A woman is pursued by her dead husband’s murderous associates.
While on a vacation to the French Alps, Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) is planning to divorce her husband. She suspects he has been unfaithful to her and he has been keeping secrets. She returns home to find the place stripped bare. Her husband has sold all of their possessions. She rushes out of the apartment and runs into Inspector Edouard Grandpierre. He takes her to identify a body. It turns out to be her husband.
It turns out that he had liquidated all of their possessions and had over $250,000 in cash and a one way ticket to South America. He also had passports and identities for multiple countries.
Soon everyone seems to be interested in that money. Barholomew, the CIA attache, strongly hints that the money should be turned over to the government or Regina’s life will be in danger. 4 of her late husband’s associates are in pursuit and want the money themselves. Complicating matters is the fact that she has no idea where the money is and soon Regina is forced to run for her life with agents of several governments and a band of professional killers all after her.
Danger at every turn
Her only “friend” is the mysterious Peter Joshua (Cary Grant), who she met on her vacation and who seems to always pop up at inconvenient times. She definitely doesn’t trust him, but he seems to be the only person in Europe not trying to kill her. Joshua, like most of the characters in this film, is definitely hiding secrets of his own…
The mysterious Mr. Joshua. If that is his name…
Charade is an interesting film. Frequently mistaken as an Alfred Hitchcock film, it almost perfectly matches the old master’s touch. Charade combines the best elements of several of Hitch’s films, a powerful mixture of spycraft, caper film and high wire suspense.
Who can she trust?
Excellent camera work and sound add to the effectiveness of the performances. Audrey Hepburn does well as a woman on the run, having to learn as she goes in a dangerous underworld.
The antagonists are believable as cold professional killers and criminals. Scobie (George Kennedy) in particular, is probably the scariest one armed man since the fugitive.
The creepy and deadly Mr. Scobie. If the gun doesn’t get you, his mechanical claw will!
The chase scenes and battles in the film have just the right amount of tension. Some of the chases and fights happen in, under and on top of buildings with some spectacular stunt work. Add to the fact that literally no one is who they say they are and you have a real who how and whydunnit on your hands.
The motivations and the convoluted reveals are almost as interesting as the chase scenes and Charade remains fascinating even in its few slower scenes. Alliances between the characters are made and broken, sometimes in the same scene. Everyone has an agenda and no one is safe in this one.
Verdict 4 Gavels out of 5
An excellent suspense film in the style of North By Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much and To Catch A Thief. Convoluted identities, shifting alliances and constant betrayals should keep you guessing about everyone’s loyalties.