Cary Grant

‘To Catch A Thief’: Cary Grant Was Retired, But Alfred Hitchcock Reportedly Changed His Mind

To Catch a Thief, starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, is coming back to Netflix in May!

The 1955 Oscar-winning film, which was produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, marked the third time in which Cary Grant starred in a Hitchcock movie. According to multiple reports, though, that particular collaboration almost never happened.

Around the time Hitchcock wanted to move forward to To Catch a Thief, Cary Grant was apparently off of the market. According to Cinephilia & Beyond, Grant had already announced that he was officially retired from acting.

By that point in his career, Cary Grant had already achieved more than most actors and actresses could ever dream of achieving. In addition to make several radio appearances in the late 1930s and early 1950s, Cary had five Broadway credits between 1922 and 1931. He had also appeared or starred in nearly 60 films between 1932 and 1953.

Therefore, retiring from acting would have made sense to a number of people, including his fans and critics – especially considering everything that he had already accomplished on the radio, stage and screen. However, Alfred Hitchcock apparently had other plans for the popular actor.

According to Cinephilia & Beyond, when Alfred Hitchcock invited Cary Grant over for dinner, it was an offer that the retired actor simply could not refuse. The report states that Cary was definitely intrigued by the story and overall concept of To Catch a Thief and, with some reluctance, agreed to read the screenplay. However, he reportedly made it clear to Alfred Hitchcock that he should not get his hopes up about the actor getting involved with the film.

Once again, Hitchcock apparently had a trick or two up his sleeve that would successfully lure Cary Grant into changing his mind.

“It was then, at the end of dinner, that the old fox delivered the punch that destroyed Grant’s defenses, as he informed Grant on the two, seemingly casual pieces of information. The film is to be shot on the French Riviera, and Grace Kelly agreed to play the lead female role. Retirement, it seemed at that moment, was something that Grant could easily put on hold.”

Cary Grant starred as John “The Cat” Robie — a retired burglar determined to catch a new cat burglar on the scene that was turning wealthy tourists within the French Riviera into victims. Grace Kelly played Grant’s romantic interest Frances Stevens in the film.

To Catch a Thief, which was based on a novel written by David Dodge, won the Academy Award for “Best Cinematography.”

It marked the last collaboration between Alfred Hitchcock and actress Grace Kelly. However, Grant apparently came back for more several years later in the popular 1959 Hitchcock film, North by Northwest.

Multiple reports confirm that To Catch a Thief will be returning to the streaming collection available on Netflix on May 1st. It will join several other popular Cary Grant movies that paired him with other A-list leading actresses, including:

  • His Girl Friday starring Rosalind Russell (1940)
  • People Will Talk starring Jeanne Crain (1951)
  • Monkey Business starring Ginger Rogers & Marilyn Monroe (1952)
  • An Affair to Remember starring Deborah Kerr (1957)
  • That Touch of Mink starring Doris Day (1962)
  • Charade starring Audrey Hepburn (1963)

Cary Grant did eventually retire from acting officially in 1966 when his daughter — and only child with former spouse Dyan Cannon — Jennifer Grant was born. According to the New York Times, Grant decided to step away from his successful Hollywood career to focus on his real-life journey of fatherhood.

Nearly 22 years after Jennifer was born, Cary Grant died on November 29, 1986 at the age of 82. The Los Angeles Times reported that Cary left the bulk of his estate to his widow, Barbara Harris Grant as well as his daughter Jennifer. However, with the vast number of feature films such as To Catch a Thief included within his filmography, the legacy of Cary Grant still continues to live on even now through his work.

[Image Credit: Keystone/Getty Images]

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