Charming comedy-romance-thriller pairing Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, intelligently scripted by Peter Stone and directed in distinctly Hitchcockian style by Stanley Donen.
Reggie Lambert (Hepburn) returns to Paris from a ski trip in the French Alps to find her house ransacked and her husband dead. His funeral is attended by three curious thugs--played by James Coburn, George Kennedy, and Ned Glass--each of whom make sure that the corpse is indeed dead. Peter (Grant)
offers his assistance to Reggie, as does CIA man Bartholomew (Walter Matthau) who informs her that her husband was part of a gang which, during WW II, stole and stashed a quarter of a million dollars. Naturally, everyone thinks--mistakenly--that Reggie knows the whereabouts of the money. Although
Reggie finds herself falling in love with Peter, she suspects that he too is after the money, especially given his fondness for aliases--Peter Joshua, Alexander Dyle, Adam Canfield, Brian Cruickshank, etc. As the corpses begin to accumulate, it becomes increasingly important--and difficult--for
Reggie to determine who are the good guys and who are the villains.
CHARADE is a finely crafted thriller that has a lot to offer beyond its clever plot. The radiant Hepburn's romance with the suave Grant is delightfully handled; the Oscar-nominated theme song by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer is superb; the location photography is exquisite and the rooftop fight
scene between Grant and Kennedy is truly harrowing.
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