Wild Young Minds: Charade: Audrey Hepburn in a vintage thriller

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Charade: Audrey Hepburn in a vintage thriller

''I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies I couldn't possibly meet anyone else''
This is what Reggie Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) says in one of the first scenes in Charade (1963). Reggie is on a skiing holiday with a friend, whom she tells she's going to divorce her husband Charles. The charming Peter Joshua (Cary Grant) walks in and receives this rejection. Back in Paris (where most of Audrey Hepburn's films take place), Reggie finds out her husband has been murdered.

A thrilling sequence of situations follows. At the funeral, Reggie sees three rather suspicious men, who turn out to be three survivors of a WW II operation. Together with Reggie's husband and Carson Dyle they had to give a great amount of money to the French Resistance, but they never did. Charles took all the money and now the three men want to have it back. Too bad for them the US governments wants the money as well. Everyone thinks Reggie has the money, but she has no idea where it is.

She's being treatened several times and hides herself in a hotel room. She receives help from, who soon turns out to be named different from what he says. He says he's Carson Dyle's brother Alex and thinks the others murdered his brother. Reggie falls for Alex and his protectiveness but feels cheatened when she finds out Carson Dyle didn't have any brother. Alex gets a new name again (Adam) and actually is a thief!

Reggie wants to find out where the money is herself too, so she starts a hunt as well. At an outdoor market, where Charles had his last appointment, she finds out the money is hidden in stamps. Unfortunately, the stamps have been given to her friend's son, who has traded them with a stamp trader. Luckily, he realizes some mistake was made so he gives them back to Reggie.

When she's back in the hotel, Reggie finds out another of the three men is murdered. He wrote 'Dyle' before he died. She is extremely frightened and runs outside. Adam sees her and runs after her. A long chase through Paris and the subway follows. That's pretty much all I'm going to give away, since the rest you have to see for yourselves. I can already say many more disclosures will follow.

'Charade' is different from the other films starring Audrey Hepburn. Though I love them all, this one is more shocking and thrilling. It doesn't come close to our thrillers nowadays (persecutions are always quite corny in old movies), but it has a good story line. Audrey Hepburn is perfect as always, very funny, defined and charming. Cary Grant is definitely the gentlemen, but I didn't feel a real connection between them. May sound cheesy, but Audrey is definitely to sparkling for Cary, who is more stiff and cold.

'Charade' is said to be the best Hitchcock film Hitchcock never made and I definitely agree with that. No doubt. Audrey Hepburn outshines Grace Kelly, if you ask me, but unfortunately there's no sparkling connection like Grace Kelly and Cary Grant had in 'To catch a thief'. Ah, you can't have it all.

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