To Catch a Thief analysis and review
Today’s stop in the Hitchcock library provided a film which, if we’re being honest, I’m not very fond of: To Catch a Thief. I know that this film is a favorite of some, but it really did not grab my attention like the other works of Hitchcock have managed to. Lets get the “review” part of this article out of the way, I would not recommend TCaT and I know that I will not be revisiting it voluntarily.
Now, just because I didn’t particularly enjoy the movie does not mean that there wasn’t anything to learn from it, I am watching these films to try and deepen my understanding of visual storytelling after all! There were 2 things that I noticed about this film, 1 being much more obvious than the other.
The use of color in To Catch a Thief interested me mostly because it was clearly present at all the most tense parts of the film. The story of TCaT follows a former jewel thief who is recruited to catch another thief while dodging the questioning long arm of the law. John (the hero) wears a red scarf around his neck, which stands out clearly as shades of read are nearly non-existent in the world presented on screen. Each time that our hero is near capture, he is rescued by an object which also happens to be red (a boat, a bus, flowers which are thrown in the market place are just a few examples). The use of the color could just be because red is eye-catching, especially in a world where no one wears it but a handsome cat burglar, but I believe that the color shows a sort of allegiance. Red, in my mind, denotes an object as one that is going in the same direction as John and will help him achieve his goals.
Analysis of cuts:
TCaT also has a lot of strange cuts which are used to illustrate a part of the story being presented on screen. For instance, when John meets Frances they decide to watch a firework display together. As they get more comfortable with one another and begin to flirt more and more heavily, the lines are punctuated with cuts to fireworks (because the two of them are feeling fireworks). Also, when the cat burglar story is being established in the beginning of the film, there are cuts to a black cat, sometimes even recreating movements explained by our narrator. The use of visual aids seemed pretty unnecessary, but it was charming. I don’t feel that it could actually be used effectively in the same way in today’s film world, but maybe in something short like a commercial they would work perfectly.