Blu-Ray Review: Charade

Audrey Hepburn is one of the most recognisable faces to ever grace the big screen. The elfin Brit is as well known for being a Hollywood heartthrob as she is for her abilities in front of the camera, which is incredibly unfair. While her role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s remains her most iconic, she had a glittering career as an actor. Indeed, she’s one of an elite group who can count an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award to their name. One of her best performances, for which she won a BAFTA, was in Charade.

Whilst holidaying at a French ski resort, Reggie Lampert (Hepburn) has a chance encounter with charming fellow American Peter Joshua (Cary Grant). On her return to Paris, she discovers her apartment has been stripped bare, her husband murdered and all the money has disappeared. At a loss about what to do, she’s contacted by him again. With only the contents of a travel bag for clues, he offers to help her solve the mystery.

Charade takes a script which would grace a Hitchcock film and allows its two stars to revel in pulling it apart. Both leads come alive in Stanley Donen’s magical vision, with Grant playing an exaggerated version of himself whilst Hepburn shows what a gifted performer she is; mixing wide-eyed naivety with perfect comic timing. The chemistry between them is just a joy to watch. Let’s not forget the brilliant supporting case, which includes Walter Matthau and James Coburn. There are few, if any, films which can match Charade for pure exuberance and fun.

Special features:

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Audio commentary featuring Stanley Donen and screenwriter Peter Stone
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: A new essay by film historian Bruce Eder

Charade is released on Blu-Ray by the Criterion Collection on 15 February.

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