Best Romantic Movies – To Catch a Thief (1955)

American Classic Movies

This is one of the best romantic movies of all time. Directed by Hitchcock, the master of suspense himself, the film combines elements of the best romantic comedy movies with elements of the best suspense movies. And the result – a classic romantic comedy film with a twist.

The great director himself considered this film to be one of his favorites.

This Hitchcock classic is famous for beautiful views of the French Riviera and the on-screen chemistry between Cary Grant and a young Hollywood actress Grace Kelly.


Film Details

To Catch a Thief

Year:

Country:

Directed by:

Written by:

1955

United States

Alfred Hitchcock

John Michael Hayes, based on a novel by David Dodge

Accolades:

1956 Academy Award for Best Cinematography


Plot Teaser

In the 1950s an American living in the French Riviera is suspected of stealing jewels of wealthy tourists. To protect his reputation he decides to catch the real thief with the help of a beautiful young American heiress, her mother and their insurance agent.


Movie review

Hitchcock made one of his best romantic comedy movies after his critically acclaimed Rear Window, filmed entirely in a studio. This movie was to be different. One of the reasons he wanted to do it, was his love for French Riviera.

He was well aware that he was making a commercial romantic comedy film. He called it “a woman’s picture”. In his opinion “it’s generally the woman who has the final say on which picture a couple is going to see”, probably based on his own relationship with his wife.

He insisted on casting a retired actor Cary Grant in what turned out to be one of his best romantic movies, while the studio really wanted James Stewart. Actress Grace Kelly was thrilled to make another Hitchcock film, which turned out to be her last with the great suspense filmmaker.

It is the casting of these two most bankable stars at the time that turned this into one of the best romantic movies. Their on-screen magic was based on mutual self-respect. Cary Grant said he was “awed by” actress Grace Kelly and later in life admitted she was his favourite leading lady.

Their dialogues are filled with sexual innuendo and adult humor:

  • Francie (Grace Kelly): If you really want to see fireworks, it's better with the lights out. I have a feeling that tonight, you're going to see one of the Riviera's most fascinating sights... I was talking about the fireworks.
  • Robie (Cary Grant): I never doubted it.

Fireworks Scene

The year is 1955. On-screen couples are not allowed to share a bed and a bikini is a taboo. The master of suspense however very explicitly implies in his romantic comedy film that the couple played by Grace Kelly and Cary Grant has sex. And...Hitchcock gets away with it.

It was called the "fireworks scene". As the actors kiss, the camera focuses on fireworks outside the window. Fireworks erupt violently accompanied by a triumphant music score.

To save the scene the director developed a winning strategy. He fought the censors on the small things, which ultimately did not make a difference for the romantic comedy film development, to shift censor’s focus from the fireworks scene. It worked.


Best Romantic Movies - Fun Facts

Actress Grace Kelly met Prince Rainier of Monaco, her future husband, during Cannes Film Festival while promoting one of her best romantic movies.

There was a 25 year difference between the leading man and the leading woman.

Actor Cary Grant was free to choose what to wear in a film. He picked elegant and simple clothes that he would wear on a regular basis.

The leading lady and the designer Edith Head were also given liberties. Edith Head called her work on one of the best American classic movies “costume designer’s dream” and was nominated for the Academy Award. She later designed Grace Kelly’s real-life wedding gown.


Best Romantic Movies - Quotes

Francois Truffaut, legendary French filmmaker: “Alfred Hitchcock has in common with Renoir, Rossellini, Orson Welles and a few other great filmmakers the fact that psychology is the least of his worries.”

Alfred Hitchcock about the movie: “…If sometimes you have to make corny, try at least to do it well.”


Best Romantic Movies - Movie Recommendation

It might be one of Hitchcock’s most superficial films, but it is one of the best romantic movies of all time. It is a great film to watch after a romantic dinner on St. Valentine’s day. It's full of love scenes for the ladies and suspense, chase, fight scenes for the gents.

It wasn’t a critics favourite when it was released, but time is the best critic. And time likes this one.

It’s been over 50 years and to this day men want to be suave like actor Cary Grant and women want to be ravishing like actress Grace Kelly in one of the best American classic movies.


Best Romantic Movies - Movie Ratings

FILMIconic movie rating:

Like it - based on the rating scale below.

Rotten Tomatoes movie rating:

97% certified fresh based on critics’ movie reviews

82% based on viewers’ movie reviews

IMDb movie rating:

7.5/10 based on critics’ and viewers’ movie reviews

FILMiconic Rating Scale:

Hate it! – Dislike it – Indifferent – Somewhat like it – Like it - Love it!


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