To Catch a Thief (film)

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To Catch a Thief is a 1955 film about a former thief suspected of a new series of crimes who tries to find the real culprit and the woman who romances him.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Written by John Michael Hayes, based on the novel by David Dodge.
Wanted by the police in all the luxury-spots of Europe!... A catch for any woman! Taglines

Francie Stevens

  • Palaces are for royalty. We're just common people with a bank account.
  • [to Robie] You've got a very strong grip - the kind a burglar needs.

Mrs. Jessie Stevens

  • [to Francie, about Robie] I wouldn't mind buying that for you..


Hughson: You are a man of obvious good taste in everything. How did you - I mean, why did you...?
Robie: Why did I take up stealing? To live better, to own things I couldn't afford, to acquire this good taste which you now enjoy and which I should be very reluctant to give up.
Hughson: Oh, you mean you were frankly dishonest.
Robie: I tried to be.
Hughson: You know, I thought you'd have some defense, some tale of hardship - your mother ran off when you were young, your father beat you, or something.
Robie: Naah, no. I was a member of an American trapeze act in the circus that traveled in Europe. It folded and I was stranded, so I put my agility to a more rewarding purpose.
Hughson: You have no other defense.
Robie: No. For what it's worth, I only stole from people who wouldn't go hungry.
Hughson: I take it you were a sort of modern Robin Hood. I mean, you gave away most of the proceeds of your crimes...
Robie: Kept everything myself. Well, let's face it, I was an out-and-out thief, like you.
Hughson: Steady, old man.
Robie: No, no, wait a minute. Have you ever taken an ashtray from a hotel or a towel?
Hughson: Souvenirs; they expect that.
Robie: You're given an expense allowance to pay for all the meals you eat on the job. Right? But this meal is free. Now, are you going to deduct the price of a lunch from your expense account? Well, of course you're not. It would be stupid. Do you agree?
Hughson: Yes.
Robie: You're a thief. Only an amateur thief, of course, but it will help you to sympathize with us professionals.

Mrs. Stevens: [to Robie] How come you haven't made a pass at my daughter? [to Frances] And don't say, "Oh, Mother!" to me. Mr. Burns, I asked you a question.
Robie: Very pretty; quietly attractive.
Mrs. Stevens: Yeah, but too nice. I'm sorry I ever sent her to that finishing school; I think they finished her there.

Danielle: Don't you think it's foolish to remain here without knowing what will happen to you? But if you were in South America with me, you will know exactly what will happen.
Robie: You make it sound dangerous either way.
Danielle: It would be so much nicer to be killed by love, no?
Robie: Uh, pardon me while I get the water out of my ear.
Danielle: John, you know what sort of men they are at Bertani's. Another robbery and they will do something to you.
Robie: Well, I'd better get back.
Danielle: [about Francie] But what has she got more than me? Except money, and you are getting plenty of that.
Robie: Danielle, you are just a girl. She is a woman.
Danielle: Why do you want to buy an old car if you can get a new one cheaper? It will run better and last longer.
Robie: Well, it looks as if my old car just drove off.
Francie: [swimming up] No, it hasn't, it's just turned amphibious. I thought I'd come out and see what the big attraction was.
Robie: Yes.
Francie: And possibly even rate an introduction.
Robie: [to Danielle] Oh, uh, you didn't tell me your name.
Danielle: Danielle Foussard.
Robie: Miss Foussard - Miss Stevens.
Francie: How do you do, Miss Foussard. Mr. Burns has told me so little about you.
Robie: Well, we only met a couple of minutes ago.
Danielle: That's right, only a few minutes ago.
Francie: Only a few minutes ago? And you talk like old friends. Ah well, that's warm, friendly France for you.
Robie: [to Francie] I was asking about renting some water-skis. Would you like me to teach you how to water ski?
Francie: Thank you, but I was women's champion at Sarasota, Florida, last season.
Robie: Well, it was just an idea.
Francie: Are you sure you were talking about water-skis? From where I sat, it looked as though you were conjugating some irregular verbs.
Robie: Say something nice to her, Danielle.
Danielle: She looks a lot older, up close.
Robie: Ohhh -
Francie: To a mere child, anything over twenty might seem old.
Danielle: A child? Shall we stand in shallower water and discuss that?
Francie: Enjoying yourself, Mr. Burns?
Robie: Oh yes, it's very nice out here, with the sun and all.
Francie: Well, it's too much for me. I'll see you at the hotel.
Robie: [laughing nervously] I'll go with you.
Danielle: But Mr. Burns, you didn't finish telling me why French women are more seductive than American women?
Robie: I know what I'd like to tell you!

Francie: Do you want a leg or a breast?
Robie: You make the choice.

Francie: If you really want to see fireworks, it's better with the lights out. [She turns off the lamps in the room one by one] I have a feeling that tonight, you're going to see one of the Riviera's most fascinating sights... I was talking about the fireworks.
Robie: I never doubted it.
Francie: The way you looked at my necklace, I didn't know. You've been dying to say something about it all evening. Go ahead.
Robie: Why, have I been staring at it?
Francie: No, you've been trying to avoid it.
Robie: May I have a brandy?
Francie: Please.
Robie: Do you care for one?
Francie: No. Thank you. Some nights a person doesn't need to drink. Doesn't it make you nervous to be in the same room with thousands of dollars' worth of diamonds and unable to touch them?
Robie: No.
Francie: Like an alcoholic outside of a bar on election day.
Robie: [laughs] Wouldn't know the feeling.
Francie: All right. You've studied the layout, drawn your plans, worked out your timetable, put on your dark clothes with your crepe-soled shoes and your rope. Maybe your face blackened. And you're over the roofs in the darkness, down the side wall to the right apartment, and the window's locked. All that elation turned into frustration. What would you do?
Robie: I'd go home, get a good night's sleep.
Francie: Oh, what would you do? [She steps into the darkness that hides only her face] The thrill is right there in front of you, but you can't quite get it - and the gems glistening on the other side of the window, and someone asleep, breathing heavily.
Robie: I'd go home, get a good night's sleep.
Francie: Wouldn't you use a glass cutter, a brick, your fist - anything to get what you wanted? Knowing it was just there waiting for you?
Robie: [sips his brandy] Oh, forget it.
Francie: Drinking dulls your senses.
Robie: Yeah, and if I'm lucky, some of my hearing.
Francie: [fondles her necklace] Blue-white with just hairlike touches of platinum.
Robie: You know, I have about the same interest in jewelry that I have in politics, horseracing, modern poetry, or women who need weird excitement: none.
Francie: Hold this necklace in your hand and tell me you're not John Robie, 'the Cat.' John, tell me something. You're going to rob that villa we cased this afternoon, aren't you? Oh, I suppose 'rob' is archaic. You'd say, 'knock over'?
Robie: [pained] Oh -
Francie: Don't worry, I'm very good at secrets.
Robie: Tell me, have you ever been on a psychiatrist's couch?
Francie: Don't change the subject. I know the perfect time to do it: Next week, the Sanfords are holding their annual gala. Everyone who counts will be there. I'll get you an invitation. It's an 18th-century costume affair. There will be thousands upon thousands of dollars' worth of the world's most elegant jewelry. Some of the guests will be staying for the weekend. We'll get all the information, and we'll do it together. What do you say?
Robie: My only comment would be highly censorable.
Francie: [sits alluringly on the couch, displaying both her necklace and bare decolletage] Give up, John. Admit who you are. Even in this light, I can tell where your eyes are looking. [He sits down] Look, John. Hold them. Diamonds. Only thing in the world you can't resist. Then tell me you don't know what I'm talking about. [She kisses his fingers, one by one, then puts her necklace in the palm of his hand] Ever had a better offer in your whole life? One with everything?
Robie: I've never had a crazier one.
Francie: Just as long as you're satisfied.
Robie: You know as well as I do this necklace is imitation.
Francie: Well, I'm not. [They kiss]

Francie: I called the police from your room and told them who you are and everything you've been doing tonight.
Robie: Everything? The boys must have really enjoyed that at headquarters!


  • Wanted by the police in all the luxury-spots of Europe!... A catch for any woman!
  • For a moment he forgets he's a thief—and she forgets she's a lady!


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