Charade


1h 54m 1963
Charade

Brief Synopsis

A beautiful widow tries to find her husband's lost fortune while eluding the killers who want it themselves.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Mystery
Thriller
Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
New York opening: 5 Dec 1963
Production Company
Stanley Donen Productions
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Unsuspecting Wife" by Peter Stone and Marc Behm (publication undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 54m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

Returning to Paris from an Alpine ski holiday, Reggie Lambert finds her husband, Charles, murdered. A vacation acquaintance, Peter Joshua, offers his services and assists her in finding a hotel room. Lambert's funeral is attended by three strange Americans. Summoned to the U. S. Embassy, Reggie is informed by supposed C.I.A. official Hamilton Bartholomew that Lambert and four accomplices had pilfered $250,000 in gold destined for the French Resistance during World War II, and that the government would appreciate her assistance in finding the loot. He further confides his fear for her life. Reggie assures Bartholomew, however, that she has no idea where the money is. The agent further informs the widow that among Lambert's former associates only Carson Dyle is deceased; the others attended her husband's funeral. Threatened by the trio, Reggie confides in Joshua, who reveals that he is Dyle's vengeful brother Alexander. Informed by Bartholomew that Dyle had no brother, Reggie confronts Joshua, who now asserts that he is thief Adam Canfield. When the American trio is murdered, Reggie assumes that her friend is, in fact, Alexander Dyle. En route to deliver the three rare stamps representing the purloined $250,000 Reggie meets Joshua, who discloses that Bartholomew is in reality Carson Dyle. Unmasked, the murderer flees to the Comédie Française, where he falls to his death through an open trap door. Joshua thereupon reveals to Reggie that he is U. S. Treasury agent Brian Cruikshank, accepts the stamps, and embraces the widow.

Videos

Movie Clip

Charade (1963) - Bang On The Wall Just off a phone call warning her that her supposed guardian Peter (Cary Grant) may not be legit, newly-widowed Reggie (Audrey Hepburn) calls her Paris CIA contact Bartholomew (Walter Matthau), whom she meets after some spycraft by director Stanley Donen, in Charade, 1963.
Charade (1963) - How Do You Shave In There? Reggie (Audrey Hepburn), whose mysterious husband whom she didn’t like has been murdered, is growing fond of the attention of Peter (Cary Grant) who, as far as we know, has nothing to do with the intrigue, when thug George Kennedy turns up, in director Stanley Donen’s Charade, 1963,
Charade (1963) - Everything Is Secrecy And Lies The highly Hitchcock-y opening from director Stanley Donen (who freely confessed to the imitation), introducing Audrey Hepburn in the Alps, with friend Sylvie (Dominique Minot), then Cary Grant as the stranger who captures the brat (Thomas Chelimsky), in Charade, 1963,
Charade (1963) - He Must Have Known Charles At the funeral of the murdered husband she planned to divorce, “Reggie” (Audrey Hepburn), with pal Sylvie (Dominique Minot), notes three odd mourners (Ned Glass, James Coburn, George Kennedy), Jacques Marin the Paris cop, in Stanley Donen’s Charade, 1963, co-starring Cary Grant.
Charade (1963) - We're The Floor Show Warned by American spies that the murderers of her husband may be after her, Reggie (Audrey Hepburn) has asked new friend Peter (Cary Grant) to meet her in a Paris park, then a night club, where director Stanley Donen stages a gratuitous pantomime, in his Hitchcock homage Charade, 1963

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Mystery
Thriller
Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
New York opening: 5 Dec 1963
Production Company
Stanley Donen Productions
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Unsuspecting Wife" by Peter Stone and Marc Behm (publication undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 54m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Song

1963

Articles

Charade


It's got all the ingredients of a classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller: A convoluted plot involving mistaken identity and murder; a beautiful woman in peril; an assortment of frightening villains; a dapper gentleman hero; posh settings; witty dialogue; a memorable music score and theme song; and one of the most attractive screen teams of the sixties - Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant (in their only film together). In fact, Charade (1963) has everything you'd except from a Hitchcock film except the famous director's name above the credits. That's because this is a Stanley Donen film that works as both homage and a send-up of Hitchcock's past collaborations with Cary Grant. In the biography Audrey Hepburn by Barry Paris, Donen said, "I always wanted to make a movie like one of my favorites, North by Northwest [1959]. What I admired most was the wonderful story of the mistaken identity of the leading man. They mistook him for somebody who didn't exist; he could never prove he wasn't somebody who wasn't alive. I searched [for something with] the same idiom of adventure, suspense and humor."

It was inevitable that two iconic stars like Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, renown for their on-screen sophistication and elegance, would be teamed together at some point in their careers and they had come close to it three times prior to Charade. Grant had been offered the male lead in three of Hepburn's best films, Roman Holiday (1953), Sabrina (1954) and Love in the Afternoon (1957) and turned them all down because of the quarter-century age difference between them. And for a while, it looked like he wasn't going to do Charade either. At the time, it was rumored that he didn't want to work with Hepburn because he had turned down the role of Henry Higgins in the screen version of My Fair Lady (1964) but that decision was made out of respect for Rex Harrison who created the role on Broadway. In the Barry Paris biography, Donen recalled that "Cary thought he was going to do a picture with Howard Hawks called Man's Favorite Sport? [so he] said no to Charade. Columbia said get Paul Newman. Newman said yes, but Columbia wouldn't pay his going rate. Then they said get Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood. So I got them and Columbia decided they couldn't afford them or the picture. So I sold Charade to Universal. In the meantime, Cary had read Hawks's script and didn't like it. So he called me and said he would like to do Charade."

Hepburn and Grant had never met professionally before Charade but Donen had worked with them both separately in previous films. He had directed Audrey in Funny Face in 1957 and with Cary as a business partner he formed an independent company called Grandon which produced their two features together, Indiscreet (1958) and The Grass is Greener (1960). So it was Donen who also introduced the two stars. In Audrey Hepburn: A Biography by Warren G. Harris, the director recalled: "I arranged a dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant in Paris. Audrey and I arrived first. Cary came in, and Audrey stood up and said, 'I'm so nervous.' He said, 'Why?' And she said, 'Meeting you, working with you - I'm so nervous.' And he said, 'Don't be nervous, for goodness' sake. I'm thrilled to know you. Here, sit down at the table. Put your hands on the table, palms up, put your head down and take a few deep breaths.' We all sat down, and Audrey put her hands on the table. I had ordered a bottle of red wine. When she put her head down, she hit the bottle, and the wine went all over Cary's cream-colored suit. Audrey was humiliated. People at other tables were looking, and everybody was buzzing. It was a horrendous moment. Cary was a half hour from his hotel, so he took off his coat and comfortably sat through the whole meal like that."

Despite their awkward first meeting, Hepburn and Grant loved working together on Charade, often improvising some of their dialogue. The screenplay was by Peter Stone, a writer who had once lived in Paris on the Ile de France near Notre Dame and he knew the city well, incorporating its visual splendors into the plot. Stone later revealed that Grant was initially nervous about his part. He was almost sixty and Audrey was only 32, making him worry that audiences would view him as 'a dirty old man.' The screenwriter said Grant "made me change the dynamic of the characters and make Audrey the aggressor. She chased him, and he tried to dissuade her. She pursued him and sat in his lap. She found him irresistible, and ultimately he was worn down by her. I gave him lines like "I'm too old for you, get away from me, little girl.' And 'I'm old enough to be your father.' And in the elevator: 'I could be in trouble transporting you beyond the first floor. A minor!' This way Cary couldn't get in any trouble. What could he do! She was chasing him."

Indeed, a great deal of Stone's dialogue has a humorous zing to it, not unlike the witty banter found in Hitchcock films like North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief (1955). In one scene, Hepburn teases Grant about his dimple, asking him, 'How do you shave in there?' His response in the original script was 'Like porcupines make love. Very carefully,' but the censors considered it too risque so the line was altered.

Charade was filmed in Paris during October of 1962. The weather was unseasonably cold and made outdoor location shoots difficult because of the freezing temperatures. Despite this, cinematographer Charles Lang gives the film a rich Autumnal glow while cleverly exploiting such distinctive Parisian landmarks as Les Halles, Notre Dame, the Champ Elysees, and the Palais Royale. The end result is a first class entertainment, full of visual delights including the colorful geometric opening credits, a great introductory scene at the jet set ski resort of Mont d' Arbois in Megeve, Switzerland, Hepburn's stylish wardrobe by Givenchy, and an unforgettable rooftop struggle between Grant and George Kennedy, a menacing thug with a steel claw for a right hand. Audiences flocked to see Charade, making it the fifth most profitable movie of the year; it also broke the box office record of any previous film at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Henry Mancini's theme song won an Oscar nomination and critics sang the film's praises in print. Pauline Kael called it "probably the best American film" of the year, Newsweek proclaimed it "an absolute delight," and Look magazine said "Grant, Hepburn and Paris never looked better." In fact, Charade, which was favorably compared to the best of Hitchcock's work, was much more successful, both financially and critically, than The Birds, Hitchcock's thriller from the same year

Producer/Director: Stanley Donen
Screenplay: Peter Stone
Art Direction: Jean d'Eaubonne
Cinematography: Charles B. Lang
Costume Design: Hubert de Givenchy
Film Editing: James Clark
Original Music: Henry Mancini
Cast: Cary Grant (Peter, Alexander, Adam, Brian), Audrey Hepburn (Regina Lampert), Walter Matthau (Hamilton Bartholomew), James Coburn (Tex Panthollow), George Kennedy (Herman Scobie), Ned Glass (Leopold W. Gideon), Dominique Minot (Sylvie Gaudel).
C-114m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning.

by Jeff Stafford
Charade

Charade

It's got all the ingredients of a classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller: A convoluted plot involving mistaken identity and murder; a beautiful woman in peril; an assortment of frightening villains; a dapper gentleman hero; posh settings; witty dialogue; a memorable music score and theme song; and one of the most attractive screen teams of the sixties - Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant (in their only film together). In fact, Charade (1963) has everything you'd except from a Hitchcock film except the famous director's name above the credits. That's because this is a Stanley Donen film that works as both homage and a send-up of Hitchcock's past collaborations with Cary Grant. In the biography Audrey Hepburn by Barry Paris, Donen said, "I always wanted to make a movie like one of my favorites, North by Northwest [1959]. What I admired most was the wonderful story of the mistaken identity of the leading man. They mistook him for somebody who didn't exist; he could never prove he wasn't somebody who wasn't alive. I searched [for something with] the same idiom of adventure, suspense and humor." It was inevitable that two iconic stars like Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, renown for their on-screen sophistication and elegance, would be teamed together at some point in their careers and they had come close to it three times prior to Charade. Grant had been offered the male lead in three of Hepburn's best films, Roman Holiday (1953), Sabrina (1954) and Love in the Afternoon (1957) and turned them all down because of the quarter-century age difference between them. And for a while, it looked like he wasn't going to do Charade either. At the time, it was rumored that he didn't want to work with Hepburn because he had turned down the role of Henry Higgins in the screen version of My Fair Lady (1964) but that decision was made out of respect for Rex Harrison who created the role on Broadway. In the Barry Paris biography, Donen recalled that "Cary thought he was going to do a picture with Howard Hawks called Man's Favorite Sport? [so he] said no to Charade. Columbia said get Paul Newman. Newman said yes, but Columbia wouldn't pay his going rate. Then they said get Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood. So I got them and Columbia decided they couldn't afford them or the picture. So I sold Charade to Universal. In the meantime, Cary had read Hawks's script and didn't like it. So he called me and said he would like to do Charade." Hepburn and Grant had never met professionally before Charade but Donen had worked with them both separately in previous films. He had directed Audrey in Funny Face in 1957 and with Cary as a business partner he formed an independent company called Grandon which produced their two features together, Indiscreet (1958) and The Grass is Greener (1960). So it was Donen who also introduced the two stars. In Audrey Hepburn: A Biography by Warren G. Harris, the director recalled: "I arranged a dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant in Paris. Audrey and I arrived first. Cary came in, and Audrey stood up and said, 'I'm so nervous.' He said, 'Why?' And she said, 'Meeting you, working with you - I'm so nervous.' And he said, 'Don't be nervous, for goodness' sake. I'm thrilled to know you. Here, sit down at the table. Put your hands on the table, palms up, put your head down and take a few deep breaths.' We all sat down, and Audrey put her hands on the table. I had ordered a bottle of red wine. When she put her head down, she hit the bottle, and the wine went all over Cary's cream-colored suit. Audrey was humiliated. People at other tables were looking, and everybody was buzzing. It was a horrendous moment. Cary was a half hour from his hotel, so he took off his coat and comfortably sat through the whole meal like that." Despite their awkward first meeting, Hepburn and Grant loved working together on Charade, often improvising some of their dialogue. The screenplay was by Peter Stone, a writer who had once lived in Paris on the Ile de France near Notre Dame and he knew the city well, incorporating its visual splendors into the plot. Stone later revealed that Grant was initially nervous about his part. He was almost sixty and Audrey was only 32, making him worry that audiences would view him as 'a dirty old man.' The screenwriter said Grant "made me change the dynamic of the characters and make Audrey the aggressor. She chased him, and he tried to dissuade her. She pursued him and sat in his lap. She found him irresistible, and ultimately he was worn down by her. I gave him lines like "I'm too old for you, get away from me, little girl.' And 'I'm old enough to be your father.' And in the elevator: 'I could be in trouble transporting you beyond the first floor. A minor!' This way Cary couldn't get in any trouble. What could he do! She was chasing him." Indeed, a great deal of Stone's dialogue has a humorous zing to it, not unlike the witty banter found in Hitchcock films like North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief (1955). In one scene, Hepburn teases Grant about his dimple, asking him, 'How do you shave in there?' His response in the original script was 'Like porcupines make love. Very carefully,' but the censors considered it too risque so the line was altered. Charade was filmed in Paris during October of 1962. The weather was unseasonably cold and made outdoor location shoots difficult because of the freezing temperatures. Despite this, cinematographer Charles Lang gives the film a rich Autumnal glow while cleverly exploiting such distinctive Parisian landmarks as Les Halles, Notre Dame, the Champ Elysees, and the Palais Royale. The end result is a first class entertainment, full of visual delights including the colorful geometric opening credits, a great introductory scene at the jet set ski resort of Mont d' Arbois in Megeve, Switzerland, Hepburn's stylish wardrobe by Givenchy, and an unforgettable rooftop struggle between Grant and George Kennedy, a menacing thug with a steel claw for a right hand. Audiences flocked to see Charade, making it the fifth most profitable movie of the year; it also broke the box office record of any previous film at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Henry Mancini's theme song won an Oscar nomination and critics sang the film's praises in print. Pauline Kael called it "probably the best American film" of the year, Newsweek proclaimed it "an absolute delight," and Look magazine said "Grant, Hepburn and Paris never looked better." In fact, Charade, which was favorably compared to the best of Hitchcock's work, was much more successful, both financially and critically, than The Birds, Hitchcock's thriller from the same year Producer/Director: Stanley Donen Screenplay: Peter Stone Art Direction: Jean d'Eaubonne Cinematography: Charles B. Lang Costume Design: Hubert de Givenchy Film Editing: James Clark Original Music: Henry Mancini Cast: Cary Grant (Peter, Alexander, Adam, Brian), Audrey Hepburn (Regina Lampert), Walter Matthau (Hamilton Bartholomew), James Coburn (Tex Panthollow), George Kennedy (Herman Scobie), Ned Glass (Leopold W. Gideon), Dominique Minot (Sylvie Gaudel). C-114m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning. by Jeff Stafford

Charade on DVD


It's got all the ingredients of a classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller: A convoluted plot involving mistaken identity and murder; a beautiful woman in peril; an assortment of frightening villains; a dapper gentleman hero; posh settings; witty dialogue; a memorable music score and theme song; and one of the most attractive screen teams of the sixties - Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant (in their only film together). In fact, Charade (1963) - now on DVD again from Criterion - has everything you'd except from a Hitchcock film except the famous director's name above the credits. That's because this is a Stanley Donen film that works as both homage and a send-up of Hitchcock's past collaborations with Cary Grant. In the biography Audrey Hepburn by Barry Paris, Donen said, "I always wanted to make a movie like one of my favorites, North by Northwest [1959]. What I admired most was the wonderful story of the mistaken identity of the leading man. They mistook him for somebody who didn't exist; he could never prove he wasn't somebody who wasn't alive. I searched [for something with] the same idiom of adventure, suspense and humor."

It was inevitable that two iconic stars like Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, renown for their on-screen sophistication and elegance, would be teamed together at some point in their careers and they had come close to it three times prior to Charade. Grant had been offered the male lead in three of Hepburn's best films, Roman Holiday (1953), Sabrina (1954) and Love in the Afternoon (1957) and turned them all down because of the quarter-century age difference between them. And for a while, it looked like he wasn't going to do Charade either. At the time, it was rumored that he didn't want to work with Hepburn because he had turned down the role of Henry Higgins in the screen version of My Fair Lady (1964) but that decision was made out of respect for Rex Harrison who created the role on Broadway. In the Barry Paris biography, Donen recalled that "Cary thought he was going to do a picture with Howard Hawks called Man's Favorite Sport? [so he] said no to Charade. Columbia said get Paul Newman. Newman said yes, but Columbia wouldn't pay his going rate. Then they said get Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood. So I got them and Columbia decided they couldn't afford them or the picture. So I sold Charade to Universal. In the meantime, Cary had read Hawks's script and didn't like it. So he called me and said he would like to do Charade."

Hepburn and Grant had never met professionally before Charade but Donen had worked with them both separately in previous films. He had directed Audrey in Funny Face in 1957 and with Cary as a business partner he formed an independent company called Grandon which produced their two features together, Indiscreet (1958) and The Grass is Greener (1960). So it was Donen who also introduced the two stars. In Audrey Hepburn: A Biography by Warren G. Harris, the director recalled: "I arranged a dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant in Paris. Audrey and I arrived first. Cary came in, and Audrey stood up and said, 'I'm so nervous.' He said, 'Why?' And she said, 'Meeting you, working with you - I'm so nervous.' And he said, 'Don't be nervous, for goodness' sake. I'm thrilled to know you. Here, sit down at the table. Put your hands on the table, palms up, put your head down and take a few deep breaths.' We all sat down, and Audrey put her hands on the table. I had ordered a bottle of red wine. When she put her head down, she hit the bottle, and the wine went all over Cary's cream-colored suit. Audrey was humiliated. People at other tables were looking, and everybody was buzzing. It was a horrendous moment. Cary was a half hour from his hotel, so he took off his coat and comfortably sat through the whole meal like that."

Despite their awkward first meeting, Hepburn and Grant loved working together on Charade, often improvising some of their dialogue. The screenplay was by Peter Stone, a writer who had once lived in Paris on the Ile de France near Notre Dame and he knew the city well, incorporating its visual splendors into the plot. Stone later revealed that Grant was initially nervous about his part. He was almost sixty and Audrey was only 32, making him worry that audiences would view him as 'a dirty old man.' The screenwriter said Grant "made me change the dynamic of the characters and make Audrey the aggressor. She chased him, and he tried to dissuade her. She pursued him and sat in his lap. She found him irresistible, and ultimately he was worn down by her. I gave him lines like "I'm too old for you, get away from me, little girl.' And 'I'm old enough to be your father.' And in the elevator: 'I could be in trouble transporting you beyond the first floor. A minor!' This way Cary couldn't get in any trouble. What could he do! She was chasing him."

Indeed, a great deal of Stone's dialogue has a humorous zing to it, not unlike the witty banter found in Hitchcock films like North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief (1955). In one scene, Hepburn teases Grant about his dimple, asking him, 'How do you shave in there?' His response in the original script was 'Like porcupines make love. Very carefully,' but the censors considered it too risqué so the line was altered.

Charade was filmed in Paris during October of 1962. The weather was unseasonably cold and made outdoor location shoots difficult because of the freezing temperatures. Despite this, cinematographer Charles Lang gives the film a rich Autumnal glow while cleverly exploiting such distinctive Parisian landmarks as Les Halles, Notre Dame, the Champ Elysees, and the Palais Royale. The end result is a first class entertainment, full of visual delights including the colorful geometric opening credits, a great introductory scene at the jet set ski resort of Mont d' Arbois in Megeve, Switzerland, Hepburn's stylish wardrobe by Givenchy, and an unforgettable rooftop struggle between Grant and George Kennedy, a menacing thug with a steel claw for a right hand. Audiences flocked to see Charade, making it the fifth most profitable movie of the year; it also broke the box office record of any previous film at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Henry Mancini's theme song won an Oscar® nomination and critics sang the film's praises in print. Pauline Kael called it "probably the best American film" of the year, Newsweek proclaimed it "an absolute delight," and Look magazine said "Grant, Hepburn and Paris never looked better." In fact, Charade, which was favorably compared to the best of Hitchcock's work, was much more successful, both financially and critically, than The Birds, Hitchcock's thriller from the same year

The Criterion DVD of Charade was previously available from them but went out of print. Their new release of it offers a beautiful anamorphic transfer of the film; the previous one was a widescreen, nonanamorphic presentation. But otherwise, the extras are the same as before: a witty and informative commentary track by director Donen and screenwriter Stone (he died in 2003), a stills gallery, the original trailer, selected filmographies and liner notes by Bruce Eder.

To order Charade, click here. For more information about Charade, visit Criterion Collection.

by Jeff Stafford

Charade on DVD

It's got all the ingredients of a classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller: A convoluted plot involving mistaken identity and murder; a beautiful woman in peril; an assortment of frightening villains; a dapper gentleman hero; posh settings; witty dialogue; a memorable music score and theme song; and one of the most attractive screen teams of the sixties - Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant (in their only film together). In fact, Charade (1963) - now on DVD again from Criterion - has everything you'd except from a Hitchcock film except the famous director's name above the credits. That's because this is a Stanley Donen film that works as both homage and a send-up of Hitchcock's past collaborations with Cary Grant. In the biography Audrey Hepburn by Barry Paris, Donen said, "I always wanted to make a movie like one of my favorites, North by Northwest [1959]. What I admired most was the wonderful story of the mistaken identity of the leading man. They mistook him for somebody who didn't exist; he could never prove he wasn't somebody who wasn't alive. I searched [for something with] the same idiom of adventure, suspense and humor." It was inevitable that two iconic stars like Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, renown for their on-screen sophistication and elegance, would be teamed together at some point in their careers and they had come close to it three times prior to Charade. Grant had been offered the male lead in three of Hepburn's best films, Roman Holiday (1953), Sabrina (1954) and Love in the Afternoon (1957) and turned them all down because of the quarter-century age difference between them. And for a while, it looked like he wasn't going to do Charade either. At the time, it was rumored that he didn't want to work with Hepburn because he had turned down the role of Henry Higgins in the screen version of My Fair Lady (1964) but that decision was made out of respect for Rex Harrison who created the role on Broadway. In the Barry Paris biography, Donen recalled that "Cary thought he was going to do a picture with Howard Hawks called Man's Favorite Sport? [so he] said no to Charade. Columbia said get Paul Newman. Newman said yes, but Columbia wouldn't pay his going rate. Then they said get Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood. So I got them and Columbia decided they couldn't afford them or the picture. So I sold Charade to Universal. In the meantime, Cary had read Hawks's script and didn't like it. So he called me and said he would like to do Charade." Hepburn and Grant had never met professionally before Charade but Donen had worked with them both separately in previous films. He had directed Audrey in Funny Face in 1957 and with Cary as a business partner he formed an independent company called Grandon which produced their two features together, Indiscreet (1958) and The Grass is Greener (1960). So it was Donen who also introduced the two stars. In Audrey Hepburn: A Biography by Warren G. Harris, the director recalled: "I arranged a dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant in Paris. Audrey and I arrived first. Cary came in, and Audrey stood up and said, 'I'm so nervous.' He said, 'Why?' And she said, 'Meeting you, working with you - I'm so nervous.' And he said, 'Don't be nervous, for goodness' sake. I'm thrilled to know you. Here, sit down at the table. Put your hands on the table, palms up, put your head down and take a few deep breaths.' We all sat down, and Audrey put her hands on the table. I had ordered a bottle of red wine. When she put her head down, she hit the bottle, and the wine went all over Cary's cream-colored suit. Audrey was humiliated. People at other tables were looking, and everybody was buzzing. It was a horrendous moment. Cary was a half hour from his hotel, so he took off his coat and comfortably sat through the whole meal like that." Despite their awkward first meeting, Hepburn and Grant loved working together on Charade, often improvising some of their dialogue. The screenplay was by Peter Stone, a writer who had once lived in Paris on the Ile de France near Notre Dame and he knew the city well, incorporating its visual splendors into the plot. Stone later revealed that Grant was initially nervous about his part. He was almost sixty and Audrey was only 32, making him worry that audiences would view him as 'a dirty old man.' The screenwriter said Grant "made me change the dynamic of the characters and make Audrey the aggressor. She chased him, and he tried to dissuade her. She pursued him and sat in his lap. She found him irresistible, and ultimately he was worn down by her. I gave him lines like "I'm too old for you, get away from me, little girl.' And 'I'm old enough to be your father.' And in the elevator: 'I could be in trouble transporting you beyond the first floor. A minor!' This way Cary couldn't get in any trouble. What could he do! She was chasing him." Indeed, a great deal of Stone's dialogue has a humorous zing to it, not unlike the witty banter found in Hitchcock films like North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief (1955). In one scene, Hepburn teases Grant about his dimple, asking him, 'How do you shave in there?' His response in the original script was 'Like porcupines make love. Very carefully,' but the censors considered it too risqué so the line was altered. Charade was filmed in Paris during October of 1962. The weather was unseasonably cold and made outdoor location shoots difficult because of the freezing temperatures. Despite this, cinematographer Charles Lang gives the film a rich Autumnal glow while cleverly exploiting such distinctive Parisian landmarks as Les Halles, Notre Dame, the Champ Elysees, and the Palais Royale. The end result is a first class entertainment, full of visual delights including the colorful geometric opening credits, a great introductory scene at the jet set ski resort of Mont d' Arbois in Megeve, Switzerland, Hepburn's stylish wardrobe by Givenchy, and an unforgettable rooftop struggle between Grant and George Kennedy, a menacing thug with a steel claw for a right hand. Audiences flocked to see Charade, making it the fifth most profitable movie of the year; it also broke the box office record of any previous film at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Henry Mancini's theme song won an Oscar® nomination and critics sang the film's praises in print. Pauline Kael called it "probably the best American film" of the year, Newsweek proclaimed it "an absolute delight," and Look magazine said "Grant, Hepburn and Paris never looked better." In fact, Charade, which was favorably compared to the best of Hitchcock's work, was much more successful, both financially and critically, than The Birds, Hitchcock's thriller from the same year The Criterion DVD of Charade was previously available from them but went out of print. Their new release of it offers a beautiful anamorphic transfer of the film; the previous one was a widescreen, nonanamorphic presentation. But otherwise, the extras are the same as before: a witty and informative commentary track by director Donen and screenwriter Stone (he died in 2003), a stills gallery, the original trailer, selected filmographies and liner notes by Bruce Eder. To order Charade, click here. For more information about Charade, visit Criterion Collection. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

How about making me vice president in charge of cheering you up?
- Peter Joshua
I can't stand these things... it's like drinking coffee through a veil.
- Regina Lampert
I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies I couldn't possibly meet anyone else.
- Regina Lampert
Well, if anyone goes on the critical list, let me know.
- Peter Joshua
Wow, when you come on, you come on, don't you?
- Adam Canfield
Oh, come on!
- Regina Lampert
Do you know what's wrong with you?
- Regina Lampert
No, what?
- Peter Joshua
Nothing!
- Regina Lampert

Trivia

Seven studios rejected the original screenplay. Peter Stone turned it into a novel which was serialized in Redbook, and it was then turned back into a screenplay -- which had interest from all 7 studios.

In the scene where Audrey Hepburn is smoking a cigarette alone in her empty apartment and Cary Grant enters, the backs of his ears had to be covered with masking tape since the backlighting made them appear red.

According to Audrey Hepburn, the scene where Regina spills ice cream on Adam's suit is based on a real-life accident where Hepburn spilled red wine over Cary Grant's suit at a dinner party.

Grant was uncomfortable playing a romantic lead with an actress young enough to be his daughter. He was appeased when jokes about the age difference were added to the script and it was made clear that it was Regina who was pursuing him, not vice versa.

Cary Grant's character quotes a line from My Fair Lady ("On the street where you live"), the film version of which would star Audrey Hepburn the following year.

Notes

Filmed in Paris, Megève, and the French Alps.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1963

Released in United States March 1979

Released in United States June 2, 1990

Released in United States 1995

Shown at Seattle International Film Festival June 2, 1990.

Shown at San Francisco International Film Festival April 20 - May 4, 1995.

Re-released in Paris April 26, 1989.

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1963

Released in United States March 1979 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (The 50-Hour Mighty MovieMarathon: Mystery and Suspense) March 14-30, 1979.)

Released in United States June 2, 1990 (Shown at Seattle International Film Festival June 2, 1990.)

Released in United States 1995 (Shown at San Francisco International Film Festival April 20 - May 4, 1995.)