To Catch A Thief (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 02-28-2012, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

83






Studio and Year: Paramount - 1955
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 1955
Genre: Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Dolby TrueHD 1.0, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Cary Grant , Grace Kelly , Jessie Landis , Jean Martinelli , Charles Vanel , John Williams , Georgette Anys
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Music by: Lyn Murray
Written by: John Michael Hayes based on the novel by David Dodge
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 6, 2012







"For a moment he forgets he’s a thief – and she forgets she’s a lady!"



Film Synopsis:

Cary Grant plays John Robie, a reformed jewel thief once known as "The Cat," who is suspected of a new rash of gem thefts in the luxury hotels of the French Riviera. Using a vacationing heiress named Frances (Grace Kelly), he sees a chance to bait the mysterious thief in order to clear him name.



My Take:

The French Riviera...two luminous stars (Grace Kelly, Cary Grant)... and the master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, behind the camera. Cary Grant plays John Robie, retired jewel thief once known as "The Cat,". When a new rash of gem thefts occurs amongst the luxury hotels of the spectacular French Riviera, the local police believe that "The Cat" is on the prowl once again. While trying to elude the police Robie catches the eye of Frances Stevens (Kelly), a pampered heiress, who is vacationing with her mother. Robie uses his charm to get into their good graces and unveils a plan (that will require their help) to nab the real thief. Is Robie truly reformed or is he deviously using Frances to gain access to the temping collection of fabulous jewelry belonging to her mother? Either way things don’t go according to plan as he finds that in Frances he gets more than he bargained for in this romantic cat and mouse thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock based on the novel David Dodge.

This is my first time seeing To catch a thief and I thoroughly enjoyed it. By today’s standards it’s hardly original but I am sure that in the mid fifties it had viewers guessing and mired in suspense. That aspect of it played out until the very end of course but for me the real fun was found in the superb chemistry between Grant and Kelly. I also thought that for the time period it must have been considered a bit racy with its innuendo, suggestive tones and the scene involving the “dropped” casino card (into the women’s cleavage) followed by the revealing camera shot. There is a little bit of everything, romance, suspense, action, car chases, witty banter, and of course the whodunit. Hitchcock was a master craftsman who enjoyed a superb working relationship with his cast/crew which definitely shines through in this film. To catch a thief garnered three Academy Award nominations and took home the prize for Robert Burks’ stunning cinematography. Interesting facts: This would be Grace Kelly’s final film with Hitchcock (she was 25 at the time) as she became the Princess of Monaco in 1956. Cary Grant was 50 years old when he made this film. Hard to believe based upon the incredible shape he was in. Considered a classic by many, To catch a thief is a wonderful film that easily withstands the tests of time and receives a rejuvenating shot in the arm with this sparkling Blu-ray Disc release from Paramount.



Parental Guide:

The film contains mild violence and thematic material that would garner a PG rating.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 76



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 90


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

To catch a thief comes to Blu-ray from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD stereo that has an average bitrate of 1.1 Mbps.

Originally shot in VistaVision this presentation is framed in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and looks marvelous. Colors are tonally balanced with lustrous primaries, clean rendering and delineated secondary hues that all look terrific. Fleshtones are warm with discernible texture and primarily natural depiction. The level of visible detail in facial features, hair and clothing during close-ups is noteworthy. Wide angle shots vary in terms of visual depth but most reveal subtle degrees of refinement and fidelity is never in question. Resolution is excellent as interior and mid level exterior shots offer clarity, detail and dimension that belie the film’s 57 year old age. Robert Burks’ award winning cinematography captures the splendor of the south of France in breathtaking fashion. Blacks are noise free, stable and fairly deep. Contrast and brightness are balanced well which enliven bright scenes and colors while maintaining an appreciable level of visibility and dimension during darker segments. Grain is visible in fine even layers with no apparent signs of image degrading digital noise reduction. I didn’t note the presence of any video related artifacts and thought that the presentation as a whole was top notch.

Paramount includes both stereo and monaural lossless Dolby TrueHD audio options. I chose to use the stereo soundtrack during my evaluation. The original recording wasn’t designed for multi-channel sound and its mono based perspective is favorably conveyed here. Imaging is quite good as the presentation is centrally focused with appreciable directional spacing which broadens depth. Dialogue is clear and clarity/detail is quite good which gives distinction to the less prominent elements contained in the recording. Dynamic range is better than I expected, and although not on par with today’s newer soundtrack recordings, sounds very good for a 50 plus year old soundtrack. Purists will probably prefer the mono audio track however I think that the stereo mix maintains the integrity of the recording and never sounds unnatural.



Bonus Features:


  • Audio commentary by Dr. Drew Casper, Hitchcock film historian

  • A night with the Hitchcocks – 22 minute Q&A with Pat Hitchcock & Mary Stone recorded at USC 11/19/08

  • Unacceptable under the code: Film censorship in America – 11 minute documentary

  • Writing and casting To catch a thief – 9 minute documentary

  • The making of To catch a thief – 17 minutes

  • Behind the gates: Cary Grant and Grace Kelly – 6 minutes

  • Alfred Hitchcock and To catch a thief: An appreciation – 7 minute documentary

  • To catch a thief - Interactive travelogue

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer

  • Galleries – Movie/Publicity/Visitors to the set/Production


Final Thoughts:

Based on David Dodge’s novel, To catch a thief as adapted by screenwriter John Michael Hayes and suspense master Alfred Hitchcock is a wonderful multi-genre film that appeals to a varied audience. I thoroughly enjoyed its eclectic narrative and the strong chemistry between leads Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. It debuts on Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment in a solid package that features marvelous and faithful high definition video quality, crystal clear lossless sound, and previously released bonus supplements that compliment the film. This is highly recommended viewing that deserves a place in the collection of every Hitchcock fan. Enjoy!









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 19 Old 02-28-2012, 11:52 AM
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Thanks for the great review! I can't wait to see this one again. It's one of my favorites.
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post #3 of 19 Old 02-28-2012, 12:43 PM
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Have to see this!
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post #4 of 19 Old 02-28-2012, 01:39 PM
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Ralph: Thank You. One of my favorite movies. Hopefully Amazon will deliver on time.
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post #5 of 19 Old 02-29-2012, 07:29 AM
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Looking forward to the upgrade from DVD. Day 1 purchase!
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post #6 of 19 Old 02-29-2012, 07:35 AM
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ah grace kelly. a beauty for the ages....
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post #7 of 19 Old 02-29-2012, 08:05 AM
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I thought High Society was Kelly's last film?

Alcohol. The cause of and solution to all of life's problems.
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post #8 of 19 Old 02-29-2012, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post

I thought High Society was Kelly's last film?

To Catch A Thief was released in 1955, High Society in 1956 and to the best of my knowledge, that was her last film.
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post #9 of 19 Old 02-29-2012, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post

I thought High Society was Kelly's last film?

Greetings,

This was her final film with Hitchcock. Thanks for catching that. I amended the review..

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post #10 of 19 Old 02-29-2012, 12:05 PM
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Already ordered blind. But thanks for the quality confirmation Ralph. Looking forward to a "Movie Night" built around this title.

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post #11 of 19 Old 03-02-2012, 05:13 PM
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I have always liked this movie. Grace Kelly and Cary Grant are two of my alltime favorite movie stars.
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post #12 of 19 Old 03-06-2012, 04:47 AM
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Quote:


By today's standards it's hardly original but I am sure that in the mid fifties it had viewers guessing and mired in suspense

Thing is that `today's standards' have been stealing ideas from Hitchcock's library for 50+ years. New Line's wallet is getting thinner over Disturbia and I'm sure that will continue. Now we just need Hitchcock's top guns (Vertigo and Rear Window) on BLU!
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post #13 of 19 Old 03-06-2012, 08:23 PM
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I sampled this one tonight. 1st: the Netflix copy has all the retail features.
2nd: It looks fantastic.
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post #14 of 19 Old 03-07-2012, 08:43 AM
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Such a fantastic movie. I pre-ordered this a few weeks ago, but am still waiting to get it. Glad to hear the PQ is up to snuff.
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post #15 of 19 Old 03-07-2012, 12:54 PM
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Thanks Ralph. Will have to buy on Amazon...
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post #16 of 19 Old 03-09-2012, 09:38 PM
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The movie is outstanding. Color and scenery are stunning and Grace Kelly as always, beautiful. As far as BD quality goes, this is near the top. And of course the Hitchcock cameo goes without saying.

RIP Robin Williams. Thanks for the laughter.
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post #17 of 19 Old 03-10-2012, 11:15 AM
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Ralph,

I had never seen this movie, but being an admirer of Hitchcock and the look of his films, I thought this would be a good buy, especially after your review.

What a surprise this film ended up being! It completely fulfilled my expectations as far as being a Hitchcock film, both with its style and story. But the real surprise was the quality of the picture. Stunning, breathtaking and incredible are only mild ways to describe the look of this movie. It truly ranks among the best Blu-rays I've ever seen. It puts today's movies to shame, with their obsessive teal and blue color manipulation. To Catch a Thief is how movies should look, in their full-glory Technicolor magnificence. What a treat this was, and thanks for the recommendation!
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post #18 of 19 Old 03-10-2012, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpellChecker View Post

Ralph,

I had never seen this movie, but being an admirer of Hitchcock and the look of his films, I thought this would be a good buy, especially after your review.

What a surprise this film ended up being! It completely fulfilled my expectations as far as being a Hitchcock film, both with its style and story. But the real surprise was the quality of the picture. Stunning, breathtaking and incredible are only mild ways to describe the look of this movie. It truly ranks among the best Blu-rays I've ever seen. It puts today's movies to shame, with their obsessive teal and blue color manipulation. To Catch a Thief is how movies should look, in their full-glory Technicolor magnificence. What a treat this was, and thanks for the recommendation!

Greetings,

You're more than welcome SC. I am glad that you enjoyed it so much..


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post #19 of 19 Old 03-23-2012, 01:21 PM
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Over at DVDbeaver, they are babbling on about the format. Anyone knows what they are talking about?

Quote:
To Catch a Thief looks marvelous on dual-layered Blu-ray from Paramount. Everything tightens-up impressively and the contrast takes notable strides in the 1080P resolution. Unfortunately, it is still in the 1.78:1 frame. There is some depth to the widescreen adding a scope-factor to the visuals.

Is this supposed to be a different format?
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