East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Charade once again

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Today it was an anomalous day – I slept late, I went to the supermarket at lunchtime, and when I got back I made myself some sandwiches and I re-watched for the umpteenth time Charade, the 1963 “mock Hitchcock” movie directed by Stanley Donen and starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.

Set in Paris and featuring a great support cast (including Walther Matthau, James Coburn and George Kennedy), the film is an unusual mix of crime thriller, screwball comedy and romance, and it should not work, but it does.

Grant was apparently ill at ease at the idea of being the romantic lead wooing much younger Hepburn, but the script took care of that by portraying her as actively pursuing him.

The film has all the right bits and pieces – a beautiful setting in early ’60s Paris, great costumes, Henry Mancini’s music and if the whole premise is preposterous (a bunch of characters on the trail of a quarter of a million bucks embezzled bu Hepburn’s late husband), the performances and the sheer fun of the whole thing make it bearable, and indeed make it work.

While not Grant’s best movie, or Hepburn’s, it’s still a good movie and a nice way to spend two hours on a very hot sunday afternoon in June.

I actually paid homage to Charade in my old Paris-set story A Spider with Barbed Wire Legs – but nobody apparently noticed.
Ah, I can file a request to be recognized as a misunderstood artist.

Interestingly enough, Charade is in the public domain because they got the copyright notice wrong – you find a number of copies of different quality all over the web.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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