Saturday, July 9, 2016

Murder Most Chic, or Thoughts on Audrey Hepburn in Charade

Audrey Hepburn with a dead husband in Paris?  Cary Grant as a suave, mysterious stranger?  $250,000 in stolen CIA gold bullion?   How is this not a Hitchcock movie?  Like Compulsion (1959), Director Stanley Donen’s Charade (1963) plays like a classic Hitchcock movie that Hitch had nothing to do with.  Audrey Hepburn never even worked for Alfred Hitchcock, though to be fair, he had more of a thing for blondes.
There’s a breezy soundtrack by Henry Mancini,  street scenes of mid-century Paris, and witty repartee between Audrey and Cary that’s reminiscent of North by Northwest (1959) and To Catch a Thief (1955).  British actress Audrey Hepburn (who was actually born in Belgium) plays Regina “Reggie” Lambert, recently widowed, with a husband with a mysterious past.  Cary Grant plays Peter Joshua, the debonair stranger who may be working for the CIA, or the OSS, or he might just be after all that gold.
Upon closer scrutiny and the required multiple viewings, you will notice that Charade has far more humor than your regular Hitchcock movie.  There’s always a sadistic undercurrent, along with a certain voyeuristic facet to a Hitchcock film that is notably missing.  Watch out for Walther Matthau as a grumpy CIA officer and James Coburn and George Kennedy as some baddies who knew Reggie’s husband during the War.
There was the inevitable remake in 2002 with the Truth About Charlie, and while an argument could be made that the radiant Thandie Newton is a modern Audrey Hepburn, you will never be able to convince me that Mark Wahlberg is even in the same zip code as Cary Grant.  Now George Clooney is a different argument, but a quick stroll through his iMDB shows no obvious remakes, so in all likelihood he would have passed on the role.

my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.