When preparing for any trip away, I always hunt down films to watch to make me *extra* excited. Preparing for Amsterdam, I watched The Fault in Our Stars (2014) and for Barcelona is had to be Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008). I attended the Cannes Film Festival last weekend, and it was my first time travelling to the South of France. There was only one film that could adequately set the mood for my trip. And that had to be To Catch a Thief.
The film was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starred those little known actors Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. To Catch a Thief film locations span across the South East of France including Nice and Monaco as well as Cannes.
To Catch A Thief follows reformed jewel thief/cat burglar John Robie (Grant) as he tries to clear his own name when a copycat burglar begins working in the area. The copycat’s actions mimic that of John Robie in his prime, so naturally the police assume he is back to his old tricks. Escaping his gorgeous villa in Nice and ending up in Cannes, he tries to predict the copycat’s next move. He befriends the very wealthy and ballsy Francie (Kelly) and her mother alone the way.
Because of the To Catch a Thief film locations, the film is simply elegant and glamorous. It uses the awe-inspiring surroundings to their full advantage. Here are the To Catch a Thief film locations that are specifically located in Cannes.
To Catch A Thief Film Locations
Western side of the main Cannes harbour
Le Vieux Port is the main harbour in Cannes. This is where you’ll find the most luxurious and lavish yachts in all of Cannes. Nowadays, at the very end of the harbour is a helipad (of course there is) but there’s also an old lighthouse. And this is where the above scene is set. John Robie is attempting to fool the fuzz with his cunning disguise of ‘posh fisherman in sunglasses.’ He is chatting to local jewellery insurer getting updated on all the goss surrounding the missing jewellery.
Of course, the scene was actually filmed on a soundstage. It was probably shot in Paramount’s Hollywood studios. However, establishing shots and the whole look of the setting is pretty much identical from the harbour side location.
Château de la Croix-des-Gardes, 145 Boulevard Leader
This is one To Catch a Thief film location that definitely wasn’t filmed on a sound stage, at least not throughout. If I’d have had more time in Cannes, I would have gone for a hike up in the nearby hills of La Croix des Gardes. The hills are supposed to offer amazing views over the city of Cannes!
Way up in the hills is a rather epic villa which poses as the ‘Sanford Villa’ in the film. In To Catch A Thief, the villa is owned by a wealthy socialite couple who own several expensive jewels. It’s the setting for the climactic scene in the film where the copycat burglar gets revealed in the middle of a masquerade ball.
Unfortunately, the villa is private property and is probably owned by a wealthy socialite family IRL. You might be able to sneak a peek of a better-than-average driveway, if you’re lucky.
Hotel Carlton & it’s Private Beach
One of the best things about Cannes is its constant reminders of a glamorous past, without any run down buildings. It’s as if the city has been frozen in time. One great example of this is all the amazing Art Deco style hotels on La Croisette, the Cannes’ beach promenade, including the Hotel Carlton. Most of the best hotels also have private sections of the beach.
In the film, Hotel Carlton’s private beach is the one John Robie washes up on when fleeing the police in Nice. And it’s also where Robie first catches Francie’s eye (above). The Hotel Carlton itself is where Francie and her mother are staying on their trip, so the Hotel appears in the film quite frequently.
To Catch A Thief may not be one of Hitchcock’s most revered films, but I think it is such an enjoyable film. I’ve not seen many films from the 1950s use real-life film locations so extensively, and never so beautiful and wanderlust-inspiring as the South of France.
Have you ever seen To Catch A Thief? Has it ever made you drop everything and fly away to the mediterranean? If so, tell me more ’cause you sound awesome!
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