France was always important to Hitchcock. He loved the food and the wines; French critics and filmmakers (Chabrol, Rohmer, Truffaut) took the lead in celebrating his work; and he used France repeatedly for subject-matter and locations, from his silent apprenticeship right up to Topaz in 1969.
To Catch a Thief is his most French film of all, shot on and around the Riviera, with Cary Grant as a reformed French cat burglar, Grace Kelly as his American love interest, and an exuberant abundance of French supporting actors and local colour.
There is great chemistry between the two stars, but Kelly met Prince Rainier of Monaco during the shooting and their marriage meant that this third Hitchcock film was her last, though she almost came back as Marnie. All the more reason to revisit this one.
This film is screening as part of The Genius of Hitchcock: Part Three (February 2nd – 27th), which is part of a complete retrospective of the filmmaker’s work running until March 2013.