Charade is a 1963 American romantic comedy mystery film produced and directed by Stanley Donen, written by Peter Stone and Marc Behm, and starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. The cast also features Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy, Dominique Minot, Ned Glass, and Jacques Marin. It spans three genres: suspense thriller, romance, and comedy.
The film has a sparkling screenplay, especially the repartee between Grant and Hepburn. It was filmed on location in Paris. Henry Mancini’s score features the popular theme song Charade. It has animated titles by Maurice Binder. Charade has received generally positive reviews from critics.
The best Hitchcock movie
It has been described as “the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made”. Plot While on a skiing holiday in the French Alps, expatriate American simultaneous interpreter Regina “Reggie” Lampert tells her friend Sylvie that she has decided to divorce her husband Charles. She also meets a charming American stranger, Peter Joshua. On her return to Paris, she finds her apartment stripped bare. A police inspector notifies her that Charles sold off their belongings, then was murdered while trying to leave Paris.
The money is missing. Reggie is given her husband’s travel bag, containing a letter addressed to her, a ship ticket to Venezuela, four passports in multiple names and nationalities, and other items. At Charles’ sparsely attended wake, only three men show up to view the body—all to ensure that he is dead. Reggie is summoned to meet CIA administrator Hamilton Bartholomew at the American Embassy.
She learns that the three men at the wake are Herman Scobie, Leopold W. Gideon, and Tex Panthollow. During World War II, they, Charles, and Carson Dyle went on an OSS operation to deliver $250,000 ($3.7 million in current dollar terms) in gold to the French Resistance, but instead, they stole it for themselves. Carson was fatally wounded in a German ambush, and Charles double-crossed the others, taking all the gold.
The U.S. government insists she has it
The three survivors are after the missing money, as is the U.S. government. Hamilton insists she has it, even if she does not know where—and that she is in great danger. Peter locates Reggie and helps her move into a hotel. The three criminals separately threaten her, each convinced that she knows where the money is. Herman then shocks her, claiming that Peter is in league with them, after which Peter confesses to her that he is really Carson Dyle’s brother Alexander, trying to bring the others to justice as he believes they killed Carson. As the hunt for the money continues, Herman is found murdered, then Leopold.
Peter admits he is actually Adam
Then Hamilton tells Reggie Carson Dyle had no brother. When confronted, Peter admits he is actually Adam Canfield, a professional thief. Although frustrated by his dishonesty, Reggie still trusts him. Reggie and Adam (alias Peter) go to the location of Charles’s last appointment and find an outdoor market. Spotting Tex there, Adam follows him. At the sight of stamp-selling booths, Adam and Tex each realize that Charles must have bought several extremely rare and valuable stamps and affixed them to the envelope in his travel bag.
Both men race back to Reggie’s hotel room, only to realize that she has given the stamps to Sylvie’s son Jean-Louis for his collection. Suddenly Reggie, at the outdoor market, realizes the envelope’s significance. She learns that Jean-Louis sold the stamps to a trader, who gave the boy 10 francs’ worth of stamps in return. The trader admits the stamps are worth $250,000 in total and happily returns them.
Back at the hotel, Reggie finds Tex’s body with the name “Dyle” scrawled next to it. Convinced that Adam is the murderer, after all, a frightened Reggie telephones Hamilton, who tells her to meet him at the Colonnade at the Palais-Royal. Adam spots her leaving the hotel and gives chase.
Reggie is caught out
At the Colonnade, Reggie is caught out in the open between the two men. Adam tells her that Hamilton is really Carson Dyle: after surviving the German ambush he became obsessed with revenge on his ex-comrades and reclaiming the treasure. After another chase that ends in an empty theater, Reggie hides in the prompt box. Carson almost shoots her but Adam activates a trapdoor under Carson and he falls to his death. The next day, Reggie and Adam go to the embassy to turn over the stamps, Adam refusing to go in. Inside, Reggie discovers that Adam is really Brian Cruikshank, the government official responsible for recovering stolen property.
Cast Cary Grant as Brian Cruikshank (alias Peter Joshua) (alias Alexander Dyle) (alias Adam Canfield) Audrey Hepburn as Regina “Reggie” Lampert Walter Matthau as Carson Dyle (alias Hamilton Bartholomew) James Coburn as Tex Panthollow George Kennedy as Herman Scobie Dominique Minot as Sylvie Gaudel Ned Glass as Leopold W. Gideon Jacques Marin as Inspector Edouard Grandpierre Paul Bonifas as Mr. Felix, the stamp dealer Thomas Chelimsky as Jean-Louis Gaudel.