posted:   Dec 2, 2010 - 9:09 PM   
 By:   ZapBrannigan   (Member)

TO CATCH A THIEF (1954) is a pretty good movie, maybe not Hitchcock's best but it held my interest. If anything, it's probably better today than when it was made, because now it's a showcase of bygone, period glamor.

Edith Head went to town on Grace Kelly's character, showing some fantastic taste that transcends the 1950s. I counted nine costume changes. Six of them were sleeveless or bare-shouldered to leverage her creamy skin and whatnot.

I don't usually take much interest in fashion, but she makes this stuff look good. Here are some highlights:

A two-tone blue evening gown with spaghetti straps. The scarf is a separate accessory, obviously for warmth.





Going to the beach: black Capri pants and top over a black one-piece swimsuit, with a white skirt that doesn't close in front.




Out for a drive and picnic: sleeveless tunic with white applique. Knee-length pleated skirt (this bit is very '50s but she still carries it off).



White evening gown, finely constructed.





Louis XV gown in gold lame for costume party. Pretty standard. wink





 
 Posted:   Dec 3, 2010 - 6:50 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

It's the unspoilt Mediterranean settings that catch my attention. Actually in quite a big way. I have old standard 8 family cine film of days gone by in similar environs. The 'feel' of then and now is so polarized at extremes that they might just as well be worlds apart. From today's perspective, those environments have been comprehensively buggered by those who ought to have known better. Other observers on this board have commented similarly. But this movie in particular highlights the woe.

Edit: Sorry Zap. Thinking rather loudly there. She was the very image of Aphrodite.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 3, 2010 - 10:19 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

One of the real virtues of the old studio system in the Golden Age of Films was the ingenuity and savvy business knowledge of its creators on how to maintain a reasonable budget and yet give each film high production values when you are grinding out 40-50 feature films a year at each studio.

The now-iconic gold lame gown worn by Grace Kelly at the costume ball in the 1955 production of TO CATCH A THIEF was designed and built by Edith Head for Barbara Stanwyck in the 1947 big-budget Paramount Technicolor western, CALIFORNIA.

Head---who was one smart cookie and a member of the Paramount elite for more than four decades---remembered the gown, which had probably cost as much as $5000 in 1947, pulled it out of wardrobe storage, re-worked it for Kelly, and gave it a return engagement in Technicolor in 1955---this time as a "costume"---and, this time, probably, for $1.98!!!

Waste not, want not.

 
 Posted:   Dec 3, 2010 - 10:36 AM   
 By:   ZapBrannigan   (Member)

The now-iconic gold lame gown worn by Grace Kelly at the costume ball in the 1955 production of TO CATCH A THIEF was designed and built by Edith Head for Barbara Stanwyck in the 1947 big-budget Paramount Technicolor western, CALIFORNIA.

Are you sure about that? I can't find a picture of her wearing it.

 
 Posted:   Dec 3, 2010 - 10:42 AM   
 By:   msmith   (Member)

Robert Burks won the Academy Award for best Cinematography for this film, but I wouldn't be surprised if he really got it for photographing the stunning Grace Kelly.

 
 Posted:   Dec 3, 2010 - 5:28 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

Grace Kelly's film career was short, but look at the leading men she appeared with!

Gary Cooper
James Stewart
Clark Gable
Cary Grant
William Holden
Bing Crosby
Frank Sinatra
Ray Milland

I always thought she was unhappy in her confiment as Royalty. She seemed a sad woman.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 3, 2010 - 7:49 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Steve, I too wondered if she was really happy giving up her amazing career to become a princess.

She was a fashion icon. (She and Audrey Hepburn.)

 
 Posted:   Dec 3, 2010 - 7:57 PM   
 By:   David Sones (Allardyce)   (Member)

This is one of the few Hitch films that underwhelmed me, though I need to see it again. The cinematography, however, and the overall production design were stunning, and for that I hold this film in high regard.

 
 Posted:   Dec 4, 2010 - 6:58 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

This is one of the few Hitch films that underwhelmed me, though I need to see it again. The cinematography, however, and the overall production design were stunning, and for that I hold this film in high regard.

Hitchcock called it "a lightweight story". It's really fun, though. Not a thriller as much as it is a fun little comic mystery in Technicolor. It has it's moments.

 
 Posted:   Dec 4, 2010 - 7:03 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

Steve, I too wondered if she was really happy giving up her amazing career to become a princess.

She was a fashion icon. (She and Audrey Hepburn.)


I always felt sorry for her. She was prohibited from acting, hamstrung by protocol, and appears to have been in a loveless marriage.

All the money and priviledge in the world. Be careful what you wish for.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2010 - 11:14 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

The late Harvey (MAD comics) Kurtzman had a magazine in the 60's called HELP, and in one issue they ran a news photo of Grace with a special little smile looking at JFK, to which they affixed the thought-balloon: "And to think I settled for that schnook Rainier."

But seriously, folks, she was ready willing and able to return to the screen in Hitchcock's MARNIE but her jusband and his government put the kibosh on that bit of casting. No doubt the queen was indeed disappointed...

 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2011 - 8:36 PM   
 By:   ZapBrannigan   (Member)

The now-iconic gold lame gown worn by Grace Kelly at the costume ball in the 1955 production of TO CATCH A THIEF was designed and built by Edith Head for Barbara Stanwyck in the 1947 big-budget Paramount Technicolor western, CALIFORNIA.


I was just watching HOME BEFORE DARK (1958) on TCM, and that same gold gown showed up. Jean Simmons wears it (the point of the scene is that it doesn't fit her) and then Rhonda Fleming wears it perfectly fitted. So that makes three movies for this amazing dress.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2011 - 12:14 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....But seriously, folks, she was ready willing and able to return to the screen in Hitchcock's MARNIE but her jusband and his government put the kibosh on that bit of casting. No doubt the queen was indeed disappointed.....

Perhaps a disappointment for her at that moment, but, on the other hand, I'd say she was doubly-blessed: Missed out on the failure that was MARNIE and the sexual assault by Hitchcock that Hedren was forced to parry.


Incidentally, has everyone forgotten the 1963 CBS color television special starring Kelly, A LOOK AT MONACO? It was produced, in Monaco, by William Frye, photographed by Lionel Lindon, and featured a lovely score by Percy Faith, the main theme of which is still quite memorable.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2011 - 12:50 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....This is one of the few Hitch films that underwhelmed me, though I need to see it again. The cinematography, however, and the overall production design were stunning, and for that I hold this film in high regard.....

Personally, I love TO CATCH A THIEF---one of my favorite Hitchcocks---and one of his least pretentious. One day a Blu-Ray disc of this vistaVision film should look spectacular.


.....Robert Burks won the Academy Award for best Cinematography for this film, but I wouldn't be surprised if he really got it for photographing the stunning Grace Kelly.....

I'd say he got it for the location scout's choice of scenery. But that's nothing new. Starting in the late 1940s, many of the awards for the Best Color Cinematography Oscar were awarded for scenery:

1949: SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON
1950: KING SOLOMON'S MINES
1952: THE QUIET MAN
1953: SHANE
1954: THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN
1955: TO CATCH A THIEF
1956: AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
etc.

(This was often privately complained about by the cameramen themselves. While all these pictures were beautiful to look at, it was felt that the largest voting bloc in the Academy, the actors, knew very little about photography, composition and, particularly, lighting, and the films without spectacular scenery got short shrift.)

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2011 - 3:25 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

It's the unspoilt Mediterranean settings that catch my attention. Actually in quite a big way. I have old standard 8 family cine film of days gone by in similar environs. The 'feel' of then and now is so polarized at extremes that they might just as well be worlds apart. From today's perspective, those environments have been comprehensively buggered by those who ought to have known better. Other observers on this board have commented similarly. But this movie in particular highlights the woe.


Production files indicate that the following locations were used during filming: Cannes, including the Carlton Hotel and the Goldman villa, Tourrettes, La Turbie, Eze, Gourdon, Nice, Cagnes-sur-Mer, and Speracedes, France; Monte Carlo, Monaco, including the Hotel Metropole; and Mt. Wilson, CA. The fireworks footage was staged in Long Beach, CA.

 
 Posted:   Dec 3, 2013 - 11:41 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Of the 15 films in the big Hitchcock Blu-ray boxed set, the 2 missing that I want are "To Catch A Thief" and "Dial M For Murder," and I just ordered "Thief" yesterday.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 4, 2013 - 10:04 AM   
 By:   fisch   (Member)

REAR WINDOW is my favorite Grace Kelly movie.

 
 Posted:   Dec 4, 2013 - 12:02 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

fisch: Re "Rear Window" is your favorite Grace Kelly movie. When I got the big 15-movie Hitchcock collection on Blu-ray, "Rear Window" was the second I watched (after "The Birds"). But she has so little to do in "Rear Window," so I suppose you're saying that it's your favorite movie WITH her? But have you seen her in "High Society"? Or "Country Girl"? Try to check 'em out if you haven't.

12-5-13 Follow-Up. I have since watched the first hour of "To Catch A Thief," which I bought because it wasn't on the 15-movie Hitchcock Blu-ray collection and I had nice memories of it. But what a disappointment when I tried to watch it tonight! It was one of those movies that you wonder how you could have had it in such high regard. Frankly, it often got very slapstickish and it was an ordeal just watching the first hour. It's still in my player, so I may return to it tomorrow, but now I regret ever buying it.

 
 Posted:   Dec 8, 2013 - 8:10 PM   
 By:   ZapBrannigan   (Member)

12-5-13 Follow-Up. I have since watched the first hour of "To Catch A Thief," which I bought because it wasn't on the 15-movie Hitchcock Blu-ray collection and I had nice memories of it. But what a disappointment when I tried to watch it tonight! It was one of those movies that you wonder how you could have had it in such high regard. Frankly, it often got very slapstickish and it was an ordeal just watching the first hour. It's still in my player, so I may return to it tomorrow, but now I regret ever buying it.


Ron, is there any chance the DVD edition you got is a hacked-up edit? It seemed fine when I saw it on TCM.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 11:19 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

I read somewhere that the harrowing ride Kelly gives Grant in her sportscar was filmed on the same winding, hillside road where she later had her fatal car accident.

Is this true?

If so, puts an odd slant on that scene now. Just as the later revelations about him put a new angle on all those bedroom farces Rock Hudson made in the 60's, especially in PILLOW TALK, where he makes allusions to a possible alternative sexuality...

 
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