Saturday, January 23, 2016

Classic Symbiotic Collaborations: The Star-Director Blogathon

Theresa of CineMaven's Essays from the Couch is hosting her first blogathon. The theme for it involves the many famous collaborations between actor and director. Lemmon and Wilder, Stewart and Capra, Bogart and Huston...the list goes on and on. I decided to focus on one that doesn't frequently gets talked about. Maybe because it's a collaboration that lasted only three films. Maybe because it sometimes gets overshadowed by the more famous collaborations the director had with other actors. I am of course referring to the brief collaboration of Grace Kelly and Alfred Hitchcock.

On the set of To Catch a Thief

Well, Hitchcock's films with Cary Grant and James Stewart seemed too obvious, so I wanted something different. Anyway, for a fresh reminder, these are the films that Kelly and Hitchcock did together:

(1954, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
(1954, dir. Alfred Hitchcock
(1955, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

Let's have some fun, shall we? (More after the jump.)


This collaboration began with an adaptation of Frederick Knott's play alongside Ray Milland. Made after her Oscar-nominated turn in Mogambo, Kelly's Margot Wendice fulfills the role of the Hitchcock blonde in peril. After all, nothing says peril more than being framed for murder.

Apparently Hitchcock saw some promise in Kelly early on. While they were filming Dial M for Murder, he told her about his plans for his next film. She liked what she heard so much that she turned down the female lead in On the Waterfront (which went to newcomer -- and future Hitchcock blonde -- Eva Marie Saint who won an Oscar as a result) so she could work with Hitchcock again.



The most famous of their collaboration is easily Rear Window. (Boy, 1954 was a good year for Kelly, wasn't it?) Alongside Stewart, her Lisa Fremont is the epitome of class and sophistication (a frequent detail seen later in some of Kelly's other work). Thankfully it's not a one-dimensional role for her.

Rear Window was also the film that more or less solidified Kelly's status as a style icon. (Ah, one of the perks of having your wardrobe designed by Edith Head.) But Lisa is more than just a living display of Head's outfits. She provides insight that helps Jeff in solving the potential murder that happened across the courtyard.



With her final film with Hitchcock, Kelly is paired alongside Grant (again a noticeable age gap between her and her leading man) and is placed in the lush locale of the French Riviera. Though not as compelling as their previous collaborations, To Catch a Thief predates the chic nature of Charade by eight years.

The same year To Catch a Thief was released, Kelly met future husband Prince Rainer III of Monaco. (Amusingly, her Frances Stevens proclaims "Palaces are for royalty" at one point in the film.) She kept close correspondence with Rainer and in April 1956, they were married. Monaco garnered a princess but Hitchcock lost one of his famous blondes. Yes, he had the likes of Kim Novak and Tippi Hedren in the years to come but none of them could replace his dear Grace.


  1. Very cool post. Hitchcock and Kelly were an excellent team. You're so right that Hitch's other blondes weren't quite on her level. Thanks for introducing me to a new blog and blogathon.

  2. Personally, I haven't been able to warm up to "To Catch a Thief", but have lost count of the number of times I've watched "Dial M for Murder" and "Rear Window". Their multiple pleasures never abate.

    A tour of Princess Grace's fashion and artifacts a few years ago contained correspondence between her and Hitchcock. It is nice to know that their friendship was genuine and lasting.

    1. Well, I knew that Hitchcock wanted her to star in Marnie but of course that didn't pan out.

  3. Hi Anna... can't wait to bite a chunk out of this read. They both were made for each other. I think she probably IS Hitchcock's blonde. Thanks for contributing to the blogathon. :)

  4. Terrific choice for the blogathon! I didn't know Grace Kelly turned down the role in "On the Waterfront" to work with Hitchcock again. They certainly made a great team!


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