Directed by Stanley Donen
Written by Peter Stone and Marc Behm
Starring: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy, Ned Glass
Regina Lampert (Hepburn) is alone, without any answers, after her husband is discovered dead. With the help of a new acquaintance, Peter Joshua (Grant), she’s trying to figure out why her husband was killed. Soon she’s on the run after she’s confronted by a government agent (Matthau), the police, and a trio of mysterious men (Coburn, Kennedy, Glass). As the truth continues to evade her, Regina continues to rely on Peter in her search for answers. Their relationship only serves to complicate things in this high-stakes game of cat and mouse.
This movie is a combination of suspense and romance created by Peter Stone (1776) and Marc Behm (Help!). Director Stanley Donen (Singin’ in the Rain) took the incredible screenplay and brought it to life. The cast includes some of the big names of Hollywood, including Audrey Hepburn (Roman Holiday), Cary Grant (The Philadelphia Story), and Walter Matthau (The Odd Couple). The cast also features James Coburn (The Great Escape), George Kennedy (The Dirty Dozen), and Ned Glass (West Side Story).
The story is a wonderful blend of intrigue and romance all mixed together playfully. The continuing question of the film is addressed in a way that keeps things interesting and unpredictable. The characters are all nicely written as well. Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant manage to create chemistry between their characters despite the obvious difference in age. Hepburn also does a good job with both the suspenseful moments as well as the more playful scenes in the film. For Cary Grant, this is a perfect role, mixing his natural charm with a complicated character. Walter Matthau also does a nice job in this one, playing a unique and sometimes mysterious character. Rounding out the cast are James Coburn, George Kennedy, and Ned Glass. All three of them do a great job playing a trio of mysterious and determined thugs.
From a visual standpoint, this is a really interesting movie. Nothing is done without a reason, and as the plot rounds out the visual payoffs are as good as the story itself. Despite being directed by Stanley Donen, this could easily be mistaken for something done by Alfred Hitchcock. The styling and the story come together in a way that adds to that idea. The score for this film also adds to the overall success of the film. Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song for the song “Charade”.
This is a wonderful “whodunit” with all the charm and intrigue necessary to make it a classic. Despite more than 25 years between them, Grant and Hepburn are a great onscreen couple. If you’re a fan of classic suspense or playful romance films, this is one you should see. I would also suggest this to fans of any of the actors. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.