Skip to main content

Charade



I want to take a second and take stock before we launch into this week's column. For the past four weeks I've been taking you all on a little journey alongside a group of friends and I all watching and commenting over movies together. The movies are on Netflix, the comments are on Facebook. I've called it Andy's Film Club, and this will be the last week that I discuss what we've been watching in these pages. We're still gonna be watching movies, because it's quite a bit of fun, however I won't be writing about it here. Perhaps from the time to time I will, but I doubt it'll be a regular feature. In other words, things return to normal next week.

The last film the movie group watched is a favorite of mine, and one that I have nothing but high regard for. 1963's “Charade” directed by Stanley Donen, and staring the oh so perfect combination of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Charade has often been called “The best Hitchcock movie Hitchcock never made”, and I agree with that wholeheartedly. “Charade” is a movie that I can not conceive of a single person not linking, no one in the group disliked the movie. It was an all in out hit with everyone.

“Charade” is a film that masterfully bounces between three types of movies. It's a suspense thriller, a comedy, and a romantic movie all at the same time. Often switching from one to the other at the drop of a hat, rarely giving the audience a chance to “catch its breath”. The film focuses on Regina Lampert (Hepburn) a new widow after the discovery of her husband's body near a set of railroad tracks. It seems her husband actually had a number of monikers, and now the American government is interested in a matter of $250,000.

The money was due to be delivered to a safe haven during WWII by Regina's husband, and four other men. However, they stole the money, and now everyone is after Miss Lampert in search of the money. That's the film stripped down it's most basic plot. However, when a film like “Charade” is as enjoyable, as delightful as it is, I don't want to give any thing away. I dare say this is a top ten fave for me. Stanley Donen has a long and celebrated past. He began as a choreographer at MGM, eventually teaming up with Gene Kelly. Together, he and Kelly both would co-direct a number of films together—most notably “Singing In The Rain”and Donen himself would graduate to solo director with movies “Royal Wedding”, and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.

“Charade” has a beautiful color pallet, and a “killer” cast. In addition to Grant and Hepburn, it has Walter Matthau, James Coburn, and George Kennedy. The film has a perfect Henry Mancini score from his prime period. It is full of twists at almost every turn. All of us agreeing that it's simply impossible to not love Audrey Hepburn. Because if you hate Audrey Hepburn, you fail at life.


  “Charade” is as good as it gets, and is on Netflix. But if you're more inclined, I must highly suggest you seek out Criterion's beautiful blu-ray of the movie. I doubt you'll regret having it in your collection. That wraps up our month-ish long look at the world of movies that I feel people should see. Next week's column will be the usual silliness and pop cultural references. See you then.  

Comments

  1. I am just now discovering this column, and I find it interesting because about a week ago I was killing time in an antique store and a “Charade” LP record album caught my eye. If I can find a turntable, this $2 investment could become more than just a piece of mid-century art resting on my mantel. Mancini is a master, and I am dying to indulge in his blood, sweat, and tears.
    But even more so, I’m looking forward to re-watching Stanley Donen’s masterpiece. “Charade” is also high on my list of favorite films, and I’ve actually scheduled a viewing for late August. Cary Grant alone sells this film for me, but what this movie has to offer goes way beyond his screen presence and somewhat into the next county. I’m looking forward to my date with Mr. Grant and to being immersed in a non-Hitchcock, Hitchcockian delight.
    Great article, Mr. Ross. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Convincing Yourself You're Good.

I have Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is that feeling that what you do isn't good enough, and that someone is gonna eventually figure out how woefully unqualified you are and kick you to the curb. One of the traits of my personality that I dislike is that I am way too hard on myself. Seriously, give my mind an inch and I will somehow figure out that I am the sole person responsible for the world's troubles.

Having Imposter Syndrome is kind of like playing the game Werewolf. My friends and I play a version of the game called One Night Ultimate Werewolf, in the game each player picks a card that gives them a specific role, either a villager or a werewolf, and the villagers all have distinct roles that they play on top of that--special abilities and the like. The object of the game is two fold, if you're a werewolf, you don't wanna be caught. If you're a village, you wanna catch the werewolves. Imposter Syndrome makes you feel like you're always in the role…

Where The Blues Are

I come to you again this week with another pair of blu-rays from those master celluloid handlers at Warner Archive. First up we have 1960’s “Where The Boys Are,” a defining teen picture of the era by MGM, and the film largely responsible for kicking off the whole cycle of 1960s beach films. The other is 1955’s “Pete Kelly’s Blues” a film starring, produced, and directed by Jack Webb--TV’s Joe Friday. Part of a deal Webb had made with Warner Brothers when he was setting up the original big screen version of “Dragnet” in the ‘50s. 
“Where The Boys Are” was set for the screen before the book it was based on had been released. Producer Joe Pasternak snatched up the rights to the book by Glendon Swarthout, which was originally titled “Unholy Spring.” Pasternak, strongly feeling “Where The Boys Are” would be the better title, persuaded Swarthout to change the book’s title. Pasternak also felt he could use the film as a starring vehicle for one of the stars of MGM’s record label, Connie Franc…

Twelve-Nine-Three

Picture it! Scilly, 1922! OK, actually Andy Ross’s Childhood Bedroom 1993. I had been given as a gift the dream attachment for my beloved Sega Genesis, the amazing Sega CD. For those of you young children who have only grown up in the era of XBox and Playstation, it may seem strange that there was once a time when the idea of playing a video game off of a compact disc was mind blowing. But it was, and I was fully ready to have my mind blown. To use a slogan of Sega’s ads of the era, I was ready to enter “The Next Level.”

The Sega CD model I had was the second one, the smaller model designed to go with the slimmer Genesis that had been introduced to the market. I had the first Genesis, the larger one, but the Sega CD came with an extension block that allowed it to partner it on the original model. You attached the Sega CD to your Genesis by a special connector on the side of system. The Sega CD came with a game to get you going, as was the norm with gaming systems at the time. The game …