Charade written and then adapted for the big screen by Peter Stone
With Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau and Cary Grant
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
This film is included by scholars as one of the best films ever made:
The cast is fabulous, with Walter Matthau, one of my favorite actors in an unusual role, the only one that I know of its kind.
On second thought, the lines are interesting, the humor is dry, simple and outré, but without the proper acting it could hit a wall.
Audrey Hepburn reminds me of her role in Breakfast of Tiffany’s and perhaps Roman Holliday, with her royal presence.
- Reggie Lampert: You're blocking my view.
- Peter Joshua: Ohh... which view would you prefer?
- Reggie Lampert: The one you're blocking.
Reggie Lampert is Audrey Hepburn or the other way around and this is one of the first dialogues she has with the personage played by Cary Grant.
She is both sophisticated and naïve, aristocratic but also rather credulous, or is it just in love with a man who keeps changing names.
Three people are chasing after a quarter of a million dollars, if we do not include Bartholomew and Peter Joshua.
They have been in the same team with Charles Dyle, who has recently died, or so we think and taken a loot from the Nazis.
Dyle has run away with the treasure and the former team mates are now focusing on the widow- Reggie Lampert.
But she does not know anything, the few belongings that she received contain nothing of value and she tells the villains.
Only they would not take her answers to be real and try to press her and even blackmail the young woman.
Reggie relies on Peter Joshua, then on alexander Dyle and eventually Adam Canfield to protect her from dangerous adversaries only…
- Reggie Lampert: So it's goodbye Alexander Dyle and welcome home Peter Joshua.
- Adam Canfield: [shakes his head] Sorry the name is Adam Canfield.
- Reggie Lampert: Adam Canfield? Wonderful! Do you realize you've had three names in the past two days? I don't even know who I'm talking to anymore!
And to complicate matters even more, Reggie has established contact with a diplomat at the American Embassy.
Mr. Bartholomew is played excellently by Walter Matthau, who is not in a comedy here, even if jocularity is frequently used.
And the American official is warning Reggie on the identity of Peter/Alexander/Adam who is a known criminal.
Actually, this is what he claims, whenever he changes name and explains that he cannot be interested more in Reggie than the quarter million…
- Or can he?
Throughout the film, I was somewhat annoyed by the naiveté of the heroine, who loves a man that keeps changing names, lies, justifications.
- ‘The course of true love never did run smooth’
There are complications, murders, Reggie Lampert is chased and does not know who to trust anymore.
Indeed, the audience must feel compassion for a woman who is surrounded by enemies and she has no idea about the whereabouts of the money.
Furthermore, the man she loves is not interested in her- for a good while I thought he might be gay- and even seems to be after the same thing.
It must be terrifying to fear for one’s life, especially when there are harden criminals who want your money or your life…
In most cases both, because they want no witnesses.