HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Black '47
Godfather Part II, The
Await Further Instructions
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
In Order of Disappearance
Charlotte's Web
Meg, The
Christmas Blood
Equalizer 2, The
1985
Mowgli
Ski School
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
Yanks
Sweet November
Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The
Real Men
   
 
Newest Articles
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
   
 
  Charade Duplicity was never so much funBuy this film here.
Year: 1963
Director: Stanley Donen
Stars: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, George Kennedy, James Coburn, Dominique Minot, Ned Glass, Jacques Marin, Paul Bonifas
Genre: Comedy, Thriller, Romance
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: Paris, 1963. After her husband dies in a mysterious accident, Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) encounters a number of sinister folk at the funeral who make strange, veiled threats. It seems Reggie married a man she hardly new. Her husband stole a cache of Nazi gold during World War Two alongside three cronies. An American treasury agent (Walter Matthau) explains these three men never got their cut and are desperate to recover it, by any means. Into Reggie’s life strides Cary Grant as a mysterious stranger who protects her - or so it appears - from villainous rogues including a cocky Texan (James Coburn) and a brute with a mechanical arm (George Kennedy). The young widow is smitten, but this charmer changes his name every five minutes. Is he Peter Joshua? Adam Canfield? Alexander Dyle? As Reggie uncovers clues leading her closer to the missing fortune, and falls deeper in love, can she trust him?

Described by one critic as “the best Hitchcock movie, Hitchcock never made”, Charade was a change of pace for musical maestro Stanley Donen. A huge hit in its day, this remains a dazzling comedy-thriller distinguished by impeccable ingredients. Peter Stone’s witty, well-crafted screenplay keeps the quips coming (“You can’t even be honest about being dishonest!”), while weaving a compelling mystery with thrills and surprises hidden all the way. Donen’s visual panache features inspired use of colour in costume, lighting and set design and he delivers dynamic set-pieces (particularly Grant’s rooftop battle with Kennedy) worthy of Hitch himself. He also creates a palpable sense of menace, which is rare in a ‘frothy’ comedy-thriller, aided by splendidly shifty performances from Coburn, Kennedy and Matthau. When Tex pins Reggie against the phone box you genuinely believe he’s going to hurt her.

The gorgeous Parisian locales provide a perfect backdrop to one of cinema’s starriest pairings: dreamy Audrey Hepburn and sexy-past-sixty Cary Grant. Being a movie icon makes it unlikely we’ll buy Grant as anything other than a hero (Ah, but what about Suspicion (1940)?). Yet he skilfully juggles physical comedy and devilish charm with hints of steel, keeping us on our toes as to whether he’s friend or foe. A consummate actor - arguably the starriest of all movie stars - it’s shameful he never won an Oscar. “All I want for Christmas is to make another movie with Audrey Hepburn”, Grant remarked shortly after the film’s release. Sadly that never happened. Uncomfortable over the age difference between himself and his leading lady, Grant only signed on after Peter Stone rewrote the script so that Regina chases him and not vice versa. Hepburn - who won a BAFTA for her performance - always shared great chemistry with her leading men (the sole exception being Humphrey Bogart in Sabrina (1954)) due largely to her own disarming nature. The scene where Regina spills wine on Adam’s suit was inspired by a real incident where Hepburn spilled win on Grant at a party.

There is a playful duplicity at work that extends to several in-jokes. The man recounting an anecdote in the embassy elevator is Peter Stone, but dubbed by Stanley Donen! Later on a marine appears onscreen dubbed by Stone. The property list police hand Regina is marked 5/4/63 - Hepburn’s impending birthday. Jonathan Demme tried to extend this playfulness, paying tribute to the French New Wave, in his ill-judged remake The Truth About Charlie (2002). Thandie Newton just about passes muster as a Hepburn substitute, but Mark Wahlberg for Cary Grant? Please. There’s also a Bollywood remake out there called Chura Liya Hai Tumne (2003), which this writer hasn’t seen but will wager includes more songs.

Universal’s failure to include the necessary copyright information on the actual print means there are an awful lot of dodgy, public domain discs of Charade lurking around. If you have a multi-region DVD player go for the definitive release - the region 1 DVD from Criterion. There’s a lot for movie fans to savour in Charade, from Maurice Binder’s stylish, proto-Bond credit sequence to Henry Mancini’s wonderful score, so you’ll want the best possible presentation. Stanley Donen returned to thriller territory with Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren in Arabesque (1966). A lesser movie, but still oodles of fun.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 4886 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (3)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
   

 

Last Updated: