CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: “Charade”

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of  RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

If you want to see one of cinema’s greatest on-screen pairings, backed by a tremendous supporting cast, in front of a majestic Paris setting, a gorgeous Henry Mancini score and one of the most riveting climaxes to a movie in the 1960s, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better film than “Charade.”
The film stars legendary actors Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, George Kennedy, James Coburn, Ned Glass and others.

(Stars Grant and Hepburn)

“Charade” starts off with a beautiful pan shot of the countryside, the stillness shredded by the sound of a fast-moving steam engine, a body ruthless tossed off the train and a haunting extreme close-up into the eyes of the dead body, all in the first 30 seconds before rocking the audience into the movie’s famous opening theme song.

Viewers quickly learn that the widow, Regina “Reggie” Lampert (Hepburn) really didn’t know her new groom very well when she is told by the police that her husband had many aliases.  She is further startled to learn her husband not only sold all of their belongings but is the owner of a great deal of money, which three other seedy-looking characters (Kennedy, Colburn, Glass) claim is theirs.

In comes the charming Grant (we won’t spoil things by telling you his name) to try to help Reggie, who is quickly targeted by everyone else, including the CIA (no spoiler here either) as the only logical owner of the cash, but she claims she had no idea of its existence in the first place.

Adding to the web of lies, her new confidant turns out to have his own series of aliases, and questionable motives for trying to help Reggie.

The film’s tone rapidly alternates between humorous moments, romance, intrigue and mystery.  As suspects begin getting bumped off it leaves very little downtime before having all questions resolved in its edge-of-your-seat finale.

“Charade” received numerous Academy and Golden Globe Award nominations (winning several) and is one of the few films ever listed simultaneously on the American Film Institute’s top 100 moments in the often conflicting movie categories of comedy, romance, thrillers and murder mysteries … AND places in the top 100 film scores.

Plus, the funeral scene is one of the funniest “macabre moments” you may ever witness.

Oh by the way, the film was also directed by yet another cinema legend, Stanley Donen, whose long line of iconic films includes “Singing in the Rain,” “On the Town,” “Royal Wedding,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” and many others.

“Charade” is a must-see and will be featured in the RCN-TV Movie Vault on Friday, May 22nd at 7:30 p.m.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

 

Chris Michael About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

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