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To Catch A Thief - Nice France
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© Christine Till
To Catch a Thief is a lavishly costumed mystery about a cat burglar prowling the pretty playgrounds of the ultra-rich on the French Riviera. With two of Hitchcock's favorite stars, glorious Grace Kelly and gorgeous Cary Grant, the film quite literally sparkles.
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. One of the scenes was filmed on the Promenade des Anglais, another one on Avenue Foch in Nice
It is interesting to note that the flower market scenes were not filmed on the cours saleya, the bustling pedestrian zone in old Nice where the market is still held today. Instead, in an attempt to avoid the massive crowds, Hitchcock (very effectively) created his own flower market for the film on a street that runs along the periphery of the old town, the Boulevard Jean Jaures.
I once heard a story about Cary Grant shopping in Nice during the filming of To Catch A Thief. He and a companion were looking for just the right shirt for Grant to wear during a particular scene. As he was trying on various styles Grant told his friend that he very much enjoyed being in France. "Really?" said the friend. "Why?" - "Because the French are so respectful of my privacy and don't give a damn about celebrity." Grant responded. "In France, unlike in the United States, I could live my life in blissful obscurity."
Once the proper shirt had been selected and paid for, the pair made their way to the door only to discover that they couldn't leave because an enormous crowd had gathered just outside the shop. It seems word had spread that Cary Grant was inside.
December 18th, 2012
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