When a reformed jewel thief is suspected of returning to his former occupation, he must ferret out the real thief in order to prove his innocence.That's the 'logline' for the memorable and witty motion picture starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, later Princess Grace of Monaco.
The reformed jewel thief is John (The Cat) Robie portrayed by Cary Grant. Robie, who had 'earned' his cat burglar reputation by stealing precious jewels from rich women, reformed while becoming a bona fide hero in the French Resistance during World War II.
The plot thickens when a contemporary thief appropriates Robie's modus operandi. The police --naturally --suspect Robie who must now come out of retirement, track down the real thief and prove his innocence.
His biggest problem is that many would would prefer him dead. Robie concludes that he must catch the 'copy-cat' himself in order to clear his name. He assumes a new identity --that of an American businessman. His 'love interest' (portrayed by Grace Kelly) gets 'wise' but intrigued by his exciting and dangerous adventures. But when her mother's jewels are stolen, she calls the police. In the meantime, Robie has escaped.
In a word, they don't make movies like this anymore and more's the pity. Grant's career seems in retrospect to have much to do with his ability to 'exude a dangerous, devil-may-care charm'. This role seems to have been written specifically for that talent. It certainly provides the vehicle which, perhaps, only Cary Grant could have exploited or lived up to. For that reason, this is considered to have been one of Hitchcock's "more gentle" if exciting films.
As no one has ever done before him, Mr. Hitchcock has used that famous coast to form a pictorial backdrop that fairly yanks your eyes out of your head. Almost at the start, he gives you an automobile chase along roads that wind through cliff-hanging seaside villages. The surprise is that it is seen from the air! If you have ever been on the Riviera, you can imagine how brilliant this is, in color and VistaVision, splashed on that giant screen.
All the way through the picture, he gets this sort of thing - shots from great heights down yawning chasms, glimpses of ruins high on hills, views across Mediterranean harbors and, usually, in the background, the blue sea. And he winds up with a surge of production - a costume party at a villa outside Cannes - that should make the Marquis de Cuevas turn green.
--Bosley Crowther, NEW YORK TIMES Film Review - August 5, 1955
Trailer: To Catch a Thief