To Catch a Thief

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For the original novel, see To Catch a Thief (novel). For the 1936 film, see To Catch a Thief (1936 film).
To Catch a Thief
To Catch a Thief.jpg
Original film poster
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Produced by Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay by John Michael Hayes
Based on To Catch a Thief 
by David Dodge
Starring Cary Grant
Grace Kelly
Jessie Royce Landis
John Williams
Charles Vanel
Brigitte Auber
Music by Lyn Murray
Cinematography Robert Burks
Edited by George Tomasini
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s)
  • August 5, 1955 (1955-08-05)
Running time 106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2.5 million
Box office $4.5 million (US rentals original release)[1]
$8.75 million

To Catch a Thief is a 1955 romantic thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock from a screenplay by John Michael Hayes, which was very loosely based on the 1952 novel of the same name by David Dodge. The movie stars Cary Grant as a retired cat burglar who has to save his reformed reputation by catching a new "cat" preying on the wealthy tourists of the French Riviera. Grace Kelly stars opposite him as his romantic interest in her final film with Hitchcock.


John Robie (Cary Grant) is a retired infamous jewel thief or "cat burglar". When the gendarmes suspect him of a series of thefts in the south of France, Robie decides that the only way to clear his name is to catch the copy-cat Cat. With the assistance of staid insurance agent H.H. Hughson (John Williams), Robie gets to know Mrs. Stevens and her daughter Frances (called Francie), who are in town and positively dripping in jewels. He poses as an American lumber man & strikes up an acquaintance with them — delighting Mrs. Stevens even as Francie offers a pretense of modesty. Francie guesses who he is and seems quite thrilled with his dangerous and exciting life until her mother's jewels are stolen. She calls the police but Robie escapes.

With the help of Jessie and Francie Stevens and Mr Hughson, Robie finally unmasks the real jewel thief after a sumptuous fancy dress party, attended by many rich and bejeweled guests. The final scene on the roof of the villa is a treat, and the new "Cat" is caught. [2]

Robie returns to his home and Francie races after to convince him that she has a place in his life. He agrees, but seems less than thrilled that she intends to include her mother.

From the trailer
Grace Kelly and Cary Grant
Grace Kelly as Frances Stevens
Kelly and Grant


Alfred Hitchcock makes his signature cameo approximately ten minutes in as a bus passenger seated next to Cary Grant.


This was Hitchcock's first of five films in the widescreen process VistaVision,[3] and Grace Kelly's final film with him.

The costumes were by Edith Head, including Kelly's memorable golden gown for the film's costume ball.

In the original screenplay, Bertani is arrested for masterminding the crimes, John and Danielle forgive each other, and she is then taken into custody before the police drop the charges against John. Although Hayes fought to keep this ending intact, Hitchcock cut to the last scene as soon as his innocence is established.


To Catch a Thief is the only Hitchcock film released by Paramount that is still owned and controlled by Paramount. The others were sold to Hitchcock in the early 1960s and are currently distributed by Universal Studios; the exception to the "reversion to Hitchcock" rule was Psycho, which Universal bought directly from the director in 1968.[4]


The film won an Academy Award and was nominated in another two categories:[5]



  1. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956
  2. ^
  3. ^ Orengo 2006
  4. ^ Spoto 1999, p. 344
  5. ^ "NY Times: To Catch a Thief". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 


  • De Rosa, Steven (2001). Writing with Hitchcock: The Collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and John Michael Hayes. Faber and Faber. ISBN 0571199909. 
  • Orengo, Nico (2006). La Guerra del Basilico (The Basil War (in Italian). Einaudi. ISBN 880618296X. 
  • Spoto, Donald (1999). The Dark Side of Genius. Da Capo. ISBN 0-306-80932-X. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "Two Interviews About To Catch a Thief" by Tifenn Brisset, Film International magazine Vol. 11, No. 6, 2013, pages 13-21. Interviews with French script supervisor Sylvette Baudrot conducted September 2011 and actress Brigitte Auber, September 2011, March 2013, regarding their work on the film and with Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock. Discussion of a different ending and script differences. Twelve color photographs, nine pages.

External links[edit]