Charade (1963)

I’ve heard it said that this is the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made.  That’s just about as appropriate a description as one can get.  I’m still not a big Cary Grant fan but he was a little more complicated in this one which made it a lot more fun.  A little bit wonky complicated but I’ll take what I can get.  In the end, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn play themselves but those personalities fit in reasonably well to the storyline.  Can’t complain about every little thing.  Let’s see, Grant is handsome, debonair and charming; Hepburn is pretty, cutesy and slightly obnoxious.

It’s like watching someone’s grandpa chasing someone’s mom around.  Grant is 25 years older than Hepburn.  It’s not like she’s some young barely married woman (34 years old IRL at this point).  She’s a spoiled, bitching, trophy wife whose moral redemption lies in her husband’s death.  Otherwise it’s divorce or a string of affairs all while feeling a poor little victim at ski resorts and in Paris.

The spy, espionage, tricks, etc. is great and I really liked the murder mystery elements in the hotel rooms.  I really liked Grant as villain.  And overall, despite petty quibbles over character flaws, I really did actually like this movie.  It has spy and detective elements but in the end this is more of a retired spy consequence movie.  So, you worked in the OSS, you did this thing and now it has come back on you – movie starts.

The premise may seem a little conflated (see trailer) but it is unrealistic to assume that everyone in a wartime setting is acting completely out of altruistic patriotism.  One can’t assume that even during disaster relief aid deliveries and one can certainly not expect it with the movements of all the money, weapons, etc. during war.  Of course, we’ll never know…

The odd thing to note about this movie is that it’s mostly from Hepburn’s POV.  Notorious was a blend of the Grant and Bergman and Rains.  North by Northwest was mostly Grant with a bit of Saint Marie.  This one is mostly about the female lead though which socially significant for a movie made in the 60’s.  Grant is a supporting character at best.  I just thought it was interesting to note the shift.