To catch some rays, more like. Alfred Hitchcock’s follow up to Rear Window plays like a well-earned break, as historian and filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich points out in his languid but lovingly detailed commentary. Thief opens on a picture in a travel-agency window and cuts to the French Riviera, using the then-young arts of VistaVision and helicopter shooting to amplify the setting’s seductions. It frolics, it flirts. It’s Hitch on hols and heaps of fun.
Cary Grant came out of semi-retirement to star and who wouldn’t? This must have been a breeze for the old smoothie, putting him back under the lens of his Suspicion and Notorious director. Typically for Hitch, it’s a wrong-man movie. Unusually for the roly-poly cine-Buddha, it’s a whodunnit. Grant’s retired cat-burglar has to catch a copycat thief so as to clear his own name of suspicion. En route, he befriends an heiress (an extravagantly clad Grace Kelly). Much fruitiness follows, with enough cleavage-sized gags and firework-hued innuendo to upset ’50s censors.