Charade: The Everett Collection
Edward Karam
April 16, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Charade

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
performer
Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, James Coburn, George Kennedy, Walter Matthau
director
Stanley Donen

We gave it a B+

Director Stanley Donen’s thriller Charade is like a dry martini served with a grape: It’s sophisticated, tasty, and a bit bizarre. Audrey Hepburn learns her late husband has been involved with dangerous men (including firebug James Coburn and hook-handed George Kennedy) who are pursuing the penniless, Givenchy-clad widow for a treasure he stashed. Casual pal Cary Grant suddenly becomes her protector — though it’s she who pursues him romantically, and a little creepily given their age difference (Grant, pushing 60, wisely resists seducing her). The thrills are consistent, but the comedy veers wildly from bubbly backchat to screwball stunts, keeping a viewer intriguingly off-balance.

EXTRAS A commentary by Donen and screenwriter Peter Stone might have been more focused with only one of them. They niggle over details, but film buffs will find a few nuggets (a scene on a bateau mouche shows the same view of Paris on both sides) and lumps of trivia (when Grant was lit from behind, he wore masking tape on the backs of his ears to prevent shine-through).

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