Charade

  • Directors: Stanley Donen
  • Producers: Stanley Donen
  • Writers: Marc Behm, Peter Stone
  • Genres: Comedy, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn

Regina “Reggie” Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) meets a charming stranger calling himself Peter Joshua (Cary Grant) on a skiing holiday in Megève. She returns to Paris, planning to ask husband Charles for a divorce, but finds all of their possessions gone. The police notify her that Charles has been murdered, thrown from a train. They give Regina her husband’s travel bag. At the funeral, Regina is struck by the odd characters who show up to view the body, including one who sticks the corpse with a pin to verify he is dead.

She is summoned to the U.S. Embassy, where she meets CIA agent Hamilton Bartholomew (Walter Matthau). He informs her Charles was involved in a theft during World War II. As part of the OSS (the predecessor of the CIA), he, “Tex” Panthollow (James Coburn), Herman Scobie (George Kennedy), Leopold W. Gideon (Ned Glass) and Carson Dyle were parachuted behind enemy lines to deliver $250,000 in gold to the French Resistance. Instead, they buried it, but were then ambushed by a German patrol. Dyle was badly wounded and left to die; the rest got away. Charles doublecrossed them, digging up the gold and selling it. He was killed but the money remained missing – and the U.S. government also wants the money back. Reggie recognizes the oddballs from the funeral in pictures shown to her by Bartholomew. He insists she has the money, even if she doesn’t know where it is.

Reggie insists on turning the stamps over to the proper authorities. Peter refuses to accompany her inside the office of the U.S. embassy official she is there to see, but when she goes to see the appropriate bureaucrat, Brian Cruikshank, she is shocked to find Peter sitting behind the desk. After convincing her that he is actually a government official (by buzzing his secretary), he dispels her irritation at being deceived by promising to marry her…after she gives him the stamps. The movie ends with a split-screen grid showing flashback shots of all his different identities (Peter Joshua, Alexander Dyle, Adam Canfield, and Brian Cruikshank), with Reggie hoping that they have lots of boys, so she can name them all after him.

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