Contact me at because I'm always up for a natter about anything. Well, mostly.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Classic Film Review: Charade (1963)

Charade stars Audrey Hepburn as Regina Lampert, a woman who returns to Paris from holiday to find that her husband sold all their possessions and was then murdered on a train. The police want to know what he did with the money, so does government official Hamilton Bartholemew (Walter Matthau) and three strangers who turn up at his funeral. Regina is supported at this difficult time by Peter Joshua (Cary Grant), someone she barely knows who seems to be hiding a few secrets of his own. As it transpires that her husband's murderer is out to get her, believing she has the money, it becomes a race against time to save her life. And where is the money?

I adored this film. Hepburn and Grant work brilliantly together, large age-gap or not. Sometimes with films you get the impression that the cast were having as fun a time putting it together as the audience subsequently gets in watching it and this is one of those films. The witty dialogue between Regina and Peter Joshua during their first meeting sets the tone for the rest of the film and it's downright fantastic. They bounce off each other so well and there's a warmth between them that's unmistakable.

As for the story, it kept me hooked. I was a few steps ahead of the narrative but, really, I just enjoyed the ride. It was very well-written with numerous twists and turns and some clever digs at the thriller genre. We've got a rooftop fight, a dead man in a bath, concealed identities and a tense stand-off in a deserted theatre. It cranks up the atmosphere whilst still remaining amusing. Almost inevitably, my favourite scenes are Grant/Hepburn ones: the early scene already mentioned, the scene in the club where they're roped in as volunteers and the brilliant shower scene that had me in fits of laughter. My favourite moment is probably when Regina asks Peter how he shaves inside that famous Cary Grant dimple.

Charade rocketed onto the list of my favourite films, joining the likes of Bringing Up Baby, The African Queen and Rebecca. That company should indicate quite how wonderful this film is. Completely recommended.

No comments: