This classic romantic thriller features some of director Hitchcock’s favorite actors: Cary Grant as retired cat burglar, John Robie, aka “The Cat”; Grace Kelly as Frances Stevens, the ice-blonde object of Robie’s affections; and Jessie Royce Landis as Frances’ (very wealthy and not afraid to flaunt it) mother.
The story takes place on the French Riviera. An exotic locale with a beach and rich people.
So when a string of jewel burglaries take place, Robie comes under suspicion from the local gendarmes. As a result, he spends most of the movie trying to prove his innocence (since, apparently, “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t apply in the French Riviera).
But more than that—there’s the romance. Kelly and Grant have several scenes that notch up the sexual tension to the max. As witnessed by the fireworks display that takes place while Robie admires Frances’ décolletage (draped with expensive necklace) by moonlight. The scene, while building the romantic tension, underscores the question of whether Robie is back from retirement.
The romance is blended with great humorous bits, such as the chase scene, in which Frances’ car is followed. Plus, there’s a whole back and forth between the leads about who Robie really is. Is he the infamous Cat or is he the world’s least likely Oregonian?
I’d be remiss not to mention the supporting actors. John Williams is suitably stuffy as H.H. Hughson, the police detective. And Bridgitte Auber is mildly annoying as a pouty, jealous rival for Robie’s affections.
Of course, not to be outdone, Frances outshines Frenchy the Pouter with her bewildering number of outfits.
If you enjoy suspenseful stories with romantic zing, this one truly fits the bill.
The comic blend of romance and suspense earns this film two thumbs up!