To Catch A Thief, 1955

Director

Alfred Hitchcock

Cast

visit the film locations

Nice: Aeroport Nice Cote d'Azur

Côte d’Azur Tourism

Stay at: the InterContinental Carlton, 58 la Croisette, Cannes (tel: +33.4.93.06.40.06)

Monaco: Visit Monaco


in the area

Les Collettes, the Musée Renoir, 19 chemin des Collettes in Haut de Cagnes, was the final home of impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and the location for his son, Jean Renoir’s 1959 classic film Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe.


Trivia

See more of Nice in François Truffaut’s Day For Night (La Nuit Americaine); and more of the old romantic Monte Carlo in Michael Powell’s The Red Shoes.


To Catch A Thief film location: InterContinental Cannes Hotel, la Croisette, Cannes, French Riviera

To Catch A Thief film location: InterContinental Cannes Hotel, la Croisette, Cannes, French Riviera

It’s significant that the opening credits of this minor, but glossily enjoyable, Hitchcock thriller, are superimposed over a travel agent’s window. A large part of the film’s charm is its showcasing of the beautiful towns and villages along France’s (and Monaco’s) Riviera coast.

The other plus is the sparkling interplay between bona fide screen stars Grace Kelly and Cary Grant.

Grant is ex-cat burglar John Robie, setting out to prove he's not back to his old tricks while, naturally, romancing heiress, Frances Stevens (Kelly).

As prime suspect in a series of jewel thefts, Robie is visited by the bumbling police at his villa in Saint-Jeannet, just below the huge rocky outcrop of Baou de St Jeannet, a couple of miles northwest of Nice.

Robie evades the law, and the cops (who never come off best in a Hitchcock movie) chase a decoy through the countryside in entirely the wrong direction. It’s Robie’s maid they follow through the villages of Le Bar sur Loup and Tourrettes sur Loup, a few miles to the west of Saint-Jeannet.

The village of Tourrettes sur Loup was the location for Marcel Carné’s 1942 fantasy Les Visiteurs du Soir.

Robie, meanwhile, makes his way east – to Monte Carlo – by bus (with Hitchcock making his traditional cameo appearance as a fellow passenger)

Monte Carlo has been crassly redeveloped since the Fifties. The terrace and steps down to the bay, where Robie attempts to convince restaurant owner Bertani and his old resistance pals that he’s not the Cat, is long gone.

Aided by lovestruck Danielle Foussard (Brigitte Auber), Robie escapes by boat – quite some distance – way past Nice to the Beach Club along the coast at Cannes.

It’s back in Nice, though, to find the flower market, where Robie meets the helpful insurance man from Lloyds (John Williams). The real market is on Cours Saleya in the Old Town, but was recreated for the film a few blocks north on the wider Boulevard Jean Jaures. You can still still get a romantic bouquet on cours Saleya every day of the week, except Monday.

To Catch A Thief film location: the flower market, Cours Saleya, Nice

To Catch A Thief film location: the flower market, Cours Saleya, Nice

Frances Stevens and her mother (Jessie Royce Landis) stay at the Carlton Hotel, now the InterContinental Carlton, 58 la Croisette, in Cannes. Dominating the seafront, the Carlton is naturally the place to stay if you’re an A-list guest at the annual Cannes Film Festival.

Now held every May, the international Festival has been hosted by Cannes since 1946 (it was intended to be launched in 1939, but was delayed by the unexpected arrival of WWII).

The ‘Sanford villa’, which Robie cases under the pretence of wantting to rent it, is Château de la Croix-des-Gardes, 145 Boulevard Leader, in the hills just to the west of Cannes itself. It’s a private home, so chances are you won’t get to see its Florentine-style façade or 12 hectares of hanging gardens unless you get a party invite.

It’s sadly unavoidable to ignore the horrible sense of foreshadowing as Frances takes Robie for a hair-raising drive along the Grande Corniche, above Monte Carlo.

The towering arched viaduct carries the Avenue de Verdun, the D6007, into the medieval village of Èze, between Villefranche-sur-Mer and Monaco. The village through which they whizz is La Turbie (Grace Kelly crashed while driving on the CD37 below the village of La Turbie).

And watch out, the hairpin bends in the area really can be unnerving.

To Catch A Thief film location: the bridge at Eze

To Catch A Thief film location: the bridge at Èze

Photograph: norbiy / iStockphoto

The funeral of Danielle’s father, the wine waiter Foussard, is held at the cemetery of Haut-de-Cagnes, above Cagnes sur Mer. The entrance is on Avenue de Verdun.

Les Collettes, in Haut de Cagnes, was the location for Jean Renoir’s 1959 classic Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe.




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