Top positive review
A Must-Own for Romantic Comedy—Now in High Definition
on October 14, 2017
(Reviewing Paramount 14637): "To Catch a Thief" is the kind of classic movie from the 1950s for which Blu-ray/HD technology was made, and this disc does not disappoint. The many exterior shots of the south of France are breathtaking: the details of the villas on promontories, the helicopter scans of the coastal cities, the blue of the Mediterranean: the sexual fireworks display (no pun intended) at night. Robert Burks, Hitchcock's cinematographer throughout the 1950s and early '60s, deservedly won an Academy Award for his his work here. I'm astonished by how well the process shots from the '50s (scenes shot in a studio against a projected background) still hold up against a technological improvement like Blu-ray, capable of highlighting all the flaws. I see no such here. As for detail: 1080p HD differentiates each of the dozens of fine stripes in Cary Grant's casual knit-shirt, if that's where your eyes gravitate (though I'd bet they'll be focused elsewhere). I cannot detect vast improvement in audio quality over Paramount's DVD predecessors, but the sound is crisp, clear, and balanced. Also included are an abundance of special features, though none of them is new to this edition: they previously appeared in Paramount's DVD Centennial Edition.
As for the movie: While (to my taste) not in the same league as "Vertigo," "North by Northwest," or "Psycho," I cannot give "To Catch a Thief fewer than five stars. Hitchcock produced more profound movies than this but very few that are more uninhibitedly entertaining. It's probably the best comedy he ever produced, with a cast that radiates old Hollywood charm: notably, Cary Grant, in a late-career-defining role, and Grace Kelly at the crest of her fame. The script by John Michael Hayes competes with that for "Rear Window" (from the year before) as the wittiest any writer ever gave Hitchcock. (You can sense Hitchcock and Hayes's glee at filling the scripts with double entendres that the censors wouldn't catch but the audiences couldn't miss.) The audience is privileged to laugh, make love with two of the screen's sexiest actors, and revel in the "picture travelogue heaven" of Nice and Cannes in mid-twentieth century. Highly Recommended.