After Regina Lampert falls for the dashing Peter Joshua on a skiing holiday in the French Alps, she discovers upon her return to Paris that her husband has been murdered. Soon, she and Peter are giving chase to three of her late husband's World War II cronies, Tex, Scobie and Gideon, who are after a quarter of a million dollars the quartet stole while behind enemy lines. But why does Peter keep changing his name?
Quality seeping from every genre pore. Charade is directed by Stanley Donen, written by Peter Stone and Marc Behm, and stars Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. It also features Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy, Dominique Minot, Ned Glass, and Jacques Marin. It's shot on location in Paris with Charles Lang on cinematography and Henry Mancini provides the score - where his memorable theme tune was Oscar nominated. When her husband is murdered, just prior to seeking a divorce from him, Regina Lampert (Hepburn) finds herself pursued by a number of men who seem to think she knows the location of a quarter of a million dollars in stolen loot. Of all the men who are now thrust into her life, it's the handsome Peter Joshua (Grant) who she trusts and sides with. Trouble is, is that his name keeps changing and she's finding it difficult to determine who exactly are the good guys and who are the bad guys - especially as the corpses start to mount up. Pure Hollywood entertainment featuring two of its most endearing and classy performers, Charade shows how a multi genre spliced film should be made. It's rare to find a film that works on all levels, as a comedy, a thriller and a romance. But thanks to the astute direction from Donen, Charade comes up trumps whilst also oozing an elegant sheen about it. That Grant & Hepburn have charisma in abundance is something of a given, but they are given a quality script to work from and a Hitchcockian plot to revel in. It has been said from some critical quarters that there is no peril in Charade, thus its reputation is not entirely lived up to. Yes we can say it's a playful movie, but it's meant to be, pretty much like "North By Northwest" is. Yet the peril exists, lest we forget a great rooftop fight and the last quarter of the movie as we follow our hurried protagonists through the Parisian underground - and on to a memorable encounter at a theatre. Or what about a metal handed George Kennedy putting the pressure on, or James Coburn menacingly playing with matches? No peril my eye!. There's also been the odd dissenting voice proclaiming the structure of the story to be confused. Well it's very twisty, delightfully so, but nothing to tax the brain. Everything is laid out in simple terms and all dialogue is spoken nice and crisply. All played out amongst the splendid back drop of Paris. This was the first and only time that Hepburn & Grant appeared together. A crying shame, for in spite of Grant worrying about the age gap before hand (Grant 59/Hepburn 34), to the extent he requested some dialogue changes to make Regina the romantic pursuer, their chemistry sparkles and they make a very believable coupling. Coburn, Kennedy & Glass are effective bad boys, while Matthau is a key presence throughout. Stylish, charming, suave and suspenseful, with an ending that's truly a pleasant surprise - both in revelation and character closure, Charade is not to be missed by anyone who likes a bit of comedy, romance and thrills in their respective movie diets. 9/10
Audrey Hepburn's acting is simply lovely and her clothes gorgeous. I loved the way old movies were made, simple, slow passed, no running around or blowing entire buildings, just the old way of telling stories. This way I got to meet all characters, like them, laugh at them and be happy with their ending. And Regina is such an elegant, feminine, brave lady that I'd hoped to be when older. In sum a wonderful movie.