Sunday, December 5, 2021

On This Day...Charade (1963)

Released today back in 1963, Charade was Cary Grant's 70th full length feature film.


After her estranged husband's murder, jet-setter Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) is pursued by three crooks who want the money her husband stole from them. With her life in jeopardy, she turns to charming stranger Peter (Cary Grant) for help, but soon discovers he isn't who he claims to be, and that his own agenda is far from clear.


Cary Grant...Peter Joshua
Audrey Hepburn...Regina Lampert
Walter Matthau...Hamilton Bartholomew
James Coburn...Tex Panthollow
George Kennedy...Herman Scobie
Dominique Minot...Sylvie Gaudet
Ned Glass...Leopold W. Gideon
Jacques Marin...Insp. Edouard Grandpierre
Paul Bonifas...Mr. Felix
Thomas Chelimsky...Jean-Louis Gaudet

Did You Know?:

It was agreed Cary Grant would keep all of his clothes on when he took a shower, as he was nearly sixty and slightly overweight. However, they then decided the scene was funnier that way.

Due to the suspense, the presence of Cary Grant, the structure of the screenplay, and the frequent plot twists, many people believe this was a Sir Alfred Hitchcock film. Hitchcock was not involved in the making of the film at all. This confusion has prompted fans of the film to call it "the best Hitchcock film Hitchcock never made."

In the scene in which Audrey Hepburn spills ice cream on Cary Grant's suit, she uses the term "assassinated," and he uses the term "assassinate." This film was in release shortly after the John F. Kennedy assassination in Dallas, and Universal Pictures was so worried about audience reaction to this dialogue that they hurriedly re-dubbed the lines, using other terms, then sent out a revised reel to every theater in America showing this movie, telling them to substitute it for the old reel. Both old and revised reels may still be in circulation.

The character of Peter Joshua was named after director Stanley Donen's two sons, Peter and Joshua.

Peter Joshua (Cary Grant) quotes a line from My Fair Lady (1964) ("On the street where you live"). The film version starred Audrey Hepburn the following year, and Grant was offered male lead.  Prior to making this movie, Cary Grant was originally offered Gary Cooper's role in the romantic comedy Love in the Afternoon (1957) (also co-starring Hepburn). Grant turned down that role because of the age difference between him and Hepburn. He was also committed to the role opposite Hepburn, eventually played by Humphrey Bogart, in Sabrina (1954).


Reggie Lampert: Is there a Mrs. Cruikshank...?
Adam Canfield: Yes.
Reggie Lampert: But you're divorced.
Adam Canfield: No...
Reggie Lampert: [Regina's face falls] Oh.
Adam Canfield: [Brian/Adam gets out his wallet to show her the picture] My mother, she lives in Detroit, you'd like her, she'd like you too.

Reggie Lampert: You're blocking my view.
Peter Joshua: Oh, uh, oh, uh, which view would you prefer?
Reggie Lampert: The one you're blocking.

Peter Joshua: Do we know each other?
Reggie Lampert: Why, do you think we're going to?
Peter Joshua: I don't know. How would I know?
Reggie Lampert: Because I already know an awful lot of people, and until one of them dies I couldn't possibly meet anyone else.
Peter Joshua: Mmm... Well, if anyone goes on the critical list let me know.
Reggie Lampert: Quitter.
Peter Joshua: Huh?
Reggie Lampert: [chuckles while speaking] You give up awfully easily, don't you?

Reggie Lampert: Well, wasn't it Shakespeare who said "when strangers do meet in far off lands they should e'er long see each other again?"
Peter Joshua: Shakespeare never said that.
Reggie Lampert: How do you know?
Peter Joshua: It's terrible. You just made it up.
Reggie Lampert: Oh well, it sounds right.


Directed by Stanley Donen.
Distributed by Universal-International.
Running time: 113 minutes.

Artwork by Rebekah Hawley at Studio36.

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