CharadeYou won't be able to lie on your back for a while, but then you can lie from any position, can't you?
When I first saw it, I took it utterly seriously and was very caught up in the suspense of it. It wasn't until I saw it a few years later that I realized it was more of a comedy and the more I've seen it, the more the comedic part trumps the suspense part and makes it seem more and more lightweight, with everyone else's characters becoming more and more broad. I don't care, I still love it.
The frequent comment attached to Charade is it's the greatest Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never directed. Taking a very critical look at the film today I think that's overselling Charade by quite a lot. Aside from a handful of stylized shots, only in the final 15 minutes do I feel the presence of the master. Even then, the suspense is more on par with Hitch's 2nd tier masterpieces. However, no Hitchcock film is this much fun.
Even North by Northwest, which comes close and is a ton of fun, has a large-scale ponderousness to it. Charade is light on its feet and only takes things seriously when it feel the need to. Grant is Grant, whether being squirted in the face by a water pistol or awkwardly rolling an orange over a lady's bosom with his chin (the look on his face during that scene is priceless), the Cary Grant wit and physically comedic goofiness Iíve loved since The Awful Truth is still there. Eva Marie Saint... she's got nothing on Audrey Hepburn. The two most beautiful and elegant stars the movies have ever known define screen chemistry like no other film in existence. Here's a film where one of the high points involves Grant taking a shower in Hepburn's room. I wish they made more films together. Their meal times are opportunities for some great rom-com writing, and the tension of the treasure hunt story always knows to come in right when things are their cheeriest.
The bad guys are a bit of a goofy lot, but they never lose their threatening air, even when James Coburn is only threatening Hepburn with lit matches. George Kennedy carries a particular menace about him. He has a great rooftop fight with Grant, even if it ends with the lone dialogue clunker. All the while the mystery dares us to figure it out. Obviously now I know where the money is, but I was completely fooled the first time, as are people I show Charade to. Plus there's the truth about Grant, which leads to a final line by Hepburn that I'd put as one of the great curtain closers in cinema.
At times the comedy gets too silly, but for the most part this is a perfect mix of romance, comedy and suspense. It'll be in my Top 50.
For my current rankings Click Here
The 4th Man