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⊙ Charade (1963)

Published on 17 Feb 2023 / In Comedy

Charade is a 1963 American romantic comedy mystery film directed by Stanley Donen and written by Peter Stone and Marc Behm, with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in the lead roles. Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy, Dominique Minot, Ned Glass, and Jacques Marin round out the cast. It falls into three categories: mystery thriller, drama, and comedy.

The screenplay is excellent, particularly the banter between Grant and Hepburn. It was shot completely on location in Paris. The famous theme song Charade appears in Henry Mancini's score. Maurice Binder produced the animated titles. Critics have sent Charade largely favorable feedback. It has been named "the greatest Hitchcock film that Hitchcock never produced."

The story

Regina «Reggie» Lampert, an expatriate American simultaneous translator, informs her friend Sylvie that she has agreed to divorce her husband Charles while on vacation in the French Alps. Carson was killed in a German ambush, and Charles betrayed the others, stealing all the gold. When questioned, Peter confesses to being Adam Canfield, a seasoned robber. Reggie still has confidence in him, despite his dishonesty.
Reggie and Adam head to Charles's last appointment place and discover an outdoor market. Adam follows Tex after spotting him there. As Adam and Tex see stamp-selling stalls, they know Charles must have ordered some incredibly rare and expensive stamps and affixed them to the envelope in his travel bag. Both men hurry back to Reggie's hotel room, only to find that she's given the stamps to Sylvie's son Jean-Louis for his set.
Reggie, who is at the outdoor auction, suddenly discovers the importance of the envelope. She discovers that Jean-Louis sold the stamps to a merchant, who gave the boy ten francs in exchange for the stamps. The dealer acknowledges that the stamps are worth a sum of $250,000 and willingly returns them. Reggie returns to the hotel and sees Tex's body with the word "Dyle" scrawled next to it.
Reggie, convinced that Adam is the killer, calls Hamilton, who advises her to meet him at the Colonnade at the Palais-Royal. Adam notices her exiting the hotel and pursues her. Reggie is trapped in the middle of the two men at the Colonnade. Reggie hides in the prompt box after another chase that ends in an empty theatre.
Carson almost shoots her, but Adam opens a trapdoor under Carson, causing him to crash to his death. The next day, Reggie and Adam go to the embassy to mail in the stamps, despite Adam's refusal to enter. Reggie learns inside that Adam is really Brian Cruikshank, the government official in charge of retrieving stolen goods. The film concludes with a split-screen grid featuring flashback shots of his four personalities, as Reggie expresses her wish that they have more boys so that they can all be named after him.

Cary Grant as Brian Cruikshank (alias Peter Joshua) (alias Alexander Dyle) (alias Adam Canfield)
Audrey Hepburn as Regina "Reggie" Lampert
Walter Matthau as Carson Dyle (alias Hamilton Bartholomew)
James Coburn as Tex Panthollow
George Kennedy as Herman Scobie
Dominique Minot as Sylvie Gaudel
Ned Glass as Leopold W. Gideon
Jacques Marin as Inspector Edouard Grandpierre
Paul Bonifas as Mr. Felix, the stamp dealer
Thomas Chelimsky as Jean-Louis Gaudel

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