Basically, we have here a genial, gentle ‘making of’ of a genial, gentle film. TO CATCH A THIEF is that rare Hitchcock film which lacks any overt darkness, the kind of movie you could put on Sunday afternoon and not offend Grandma. This short tale of its creation – which features no stroppy actors storming off sets, or movie threatening fights, or sordid affairs – is much the same.
What I found fascinating about it though, was the background tale of David Dodge, the author of the book the film was based on.
Now I was one of those people who was only vaguely aware that TO CATCH A THIEF was based on a book, but I’m so glad I now know his story. An itinerant American who split his time between travel writing and thrillers, he came up with TO CATCH A THIEF after he himself fell under suspicion of being a cat burglar while living on the South of France.
Never a household name (although he did rather well from the tie-in edition of the film), Dodge could serve as an inspiration for a great many writers. An author who honed his craft, who wrote what he knew while making it commercial and who managed to make a living for it. A living decent enough that he could live in a large house on the French Riviera, even if finances were occasionally tight. And then one day a bit of luck came along in the form of Mr Hitchcock, and he had the high-profile film adaptation too.
The bit of luck we can’t legislate for, but everything else – the dedication, the work – is something all writers can emulate. We just have to hope that when we come up with stories about theft or murder, it’s not because we’ve actually been accused of those crimes.
Fancy reading a taster of my latest novel? The first couple of chapters of EDEN ST. MICHEL are available for free here!