Plot: Retired jewel thief John Robie (Cary Grant) goes on the run after a copycat thief implicates him in a spate of robberies. While trying to catch the impersonator and prove his innocence, Frances (Grace Kelly) begins to suspect something.
What went through my head: Well here’s two of my favourite things in older cinema: Grace Kelly and Alfred Hitchcock. Kelly dazzles me on screen and Hitchcock always makes films with a simply excellent story. Thank the old gods and the new that this is no exception.
While I’m not the biggest Cary Grant fan ever (I find him a little cheesy and aloof) I can appreciate him in Hitchcock films as he seems to take on a grittier edge. To be fair, the character of John Robie is one that I imagine would be hard to act badly, this story is quite brilliant in just about every way. In most older mystery films it’s about as easy as Spot The Dog for ages 3+ to see whodunit but this kept me guessing for longer than I care to admit. Perhaps it’s better I don’t follow my dream of a life of high-octane sleuthing after all.
There’s something quite effortless and cool about this film. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s about high-priced jewellery, it’s set on the French Riviera, and just about every character is fucking loaded, but everything just seems to flow like silk, and glide from one place to another with an ease that would make Sinatra jealous.
Verdict: It’s always refreshing to watch a Hitchcock film, and this one is no different. While perhaps not as famous as some others, this still deserves a place in the history books as a brilliant thriller that gripped me from start to finish and made me wish I was back in France, flush with cash and riding a speedboat, and few things can feel better than that.
Frances Stevens: Are you sure you were talking about water skis? From where I sat it looked as though you were conjugating some irregular verbs.
H. H. Hughson: You are a man of obvious good taste in everything. Why did you…
John Robie: Why did I take up stealing? To live better, to own things I couldn’t afford, to acquire this good taste that you now enjoy and which I should be very reluctant to give up.
H. H. Hughson: Then you are frankly dishonest.
John Robie: I try to be.