To Catch a Thief appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, this was a pleasing image.
Sharpness was strong. Virtually no softness materialized here, as even wide shots showed nice clarity and accuracy. I saw no jagged edges and shimmering wasn’t a problem despite the presence of some striped shirts in the first act.
Source flaws stayed non-existent, so this was a clean transfer. Edge haloes didn’t appear, and with a nice layer of grain, the transfer showed no signs of intrusive noise reduction.
Colors usually appeared excellent. The movie exhibited a bright, varied palette with a lot of dynamic tones, and the hues popped off the screen on many occasions.
Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows showed good clarity and delineation. Overall, this was a consistently fine presentation.
In terms of audio, the disc threw in a reworked Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. While not a splendid soundfield, the film came with a moderately engaging mix.
Music exhibited acceptable stereo spread, and effects broadened on occasion. While a fair amount of the action felt fairly “centered”, the mix managed to spread out fairly well at times.
For instance, street and driving scenes offered a nice sense of movement, and those on the water expanded sonic horizons in a pleasing manner. A fireworks displayed boasted nice activity in the surrounds, too, While nothing here excelled, the soundscape felt engaging enough.
Audio quality was dated but fine. Dialogue showed a lot of looping, and some revoiced actors created minor distractions.
Those issues always existed, of course, so I couldn’t fault the Blu-ray for these choices. Despite some dull speech at times, the lines usually felt fairly natural, and they always remained intelligible.
Music lacked much range, but the score seemed reasonably lush, and effects followed suit. Though those elements didn’t betray a lot of real impact, they felt acceptably accurate and lacked notable distortion. Given the movie’s age, this was a more than adequate remix.
How did the 2020 “Paramount Presents” Blu-ray compare to the original 2012 Blu-ray? Visuals seemed a smidgen cleaner and perhaps a bit tighter.
However, the old BD already looked great, so I didn’t find much room for improvement. The 2020 disc lost a couple small specks and felt a little more stable, but the two seemed similar enough to both earn “A-“ grades.
Matters complicate in terms of audio. On one hand, the 2020 BD’s 5.1 mix worked much better than the 2012 disc’s 2.0 track. The former opened up matters in a more engaging manner and it showed superior sound quality.
On the other hand, the 2020 disc dropped the older platter’s monaural mix. While I like the 2020’s 5.1 track, I’d prefer to get the original mono.
Also unfortunately, the 2020 Blu-ray loses most of the prior extras, though we re-encounter an audio commentary from film historian Dr. Drew Casper. He offers a running, screen-specific piece that looks at the source novel and its adaptation, filmmaking techniques and interpretation, cast and crew, elements of the era, movie trends and technical elements, how the flick fits into the Hitchcock oeuvre, shooting on location, and a mix of topics.
A veteran of many tracks of this sort, Casper knows his way around the format, and he also knows his Hitchcock. His comfort with commentaries becomes clear as he seems well-prepared and eager to impart his knowledge. Casper digs into Thief with gusto and provides an abundance of useful information in this consistently enjoyable chat.
Another extra from prior releases, Behind the Gates: Cary Grant and Grace Kelly lasts six minutes, six seconds as it provides notes from film historian Richard Schickel and producer AC Lyles. They provide some basic notes about Grant and Kelly. This is too short a show to come to much, but it’s still enjoyable.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a new featurette. Filmmaker Focus runs seven minutes, 19 seconds and brings notes from film critic/historian Leonard Maltin.
Here we get info about Hitchcock’s career as well as general thoughts about Thief. Maltin provides a decent overview of the flick, but he doesn’t bring out a ton of insights.
As noted, the 2020 Blu-ray drops a slew of extras from the 2012 release. Why don’t these appear? I have no idea, but their absence turns into a perplexing – disappointment.
The duo of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly are as gorgeous as the backdrop of the French Riviera. While To Catch A Thief doesn’t rate as one of Hitchcock’s best efforts, it becomes an enjoyable romp nonetheless. The Blu-ray delivers excellent visuals as well as good audio and a few bonus materials. Though this turns into a nice depiction of the film itself, the absence of pre-existing supplements means it can’t count as definitive.
To rate this film visit the original review of TO CATCH A THIEF