Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Rear Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
Paramount Pictures has decided to go back and create a new premium line of releases called “Paramount Presents”, which is bringing us remasters and pimped out editions of older films for a modern day. The first three that we get to enjoy here today were released at the end of April, with several more on the way (including some actually coming to 4K UHD, such ash Days of Thunder). This week it’s going to be King Creole, Fatal Attraction, and one of my favorite Hitchcock films, To Catch A Thief.
To start out we’ll revisit one of my favorites. To Catch a Thief is one of the few of Hitchcock’s film that aren’t owned by Universal Studios, and also one of his more “different” films in tone and feel. It doesn’t have that spine tingling thriller/horror nature that so many of his films are known for, but instead focuses on more of a caper mystery as the motif. Along with some good old fashioned Cary Grant suave romance, and a story about mistaken blame. Maybe it’s BECAUSE it’s so different is why I tend to watch and re-watch To Catch a Thief more than some of Hitchcock’s better received films. It has such a mainstream appeal to it, but also one of the better Cary Grant acting jobs of that time period. There are almost no flaws to the film, and even some 65 years later it holds up incredibly well.
The film revolves around Post-WWII French Riviera, where rich French Socialites are losing their jewels at an alarming rate to a thief that the police have dubbed “the cat”. High on the suspect list is one John Robie (Cary Grant), a pre-war jewel thief who was sort of “pardoned” for his act in the French resistance (supposedly killing 72 occupiers getting people to safety). However, with jewels disappearing like crazy the police are certain that he’s the man. Unfortunately for them, Robie is a skilled thief, and is able to elude the police and find refuge with his friend Bertani (Charles Vanel).
At it’s center To Catch A Thief is pure fun escapism. It’s not nearly as twisted and convoluted as other Hitchcock films, but that’s what makes it fun. It’s a 1950s mystery with Cary Grant. The movie is superbly acted and expertly photographed, and I still have a blast watching it each year. It doesn’t have the grandiose or gravitas of other blockbuster films of the time, and actually sits back and enjoys the caper more than anything. An amazing film, and one of my favorites to revisit.
Not Rated by the MPAA
Now here’s the bad news. In fact, there are several bits of bad news for the new transfer. The biggest one being the DNR that’s applied to the master. The first few seconds of the film I was wondering why the release had been garnering some controversy with other reviewers that I talk to, but after those first few seconds it became blatantly obvious. There is almost no grain in the entire film. Watching the older release back to back with this contrasted it so blatantly that I couldn’t help but hang my jaw nearly to the floor. To make matters worse, it affects fine detailing and facial details pretty dramatically. Faces are waxy and over smoothed, while backgrounds (even if they do SEEM to be a bit more clear) don’t actually give off as much detail as I would have liked. Then there’s the blatant color changing and mess up with day for night shots. There are several major DFN shots that happen throughout the film (the two biggest being in chapters 13 and 15) that have always been heavily tinted green (almost neon green in fact), but always looked like a night shot. The new color timing turns the scenes entirely blue AND it almost looks like they didn’t apply the DFN filter! It’s just a blue tinged daylight shot!
All in all, the video isn’t horrible, as there are some nice changes to the color timing (just in my personal opinion, I’m not 100% certain what is the CORRECT color timing from the theatrical run), but the huge swaths of waxy DNR, changes to the day for night shots, and lack of detail from said DNR really disappointed me. It’s an “ok” transfer at best, despite some definite “pop” to this new 4K transfer. Stick with the old one.
• Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin On To Catch A Thief
• Behind The Gates (2009): Cary Grant And Grace Kelly
• Theatrical Trailer
Now, To Catch A Thief is one of my favorite Hitchcock films ever, and for good reason. It has Cary Grant (love the man), a great plot, stunning cinematography, and has had a rather good Blu-ray out for the last 8 years. I really wanted to recommend this new 4K remaster, but due to the apparent DNR, butchering of the Day For Night shots, and the lack of the original audio that the previous paramount release had, I just can’t recommend it in good conscience. In fact, I’d recommend the people who don’t have the film on Blu-ray yet to look for the older Paramount release, as it’s objectively better (even if it’s not a perfect release). Luckily this seems to be an anomaly for the Paramount Presents line of remasters that are out so far (King Creole and Fatal Attraction look awesome), but it’s still a disappointment as I really love this movie and was hoping for some visual magic to happen with the remaster. Skip this particular release.
Starring: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis, John Williams, Charles Vanel
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Written by: John Michael Hayes (Screenplay), David Dodge (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, German, Spanish (Latin), Spanish (Castilian), French, Italian, Japanese DD 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Runtime: 107 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: April 21st, 2020
Recommendation: Skip It