- 1 hr 53 min
Charade is a 1963 movie that falls under the banner of the romantic comedy genre. This classic movie starred three of the silver screen's biggest stars - Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, and Walter Matthau. Directed by Stanley Donen, Charade follows the story of Reggie (Audrey Hepburn), a young widow, whose husband was mysteriously killed while on a skiing trip. Upon her return to Paris, Reggie learns that her husband had stolen a considerable sum of money during World War II. Several government agencies and private collectors are all after the money. And Reggieâs life is in danger as she seeks answers about her late husband's involvement in the theft.
At Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, Regina âReggieâ Lambert, played by Audrey Hepburn, is reunited with her recent estranged husband, Charles. They had taken separate vacations and agreed to decide on a divorce. When Charles is assassinated, Reggie is harassed by CIA agent Hamilton Bartholomew and the French police who believe she has knowledge of Charlesâ wartime activities. Five men Charles associated with, including Tex Panthollow, Herman Scobie, Leopold W. Gideon, and Antoine Dufour, also pursue Reggie, believing she has Charlesâ share of a $250,000 haul from World War II. When Bartholomew falls in love with her, he arranges her release into his custody after secretly carrying out a stage-managed arrest. Reggie follows clues to several locations associated with the dead men, including his stamp collection and the U.S. Embassy in Paris, where Tex secretly deposits the payoff money.
Starring alongside Audrey Hepburn is Cary Grant, playing against type as a smitten American man, Peter Joshua. Grant plays a character which hearkens back to his past performances as a leading man romancing the likes of Ginger Rogers and Irene Dunne. But this time with a twist. Grantâs character is also known by the aliases - Alexander Dyle, Adam Canfield, and Brian Cruikshank. Checkered past notwithstanding, Joshua falls for Reggie at Marco, a club where they dance to âCharade.â In pursuit of the money and the truth, the couple go across Paris to an outdoor market at Bastille, Rue de Maronites, and the Bois de Boulogne where they share a romantic interlude.
Walter Matthau rounds up this high profile cast, playing Hamilton Bartholomew, a shady, paint-by-numbers government agent assigned to follow Audrey Hepburn's character, Reggie Lambert. During the course of the movie, the audience learns that Matthau's character could be conspiring with others to steal the stolen fortune. His understated performance in Charade helped secure a reputation as a reliable, talented character actor who could steal scenes from even the biggest stars in Hollywood.
Charade features an impeccable screenplay by Peter Stone, who won an academy award for the Best Original Screenplay. The story meanders across Paris, imbuing every scene with an air of intrigue, anticipation, mirth, or romance. Stanley Donen, the director of Singing in the Rain and On the Town, brings his signature kinetic, pacey, and vibrant style to Charade, making the movie experience captivating and thrilling.
Charade is famous for being one of the earliest Hollywood films to mix romance and suspense in a way that has now become a staple of the romantic comedy genre. It's also famous for having one of the best twists in the history of Hollywood movies, which genuinely surprises the audience, causing some to re-watch the movie to see how they missed the crucial clues. Charade is a timeless classic that balances the charm of its two leads with a thrilling quest for stolen money that never drags or disappoints, making it one of the most enduring and beloved movies of all time.
In conclusion, Charade is a spellbinding combination of romantic comedy and suspense, capitalizing on the chemistry between its two incomparable leads, Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. The movie's careful research into European cities and its relatable characters make it feel fresh as if it was made for contemporary audiences. The entertaining screenplay, dynamic pacing, and surprising plot twists come together to create a memorable film full of suspense and thrills. Charade is one of the greatest examples of classic Hollywood entertainment, and it deserves its reputation as a timeless classic of cinema.
Charade is a 1963 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 53 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.9 and a MetaScore of 83.