Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Starring Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Walter Matthau, and James Coburn

Directed by Stanley Donnen

Release Date: December 5th, 1963

A parisian tale of mystery, tricks, lies, and greed. Charade is a suspenseful and humorous tale of a woman's journey to uncovering the mystery of her husband's murder.

Reggie Lampish (Hepburn), fresh off a ski-slope vacation, has just been told that she is now a widow. Mr. Charles Lampish was found murdered after being thrown off a train in his pajamas, with only loose change and a letter to his wife among his possessions. Soon, Reggie is contacted by CIA Administrator Hamilton Bartholomew (Matthau), who alters Mrs. Lampish that her husband was keeping secrets from her: that he was living under a fake name, and that he and 4 friends stole $250,000 during WWII only for Charles to run off with the money and one friend killed. Now, the remaining co-horts are after Reggie for her to give up the money, or suffer dearly. Will the help of a charming stranger (Grant) be enough to solve the answer of Charles Lampish's death?

Charade is given the title of "the best Hitchcock movie Hitchcock never made", but that is underselling how energetic and marvelous the film really is. Charade is a whirlwind adventure through the streets of Paris as scored by Henry Mancini, and has a great combination of suspense and comedy. Through the levity of such scenes like the "pass the orange" game could have sidetracked the mood of the film, it never feels forced or distracting to the film's objective of keeping Reggie on her toes about the dangers she's in or the villiains after her. Audrey Hepburn is wonderful as Reggie, making her a sympathetic and likable protagonist whose confusion is real and understandable. Also, Hepburn and co-star Grant have fantastic chemistry together, slyfully playing cat-and-mouse with each other.
Rating: * * * * * of 5

Click Here to buy Charade (The Criterion Collection)
Click Here to buy Charade (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

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