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Wick's Review

Created Sep 21, 2012 08:58PM PST • Edited Feb 25, 2019 12:52AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    What we have here is movie magic sans modern FX. Instead Charade conjures its allure from a couple of nonpareil moviestars delivering sparkling dialog in an idealized Paris while a seductive theme song plays in the background. Such an intoxicating mix makes it easy to fall in love with Cary Grant’s last great movie.

    The comically convoluted plot centers on Audrey Hepburn’s chic widow as she’s pursued by her late husband’s nefarious collaborators. She and Grant meet cute, then spend the rest of the movie trying to determine who’s lying to whom. Deliriously adorable hijinks ensue. Happily, some are heartily LOL.

    Charade is canonically said to be “the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made,” though by which reviewer is lost to the mists of time. This reviewer sees it more in an early James Bond light. Certainly the derring-do, elegant handguns, Euro-chic settings and mid-century sexual playfulness give it that vibe, albeit in a lighthearted way. And what movie fan doesn’t LOVE that vibe?

    Every woman should see Charade. It’s optional for men, except for those of us who still want to be Cary Grant. Of course movie buffs of both sexes have long since considered it a must-see, for Grant & Hepburn’s combustible chemistry if nothing else. No charade, that.

  3. Really Great 4.5

    Moviestardom incarnate – Cary Grant working with Audrey Hepburn, the older man spurning her forthright advances: she in Givenchy, he impeccable; Grant deadly handsome, self-deprecating and funny, very funny; Hepburn perfectly doe-eyed, deadpan, dressed to the nines, composed and combustible.

    Seeing these two all-timers together is a bucket list item if you love the movies.

    The thugs after her include a pair of future moviestars: George Kennedy and James Coburn.

    Walter Matthau floats around also, stirring the pot.

    It’s like a meeting of the Academy.

    As to who’s seducing whom, 59 year old Grant famously turned down the role because he didn’t want to be seen chasing the 34 year old Hepburn. So the filmmakers rejiggered the script to make her the pursuer, per Wikipedia. Or was it that he didn’t want to chase a 34 year old? Whichever, a vastly better movie resulted.

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Very Good 3.5
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Perfect 5.0

    The climax of Charade features a scene involving literal trapdoors. How fitting, since the entire film is a confection of teases and feints, brilliantly executed.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0

    “The King of the Hollywood Musical” didn’t only make musicals, as Charade proves. Stanley Donen made Singin’ in the Rain, the greatest musical ever, then directed Charade like a musical. Indeed, the repartee has musicality.

  10. Play Really Great 4.5

    Audrey Hepburn asks Cary Grant the question every movie fan wanted to: “How do you shave in there?”

  11. Music Perfect 5.0

    The title song is now a standard. I’ve got the Stan Getz version playing on repeat while writing this review.

  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    The scenery stands up to the celebrated cast. Speaking of celebrated, the movie is a celebration of Paris, including Audrey Hepburn parading around the City of Light in Givenchy gloved ensembles. Magnifique.

  13. Content
  14. Tame 1.5
  15. Sex Titillating 1.6
  16. Violence Gentle 1.5
  17. Rudeness Polite 1.3
  18. Glib 1.7

    Charade deals in idealized manhood and feminine glamour from smack dab in the middle of the Mad Men era. Surprised that Matthew Weiner didn’t work it into the show. Too late now, given that they’re past ’63.

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 2.2
  20. Biological Glib 1.5
  21. Physical Glib 1.3


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Sep 22, 2012 11:26AM

Regarding Wick’s Review

Sep 21, 2012 9:13PM

Regarding Wick’s Review
Yes, I set my profile pic to Cary Grant in homage to Charade. Seemed right.