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Criterion Collection: Charade [Blu-ray] [1963] [US Import]

Cary Grant , Walter Matthau , Stanley Donen    Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)

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Audrey Hepburn plays a Parisienne whose husband is murdered and who finds she is being followed by four men seeking the fortune her late spouse had hidden away. Cary Grant is the stranger who comes to her aid, but his real motives aren't entirely clear--could he even be the killer? The 1963 film is directed by Stanley Donen, but it has been called "Hitchcockian" for good reason: the possible duplicities between lovers, the unspoken agendas between a man and woman sharing secrets. Charade is nowhere as significant as a Hitchcock film, but suspense-wise it holds its own; and Donen's glossy production lends itself to the welcome experience of stargazing. One wants Cary Grant to be Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn to be no one but Audrey Hepburn in a Hollywood product such as this, and they certainly don't let us down. --Tom Keogh


Beginning credits play a Henry Mancini's score and we are swept back to the sixties. The opening scene is of a metro train rolling down the track in Europe. A body is tossed off. Then a flash to a ski resort where a hand with a Luger-Parabelum is being lowered and aimed directly between Reggie's (Audrey Hepburn) eyes. Turns out that the body from the train was that of Reggie's husband, Charles Lambert. At the funeral a strange selection of sinister characters one by one check to be sure Charles is really deceased. Looks like Charles left with something of theirs and they want it back. Everyone except Reggie knows that she has it. In the process of retrieval Carry Grant appears to be helping her; however his name and occupation seems to change periodically, hence the title "Charade." Many people will be dispatched in unique and creative ways. What is everyone after and will Reggie find it before it is too late for her? The criterion edition has a voiceover track of director Stanley Donen and screenwriter Peter Stone discussing the film. Most of it sounds like rattling. However once in a while there is a useful piece of information. Such as the gloved hand with the Luger in the beginning scene was a man's hand so you would not suspect the next scene.

About the Actor

Leaving home at a young age, Cary Grant was picked to tour the United States with Bob Pender s troupe. Their play "Good Times" ran for an amazing 456 performances on Broadway, giving Grant enough time to acclimatize and decide on a career. Grant got his first big break in Mae West s comedy "She Done Him Wrong", a runaway success at the box-office. Grant s irresistible good looks combined with a gentlemanly bearing won him several coveted roles. Among them, "To Catch a Thief" (1955) and, "North by Northwest" (1959) Bonifas both directed by the revered Alfred Hitchcock - find mention in Hollywood s all time greats. That success had not affected this much sought after performer is illustrated in the story of a reporter who in an interview said, "Everybody wants to be Cary Grant". To this, the self-effacing Grant responded with "So do I." has preserved one of the most memorable Cary Grant movies "Charades" in which this Hollywood superstar is cast alongside the gorgeous Audrey Hepburn and inimitable Walter Matthau. This vintage Hollywood classic is certain to thrill you with its unusual plot. THE PLOT: Charming Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) returns to her home in Paris from a skiing holiday to find that her world had been turned upside down. To begin with, her husband Charles is lying dead in the mortuary, murdered in cold blood. Then, Inspector Edouard Grandpierre (Jaques Marin) of the French Police grills her about a quarter of a million dollars her husband was supposed to have been carrying. CIA agent Bartholomew (Walter Matthau) calls her in for questioning, warning her that the money was stolen by Charles and his friends during World War II and had to be returned to the United States Treasury. Regina doesn t have the foggiest idea about the money.
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