The Alfred Hitchcock Filmography - A Chronological viewing

Osato

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View attachment 62478

Rear Window

1954
112 minutes Color 1.66:1
Cast:
James Stewart - L B "Jeff" Jeffries
Grace Kelly - Lisa Carol Fremont
Wendell Corey - Lieutenant Thomas J Doyle
Thelma Ritter - Stella
Raymond Burr - Lars Thorwald
Judith Evelyn - Miss Lonelyheart
Ross Bagdasarian - Songwriter
Georgine Darcy - Miss Torso
Sara Berner - Woman on fire escape
Frank Cady - Man on fire escape
Jesslyn Fax - Miss Hearing Aid
Rand Harper - Newlywed man
Havis Davenport - Newlywed woman
Irene Winston - Mrs Anna Thorwald
Alan Lee - Landlord
Anthony Warde - Detective
Based on the short story- It Had To Be Murder. A 1942 short story by Cornell Woolrich
Screenplay by- John Michael Hayes
Score by - Franz Waxman
Directed by - Alfred Hitchcock
Production Studio - Paramount Studios
Viewed 8/31/19

Alfred Hitchcock The Masterpiece Collection Blu Ray box set, Universal, 2012
Also available in the Alfred Hitchcock The Masterpiece Collection box set, Universal Studios, 2005

Synopsis

L.B. Jeffries or Jeff is a professional photographer working for a magazine who is stuck in a wheelchair in his Greenwich Village apartment. He has a broken leg caused by photographing an automobile race when one of the cars crashes and he’s in the way. With nothing to do, he spends his days looking out his apartment window at the courtyard below and the various neighbors apartments. He gives each one a nickname too. One night he thinks he hears a woman scream and then notices one apartment with a bedridden woman is missing. Jeff suspects murder and he soon enlists his girlfriend, Lisa Carol Fremont and nurse, Stella as they engage in speculation as to the woman’s whereabouts.

Impressions

This is Hitchcock’s examination of voyeurism. It’s not something I ever realized. I just sort of thought it was about a bored guy who was stuck in his apartment because of his broken leg and passed the time looking out the window as life passes by for everyone else. Until he notices something is not right. First he hears a woman scream and we hear the crash of glass breaking. Later Jeff begins to notice the woman is gone.

View attachment 62482

I never realized until this viewing that the film opens with a long single unbroken shot where the camera looks out of the window of Jeff’s Greenwich Village apartment and out at the courtyard and the neighbors apartments who all live there, giving us a first look at them and then the camera pulls back into Jeff’s apartment and a shot of Jeff asleep in his wheelchair, leg in cast and then a look at the apartment and cameras, photos and magazines he’s shot photos for. It sets the scene up of who Jeff is and what he does. ( having seen Rope so recently probably made me more aware of the long single takes that Hitchcock continues to use in later films.)

This film sucks you right in as we meet the neighbors from Jeff’s window, and then Stella the insurance agency nurse who makes a daily visit to Jeff’s apartment to look in on him and then his girlfriend Lisa Fremont who is a part of New York’s socialite world. The films starts off with setting up the relationship between Jeff and Lisa and I always found that Jeff was being such curmudgeon and making comments to undercut Lisa’s attempts to engage in taking the relationship to marriage. They do look like a mismatched pair.

Then the fun begins as Jeff starts to wonder why one neighbor is making so many late night trips with his large jewelry sample case one night. Later he notices that the wife is gone and he sees him cleaning a knife and saw. He thinks he’s murdered his wife. Perhaps he’d cut her body up and taken the parts out in the case.

The film builds on this as Jeff convinces Lisa and Stella of his suspicions and they get involved. And then Jeff tries to enlist his police friend to look into it as well and all he can come up with is enough circumstantial evidence to show the wife had gone out of town and no explicit proof otherwise. It’s a great romp as they dig further and one suspenseful episode builds to a great climax which I won’t get more detailed about.

Another aspect that I always liked is that the character arc for Jeff and Lisa grows from Jeff not wanting to be married until he sees Lisa in action getting her hands dirty and then getting caught by the killer. He comes to realize she could change and he sees her with new eyes. She shows Jeff she’s capable. But still she likes what she likes in the end too.

The Hitchcockian elements include; the limited setting of the apartment and courtyard, the icy blonde, voyerism, and the macguffin that might be buried in the flowerbed being the major bits. There’s other themes I’ve read that are examined in Rear Window but they never occurred to me. I was never too big on looking for any themes in Hitchcock films beyond the obvious. I can see that can be fun for some viewers and it’s another element to find in his films. I just sometimes wonder if it’s looking for something that is not there. So is there something more to Jeff having a broken leg? He certainly wasn’t able to drive the action, so others had to do it. It also made him unable to defend himself in the climax. I read that Hitchcock based the character of Jeff on a photojournalist Ingrid Bergman had an affair with and added the romantic aspect to the storyline.

I was really looking forward to see Rear Window as I had not seen it in about 3 or 4 years. Each time I see something new. One thing I think I’d not really noticed was that Thorwald’s wife was sort of being a thorn to him. She is putting him down and they bicker.

Another cool facet to this film is that there is no musical score. Franz Waxman wrote the titles and end tiles. I think he wrote the Lisa Theme that the struggling composer is seen trying to write. What we hear are the sounds of the neighbors, the street sounds, the kids playing, the rain, and the music from the party’s going on in the other apartments.

Another marvel I find about this film is that large single set of the courtyard, the apartment and the extension to the street behind the courtyard and restaurant we see the characters walk out to but only seen from Jeff’s apartment. The film restoration really shows all the detailing that went into the set. It’s so well lit too to show daytime and late night.

View attachment 62479
The Courtyard

I’m kind of realizing is that this is one of 5 Hitchcock titles that Hitchcock’s estate had owned and was not seen publicly for decades after they were shown theatrically. It wasn’t until the early 1980’s that James C. Katz and Robert A. Harris were involved in a Hitchcock film restoration project as they found that these films were in great danger of being lost. It required a lengthy effort to restore the lost yellow layer in order to correct the film color. The films include, Rope, Rear Window, The Trouble With Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Vertigo. I knew about this restoration because I remember getting the laser disc special edition of Vertigo where Katz and Harris is prominently showcased as doing the restoration. But what it made me wonder is if these films were out of circulation, when did I first see Rear Window?

In the early 1970’s apparently this film was aired on ABC and without the proper rights, so that was the last public viewing, if what I read is correct on IMDB. I could have sworn I knew about this film or seen it as a kid. But maybe it wasn’t until the late 80’s and early 1990’s that I actually saw the film on laserdisc. It was one of several Universal MCA laserdiscs I had acquired. Since then I’ve seen the film in each iteration from single film DVDs from Universal in 2001 to the box set DVDs and the blu ray set. The blu ray set is the best I’ve ever seen it and heard it. So maybe it seems like I’ve seen it longer ago then is reality. The advent of home video made this film really accessible.

I’m finding that I always like to learn and possibly buy items seen in films and TV shows that I like or are fascinated by that are actual items people could buy. I was curious about finding the lighter used in Strangers on a Train. I haven’t found that one yet. (Without the tennis rackets and initials of course). I found the cool Art Deco glasses that Ingrid Bergman uses in Notorious that she serves drinks to Cary Grant and the other guests at her house. But those are vintage and have leaded glass, so I didn’t buy them. On this viewing of Rear Window, I paid more attention to Jeff’s camera. I’d recently gotten more into photography and so I found his camera interesting. I learned from an internet search that it is a Exakta VX made in Germany in the early 1950’s. The long lens is a 400mm lens and according to the IMDB, it’s a 400mm Kilfitt.

View attachment 62480
The camera Stewart uses but the Paramount prop department covered the logo with black.

This film is so full of visuals. And the sound design is equally cool. It doesn’t get old and I always enjoy watching it. All the cast are terrific. James Stewart is Hitchcock’s favorite everyman. And I really disliked him early in the film for being so mean to Lisa. So it was nice to see him change. Grace Kelly plays the socialite so well. The part as written just for her so she could better bring it to screen. She’s a classic beauty and her first scene, the shot of her moving in to kiss Jeff looks so dreamy, so unreal in a sense. Thelma Ritter is great with her straight forward talk! Her one liners were terrific and she just blurts out what everyone is thinking.

View attachment 62483
First Hitchcock film that I ever saw and in a theater in the 90s!!

Still a favorite of mine!

It’s time for a UHd blubray release!!
 

Nelson Au

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David, on this viewing, I did notice the happy family in that upper apartment. I think they are shown at least twice. Once in the first shot, then later when the dog is found. That’s an interesting point you make that each apartment is showing a different facet of man-woman relationships. That never occurred to me before, but it is! And I can see that he is using the window as a portal for Jeff to contemplate his options with Lisa. And Stella’s line about window shopping carries more weight now.

I found this great image on this guy’s website where he took screen caps and using photoshop, was able to create this great panorama. http://borisrautenberg.com/portfolio/rear-window/

A8843E85-B30B-4645-BC9B-28304183ECC1.jpeg
He’s got all the neighbors there. And the happy family too who I never thought about because they don’t have much drama as you said. The sun bathers aren’t seen again after their initial showing as I can recall.
 
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Nelson Au

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Osato, hopefully all the British titles, Warner, Universal and Paramount titles will get the UHD treatment.

I got an email from Screen Archives about an upcoming Hitchcock box. This one is called The House Of Hitchcock, limited edition from Universal. This looks like the Universal Alfred Hitchcock The Masterpiece Collection Limited Edition re-issued with new box and packaging. Maybe it was already mentioned on another thread.

https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-House-of-Hitchcock-Collection-Blu-ray/249642/
 
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Mark McSherry

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David, on this viewing, I did notice the happy family in that upper apartment. I think they are shown at least twice. Once in the first shot, then later when the dog is found. That’s an interesting point you make that each apartment is showing a different facet of man-woman relationships. That never occurred to me before, but it is! And I can see that he is using the window as a portal for Jeff to contemplate his options with Lisa. And Stella’s line about window shopping carries more weight now.

I found this great image on this guy’s website where he took screen caps and using photoshop, was able to create this great panorama. http://borisrautenberg.com/portfolio/rear-window/

View attachment 62505
He’s got all the neighbors there. And the happy family too who I never thought about because they don’t have much drama as you said. The sun bathers aren’t seen again after their initial showing as I can recall.
Enlarging that image--- I must say, I don't like the looks of that suited gentleman in the uppermost far-right apartment. Definitely up to no good!
 
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Nelson Au

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Mark, that gentleman setting the clock in the far right apartment is certainly up to something. :)
 

Cineman

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Nelson, that is a great grouping of key images from the movie. Btw, did we ever have a lip reader tell us what that man setting the clock turned and said to the composer at that particular moment? hmm.

As an aside, I happened to be doing some work at Paramount Studios several years ago and one of the things I love about that lot is there are placards on the wall next to each sound stage entrance listing some of the movies that were shot in that particular sound stage. I was thrilled to have spent quite a bit of time in the sound stage where REAR WINDOW was shot. And later, another sound stage where parts of VERTIGO were shot. Believe me, I consider that to be hallowed ground for great cinema.

In my free time, I scanned the walls, floor, behind every electrical cord, in every corner, nook and cranny of that sound stage to see if I could find any remaining archival evidence of that amazing REAR WINDOW set. But, alas, other than the placard outside, there was nothing. Of course, it was some 50 years and dozens of other movies later.
 
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Nelson Au

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Cool story David about your experiences at the Paramount sound stages! Would love to see the stages where Star Trek was filmed too.

What do you think Hitchcock might have been saying in the cameo? Maybe giving stage directions?
 

Osato

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David, on this viewing, I did notice the happy family in that upper apartment. I think they are shown at least twice. Once in the first shot, then later when the dog is found. That’s an interesting point you make that each apartment is showing a different facet of man-woman relationships. That never occurred to me before, but it is! And I can see that he is using the window as a portal for Jeff to contemplate his options with Lisa. And Stella’s line about window shopping carries more weight now.

I found this great image on this guy’s website where he took screen caps and using photoshop, was able to create this great panorama. http://borisrautenberg.com/portfolio/rear-window/

View attachment 62505
He’s got all the neighbors there. And the happy family too who I never thought about because they don’t have much drama as you said. The sun bathers aren’t seen again after their initial showing as I can recall.
I love the miss torso bits.
 

Nelson Au

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TCAT poster.jpg

To Catch A Thief

1955
106 minutes Color 1.66:1 VistaVision
Cast:
Cary Grant as John Robie ("The Cat")
Grace Kelly as Frances Stevens
Jessie Royce Landis as Jessie Stevens
John Williams as H. H. Hughson
Charles Vanel as Monsieur Bertani
Brigitte Auber as Danielle Foussard
Jean Martinelli as Foussard, Danielle's father
Georgette Anys as Germaine, housekeeper
René Blancard as Commissaire Lepic (uncredited)
Story based on the novel To Catch a Thief by David Dodge
Written by John Michael Hayes
Score by - Lynn Murray
Directed by - Alfred Hitchcock
Production Studio - Paramount Studios
View 9/1/19

Paramount Blu Ray 2012 - audio commentary with Dr. Drew Casper
Paramount DVD 2007 - features audio commentary with Peter Bogdanovich and Laurent Bouzereau
Paramount DVD 2002

Synopsis

John Robie is a former cat burglar but has since reformed and living a quiet life in the south of France. However a rash of new burglaries has made the police suspect John has resumed his career as The Cat. He sets about to clear his name and reveal the real burglar. Along the way, he meets an insurance man, H. H. Hughson whose companies are paying off on these robberies and Frances, a wealthy American tourist and her mother who could be the next victim.

Impressions

Themes; Wrong man accused, the cool blonde, food, the mother, the bird cage and the glamour and romance between the leads. Plus the suspense of catching the thief and the fun dialogue.

To Catch a Thief, is a fun title with a dual meaning. I’ve seen To Catch a Thief many times and it’s a real favorite. I own the laserdisc, the two earlier DVDs and the Blu Ray. ( I skipped the third DVD release. Luckily the blu ray has the same extras in that 3rd DVD) As a kid I remember hearing the title spoken by others and mixing it up with It Takes a Thief, the TV series with Robert Wagner. I enjoy this film so much and I think it’s because it’s such a fun and breezy adventure. There is picturesque scenery and the leads have such great chemistry together. This all within the mystery of the cat burglar. It was a big hit for Paramount and Hitchcock at the time too. However, this is the first time I’ve seen it in consecutive order, from Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and then To Catch a Thief. Those two earlier films were serious and To Catch A Thief was as they say, a light film if you do such a direct comparison this way, I can see why the film was criticized by the critics because of the more serious earlier films. But I found it such a nice change of pace and as some have called it, a holiday for Hitchcock in one of his favorite places. I really enjoyed this viewing a lot. And that is not to take away from Rear Window. I’d not seen Rear Window in a while so it was really great to revisit that film again with all its greatness. Part of the enjoyment was the scenery in France and the blu ray image quality is such a massive improvement over the earlier DVD’s. The higher quality VistaVision image as seen on the new blu ray makes viewing this such a pleasure.

The supporting cast are great, John Williams as H.H. Hughson the insurance man and Jessie Royce Landis as Jessie Stevens, Francie’s mother. She’s quite good. The French cast are good too with Bridgette Auber as Danielle Fousard. It was interesting that I never noticed that Charles Vanel as Bertani was dubbed as his English wasn’t good. I noticed on this viewing that his mouth is often obscured so it made it easy to dub his voice.

Possible spoilers for those who’ve not seen this are ahead.

There are shots with sinister music and characters that look suspicious, but they don’t really do anything until later. Such as the life guard at the beach who tells Robie he has a phone call, when he’s doing pull-ups later, there is that sinister music. Later on we see he is part of Bertani’s gang. Later we see John noticing Bertani at the house that John and Francie check out, but it was coincidental. I come to realize that these are red herrings early in the film.

It’s fun that the film has so many chases! The police chase John who is fleeing from his house at the start, the boat chase from Bertani’s restaurant from the police airplane, the flower market chase, and then the chase in Francie’s car from the police. I always felt bad for the woman who dropped a piece of her laundry in the road and leaves it to let Francie’s car pass.

I noticed that here, more so then Rear Window, Grace Kelly is filmed in profile when we first see her. Technically we first see her on the beach watching a John Robie come out of the water onto the beach. While she is very glamorous in Rear Window, she is even more so in this film. As discussed earlier in the thread, the picnic sequence between John and Francie in the car up on the side of the road looking down at Monaco is a real lengthy single take. From the second that John sits down with the basket and they start eating and drinking, it’s one shot. You can see that Cary didn’t really eat too much of the chicken. I didn’t time it but it was quite a scene up to the point that Cary takes Grace’s arm, then it cuts in closer.

In the 1995 James Bond film, Goldeneye, James Bond is driving the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 with a woman in the car and engages in a race with a woman in a Ferrari. The race ends when the woman order’s Bond to stop the car and he pulls over to the side of the road. We learn that the woman was assigned by M to evaluate him. I wondered if this scene was partly influenced by To Catch A Thief. In the shot with the car on the side of the road, the camera pulls up and you can see Monaco in the background below. Not the exact same, but similar view.

Another thing that is interesting, when I watched the extras, there was a technical issue with some of the Day for Night shots, there is a green tint. And the roof shingles have a green tint in the night shots in the opening scenes. Later the windows of the Carlton hotel at night when seen from Cary’s point of view have a strong yellow hue. I noticed on the blu ray, these were much more toned down, perhaps the blu ray’s color timing was much more accurate then the earlier DVD’s. About the blu ray, I was really amazed how good the VistaVision image is. The detail on skin and fabrics was so clear.

Hitchcock’s distaste for eggs is fully on display with one smashed against a window meant for John Robie and later, Jessie puts her cigarette out in the egg yolk.

The score for this film is by Lyn Murray. I thought it was pretty good and after watching the movie so many times, it’s a part of the film. It has some memorable bits because you hear it in the film. The one scene where Francie kisses John at her hotel room door is the famous shot and the music works to make it fun. I liked it enough that I managed to find a CD of the actual score from Intrada. It also has the score for Bridges at Toko-ri also with Grace Kelly and the score is by Lyn Murray.

By the way, if you have the old DVD, I thought the audio commentary with Laurent Bouzereau and Peter Bogdanovich is a good listen. As is Dr. Drew Casper on the blu ray.

Again, something in this movie one can buy and own is the Sunbeam Alpine that Francie drives around the South of France in. I remember years ago, before I was as familiar with the film, a client I worked with was telling me he has that same model car from the movie and was restoring it. Not the exact same car, but the same model. I see that it’s still a sought after car and people like it because it was in the movie.

https://www.motortrend.com/news/1955-sunbeam-alpine-classic-drive

IMG_0457.JPG

And like other films, I see there are people who like to visit the sites in the film. Here’s a photo taken by a fan of John Robie’s villa located in Saint-Jeannet, in 2016. This image is by Martin Kraft I found on Commons Wikipedia. The house looks the same. Even the gate is the same, except the hole in the right post is filled in and the hedges are grown very high.

MK54442_John_Robie's_house_in_Saint-Jeannet.jpg

It’s too bad that Cary and Grace did not do more films together.

920x920.jpg


I just realized, To Catch a Thief is TCAT.
 

Matt Hough

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Yes, it's a Hitchcock lark, and there is nothing whatsoever wrong with that. It's also a more genuine mystery than many of his films (I certainly did not guess the identity of the new "Cat" the first time I watched the movie). The Vistavision Blu-ray looks superb with striking color and Oscar-winning cinematography. You couldn't ask for a better cast, and the direction is smooth as silk.

Edith Head won eight Oscars during her illustrious career, but her loss for To Catch a Thief rankled her greatly (she lost to the costumes in Love Is a Many Splendored Thing: "all those kimonos," she cattily remarked).
 

Nelson Au

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Matt, that’s interesting that Miss Head would say that. I happen to watch Love Is A Many Splendored Thing on the recent Twilight Time blu ray. It takes place in Hong Kong and China. So I think she has her countries a little mixed up. I can understand that she was upset for losing though as she did seem to go all out on Grace Kelly’s gowns and cloths.

I don’t know if you are aware, I forgot to mention something brought up on the supplements. The script supervisor, Sylvette Baudrot, mentioned the film is supposed to take place in post war France 1947-48. And Cary Grant initially was wearing a buttoned down shirt with button holes on the collar, she said that the shirt was too modern. So the pull over shirts he wears is more in line with the time period. But I never could quite figure the time period. If he didn’t steal anything for 15 years as he says in the dialogue, then 1955 is 10 years after the war and before that he could have been in prison along with the gang. And the Sunbeam Alpine is a early 1950’s or so model. Yes, as Hitchcock said, it’s only a movie. So these little inconsistencies are minor stuff. I think the film takes place in 1954 when they filmed it.
 
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Osato

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View attachment 62771

To Catch A Thief

1955
106 minutes Color 1.66:1 VistaVision
Cast:
Cary Grant as John Robie ("The Cat")
Grace Kelly as Frances Stevens
Jessie Royce Landis as Jessie Stevens
John Williams as H. H. Hughson
Charles Vanel as Monsieur Bertani
Brigitte Auber as Danielle Foussard
Jean Martinelli as Foussard, Danielle's father
Georgette Anys as Germaine, housekeeper
René Blancard as Commissaire Lepic (uncredited)
Story based on the novel To Catch a Thief by David Dodge
Written by John Michael Hayes
Score by - Lynn Murray
Directed by - Alfred Hitchcock
Production Studio - Paramount Studios
View 9/1/19

Paramount Blu Ray 2012 - audio commentary with Dr. Drew Casper
Paramount DVD 2007 - features audio commentary with Peter Bogdanovich and Laurent Bouzereau
Paramount DVD 2002

Synopsis

John Robie is a former cat burglar but has since reformed and living a quiet life in the south of France. However a rash of new burglaries has made the police suspect John has resumed his career as The Cat. He sets about to clear his name and reveal the real burglar. Along the way, he meets an insurance man, H. H. Hughson whose companies are paying off on these robberies and Frances, a wealthy American tourist and her mother who could be the next victim.

Impressions

Themes; Wrong man accused, the cool blonde, food, the mother, the bird cage and the glamour and romance between the leads. Plus the suspense of catching the thief and the fun dialogue.

To Catch a Thief, is a fun title with a dual meaning. I’ve seen To Catch a Thief many times and it’s a real favorite. I own the laserdisc, the two earlier DVDs and the Blu Ray. ( I skipped the third DVD release. Luckily the blu ray has the same extras in that 3rd DVD) As a kid I remember hearing the title spoken by others and mixing it up with It Takes a Thief, the TV series with Robert Wagner. I enjoy this film so much and I think it’s because it’s such a fun and breezy adventure. There is picturesque scenery and the leads have such great chemistry together. This all within the mystery of the cat burglar. It was a big hit for Paramount and Hitchcock at the time too. However, this is the first time I’ve seen it in consecutive order, from Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and then To Catch a Thief. Those two earlier films were serious and To Catch A Thief was as they say, a light film if you do such a direct comparison this way, I can see why the film was criticized by the critics because of the more serious earlier films. But I found it such a nice change of pace and as some have called it, a holiday for Hitchcock in one of his favorite places. I really enjoyed this viewing a lot. And that is not to take away from Rear Window. I’d not seen Rear Window in a while so it was really great to revisit that film again with all its greatness. Part of the enjoyment was the scenery in France and the blu ray image quality is such a massive improvement over the earlier DVD’s. The higher quality VistaVision image as seen on the new blu ray makes viewing this such a pleasure.

The supporting cast are great, John Williams as H.H. Hughson the insurance man and Jessie Royce Landis as Jessie Stevens, Francie’s mother. She’s quite good. The French cast are good too with Bridgette Auber as Danielle Fousard. It was interesting that I never noticed that Charles Vanel as Bertani was dubbed as his English wasn’t good. I noticed on this viewing that his mouth is often obscured so it made it easy to dub his voice.

Possible spoilers for those who’ve not seen this are ahead.

There are shots with sinister music and characters that look suspicious, but they don’t really do anything until later. Such as the life guard at the beach who tells Robie he has a phone call, when he’s doing pull-ups later, there is that sinister music. Later on we see he is part of Bertani’s gang. Later we see John noticing Bertani at the house that John and Francie check out, but it was coincidental. I come to realize that these are red herrings early in the film.

It’s fun that the film has so many chases! The police chase John who is fleeing from his house at the start, the boat chase from Bertani’s restaurant from the police airplane, the flower market chase, and then the chase in Francie’s car from the police. I always felt bad for the woman who dropped a piece of her laundry in the road and leaves it to let Francie’s car pass.

I noticed that here, more so then Rear Window, Grace Kelly is filmed in profile when we first see her. Technically we first see her on the beach watching a John Robie come out of the water onto the beach. While she is very glamorous in Rear Window, she is even more so in this film. As discussed earlier in the thread, the picnic sequence between John and Francie in the car up on the side of the road looking down at Monaco is a real lengthy single take. From the second that John sits down with the basket and they start eating and drinking, it’s one shot. You can see that Cary didn’t really eat too much of the chicken. I didn’t time it but it was quite a scene up to the point that Cary takes Grace’s arm, then it cuts in closer.

In the 1995 James Bond film, Goldeneye, James Bond is driving the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 with a woman in the car and engages in a race with a woman in a Ferrari. The race ends when the woman order’s Bond to stop the car and he pulls over to the side of the road. We learn that the woman was assigned by M to evaluate him. I wondered if this scene was partly influenced by To Catch A Thief. In the shot with the car on the side of the road, the camera pulls up and you can see Monaco in the background below. Not the exact same, but similar view.

Another thing that is interesting, when I watched the extras, there was a technical issue with some of the Day for Night shots, there is a green tint. And the roof shingles have a green tint in the night shots in the opening scenes. Later the windows of the Carlton hotel at night when seen from Cary’s point of view have a strong yellow hue. I noticed on the blu ray, these were much more toned down, perhaps the blu ray’s color timing was much more accurate then the earlier DVD’s. About the blu ray, I was really amazed how good the VistaVision image is. The detail on skin and fabrics was so clear.

Hitchcock’s distaste for eggs is fully on display with one smashed against a window meant for John Robie and later, Jessie puts her cigarette out in the egg yolk.

The score for this film is by Lyn Murray. I thought it was pretty good and after watching the movie so many times, it’s a part of the film. It has some memorable bits because you hear it in the film. The one scene where Francie kisses John at her hotel room door is the famous shot and the music works to make it fun. I liked it enough that I managed to find a CD of the actual score from Intrada. It also has the score for Bridges at Toko-ri also with Grace Kelly and the score is by Lyn Murray.

By the way, if you have the old DVD, I thought the audio commentary with Laurent Bouzereau and Peter Bogdanovich is a good listen. As is Dr. Drew Casper on the blu ray.

Again, something in this movie one can buy and own is the Sunbeam Alpine that Francie drives around the South of France in. I remember years ago, before I was as familiar with the film, a client I worked with was telling me he has that same model car from the movie and was restoring it. Not the exact same car, but the same model. I see that it’s still a sought after car and people like it because it was in the movie.

https://www.motortrend.com/news/1955-sunbeam-alpine-classic-drive

View attachment 62768

And like other films, I see there are people who like to visit the sites in the film. Here’s a photo taken by a fan of John Robie’s villa located in Saint-Jeannet, in 2016. This image is by Martin Kraft I found on Commons Wikipedia. The house looks the same. Even the gate is the same, except the hole in the right post is filled in and the hedges are grown very high.

View attachment 62769

It’s too bad that Cary and Grace did not do more films together.

View attachment 62770


I just realized, To Catch a Thief is TCAT.
Love this one.
I need to put it on to watch on the oled
 

Matt Hough

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Edith was not a gracious loser at the Oscars. When the costume award was instituted in 1948, she was DESPERATE to be among the first to win the first Oscar ever given for costumes. She was nominated for The Emperor Waltz. She sniffed, "All my beautiful Viennese gowns lost to Krasinka's armor for Joan of Arc." Looking at Joan of Arc, of course, there are plenty of beautiful and elaborate costumes for the ladies other than Joan's chain mail, but Edith chose to ignore those. The Academy made it up to her in 1949 by giving her the Oscar for black and white costumes for The Heiress. And then in 1950, she won both costume Oscars for All About Eve and Samson and Delilah.
 
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benbess

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The clarity of VistaVision in To Catch a Thief is so visible in this blu-ray that in a few scenes I get a little of a sense of fear of heights/vertigo when watching it.
 
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TJPC

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Matt, it must have been around that same time that I saw it in 3-D at the Tiffany Theater on Sunset Boulevard in L.A. You're right, it was a bit of a revelation, a delight to watch with an audience. For me, it was one of the rare times the 3-D process actually improved the story and plot.

For the most part, the more "gimmick" laden 3-D movies lose their impact very soon after the initial wow effect (if any). In fact, that sometimes peaks during the opening credits! But with Dial M for Murder, Hitchcock used the effect to highlight certain plot points and key props along the way in the midst of what otherwise might seem a rather talkie movie; the blackmail letter, the sewing basket, the key, Margo's purse, her nylon stocking, the briefcase, to name a few.

Regarding the scissors, I don't think Hitchcock staged and shot the scene with an idea to have the scissors "pop" out and come at us the way other 3-D movies show arrows, spears, boulders and such coming at us. That would have been introducing the kind of gimmick I believe Hitchcock was trying to avoid. Anyway, the scissors are laying flat on the desk and, when grabbed, are raised and pulled away from the audience rather than thrown or thrust toward them. Instead, the thing that is thrust toward us at that horrifying moment is Margo's hand as she is reaching out for something, anything, to save her life. At us. Yet we are helpless to do anything to save her life. Which, again, is the essence of Hitchcock's cinematic suspense philosophy.

That is the heartbreaking flash of emotion he wanted us to feel. We want to shout at the screen or reach out to stop the attack, but are helpless to do so. Somewhat similar to what Tony felt while listening to the struggle, her murder, over the phone, helpless to respond to whatever natural impulse he may have felt at that instant to stop it.

And I believe there was a practical reason for why Hitchcock did not want 3-D to be an important element of impact for that murder scene. He must have known the vast majority of audiences for the movie at the time and in the future would not be watching it in 3-D. So he did not want to make a likely passing gimmick crucial to its emotional impact, especially one so dependent on the projection process at the theater and requiring the audience to wear those glasses. As it turned out, very, very few people saw it in 3-D during its initial release. From what I've read, maybe it played in only 1 or 2 theaters in 3-D and even then for not very long. There have probably been more people seeing it in 3-D during those revival theater days and now on Blu-ray and home video than saw it that way in the mid-1950s.
Hitchcock seems to tease the audience with lack of expected 3D shots. Items are tossed diagonally instead of right at the viewer, and as has been noted, the scissors move away from the viewer.
 
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Nelson Au

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Matt, sounds like Edith Head was quite competitive! I can understand the efforts that go into designing something that you feel is your best work and to not see it recognized can be very disappointing.
 

Matt Hough

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Matt, sounds like Edith Head was quite competitive! I can understand the efforts that go into designing something that you feel is your best work and to not see it recognized can be very disappointing.
I can understand a competitive nature, but it's not like she wasn't rewarded handsomely for her efforts, more than any other costume designer of her era (Irene Sharaff came closest with five wins), a time when the studios were crammed with famous and uber talented costume designers. To their credit, the Academy did manage to honor most of the famous ones at one time or another.
 

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