Charade (1963)

  • Title: Charade
  • Director: Stanley Donen
  • Date: 1963
  • Studio: Universal
  • Genre: Suspense, Romance, Mystery
  • Cast: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy
  • Format: Technicolor, Widescreen
  • Format: R1, NTSC

“It is infuriating that your unhappiness does not turn to fat.” — Sylvie to Regina

“Any morning now, you could wake-up dead, Mrs. Lambert.” — Threat spoken to Regina

“Being murdered in cold blood is not nonsense! Why don’t you try it sometime?” — Regina to Peter

Audrey Hepburn is Regina Lambert, who returns to her flat in Paris, determined to ask her husband for a divorce, only to find the flat completely empty, the electricity shut off, and a police officer waiting to tell her that her husband has been murdered. He was thrown off a train. Shortly thereafter, a man claiming to be from the CIA (Walter Matthau) informs her that her husband was wanted for stealing $250,000 in gold during World War II along with four other men. What follows is a complicated suspense movie of multiple identities, miscellaneous murders, revenge, and a search for the missing money. Cary Grant alone, who keeps showing up around Audrey Hepburn, has at least four names.

This film is directed like a classic Hitchcock film, though the director is actually Stanley Donen – better known for his musicals. There is some romantic tension between Hepburn and Grant as well, but not as much as is typical for a Cary Grant-led romantic comedy.

Overall, though a bit long, it’s still a fun film. I picked up my copy at Suncoast on sale for $4.99 — back when there was a Suncoast Video, simply because with Grant and Hepburn as leads I figured I couldn’t go wrong and I was right. The film is very enjoyable. Cary Grant is excellent as the mystery man Hepburn isn’t sure she should trust or not. And Audrey Hepburn is excellent and believable as the only one in the film who really has no idea what’s going on. Also, there are two surprises at the end: where the money was hidden (a classic – I love it, tho’ the idea has been played with since in several formats) and who Cary Grant “really” is – another classic.

Recommendation: See it!
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Next Film: Charade (1953)

Bringing Up Baby

  • Title: Bringing Up Baby
  • Director: Howard Hawks
  • Studio: RKO Radio Pictures
  • Date: 1938
  • Genre: Classic, Romance, Comedy
  • Cast: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant
  • Format: Black & White, Standard
  • DVD Format: R1, NTSC, 2-disc Special Edition

Bringing Up Baby is a classic and very funny “screwball comedy”. It’s simply a joy to watch. Cary Grant plays a “zoologist” (Considering he’s building a brontosaur skeleton for a museum, he’s more likely an archeologist, anthropologist, or paleontologist. Zoologists study living animals) who keeps running into Susan Vance (Hepburn), an heiress who seems to never stop talking or take five seconds to consider the consequences of  her actions. Grant is also due to get married – something Hepburn foils by keeping him busy on her Aunt’s estate in Connecticut. Though there is very little plot, the film is brilliantly funny – from Hepburn and Grant walking out of a very fancy restaurant pressed close together to hide the fact that Hepburn has lost the train and backside of her skirt – to various shenanigans chasing her pet leopard, Baby, the film is laugh out loud funny.

Cary Grant plays an out-of-his-depth professor perfectly, confused and confounded throughout – until he finally realizes how he feels about Susan. Whereas, Katharine Hepburn is at her screwball comedy best, talking a mile a minute without ever making sense.

The dialogue in the film is fast and furious and frequently overlaps – working to add to the pace and the hilarious nature of the film. Truly, not a film to be missed.

Recommendation: See it! — What are you waiting for?
Rating: 4 out of 5
Next Film: Broadcast News