tocatchathiefcat01[1]CAT OF THE DAY 067: TO CATCH A THIEF (1955)

“You want a leg or breast?” Not to mention those fireworks.

Hitchcock at his sauciest, Grace Kelly at her glossiest and Cary Grant at his most debonair (who else could get away with that absurd spotted cravat, or that ridiculous stripey T-shirt?) combine in this marvellous piece of froth set on the French Riviera, where wealthy socialites are having their precious baubles pinched by an audacious cat burglar. Minimal plot plus maximum elegance plus Grace’s show-stopping wardrobe add up to le dernier cri in stylish movie escapism, though the way she takes those hairpin bends in her Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Roadster (albeit with the help of back projection) might give you pause for thought, given what happened 27 years later.

Anyhow, Grant is not just known as “The Cat”, he also has a cat.


Tim Lucas (film critic, novelist and editor/publisher of Video Watchdog) writes on FaceBook 5 January 2013:

I just watched the Blu-ray of Paramount’s TO CATCH A THIEF and, as mentioned to me before, the subliminal image of the cat seen on television prints of the film is not there, despite an otherwise ravishingly meticulous VistaVision restoration. According to DVD Savant‘s review of the 2002 DVD, it wasn’t in that either. Fingers crossed that I still have my Beta tape copy, but just in case, might anyone else here have an old TV/Beta/VHS copy of the film that might contain it, for frame-grabbing purposes?

I wrote about this in VIDEO WATCHDOG when I first discovered it, probably 15 or more years ago. But when Grace Kelly is driving Cary Grant at high speeds down those narrow roads and identifies him as “John Robie – The Cat!” Hitchcock planted a subliminal shot of a black cat, no more than a frame or two. I can’t even remember if I photographed it, or if I was able; in those days, I was working from Beta tape and shooting images off my TV screen with a camera, often getting a rollbar across the image, so I would take entire rolls of film of the same image so ONE would turn out publishable. I did get rid of a lot of Beta tapes and don’t know offhand if my Beta recording of TCAT survived the trashing. It was Beta tape #64… a very early recording, probably dating back to a (rough guess) TBS broadcast in the early ’80s.

I believe Robert Harris said that Paramount’s Blu-ray came from an archival Technicolor IB interpositive. It might be the source of any additional prints struck of the picture. It seems the subliminal has gone missing lo these past 30 years or thereabouts, but I did see it and did record it from TV. Now it seems I’ll have to find it, and pray that I didn’t toss it.


And here’s another Hitchcock cat:


“Oh, good evening. The leading man in tonight’s saga is an alley cat. He must be fed before each performance. It keeps him from eating the actors. Tonight he’s having finely chopped mice burger. Naturally, we used nothing but contented mice. For two weeks, they were fed nothing but tranquilizers. Now, you should see tonight’s story – Miss Paisley’s Cat…”

This entry was posted in Black Cat, Cataphor, Catpanion, Catperson, Catscallion and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to CAT OF THE DAY 067: TO CATCH A THIEF

  1. One of my favorite cats! 😉

  2. Pingback: The Motif of Cats in Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief | susiestoepfel

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