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.

My Fair Lady

  • Directors: George Cukor
  • Producers: Jack L Warner
  • Writers: Alan Jay Lerner, George Bernard Shaw
  • Genres: Drama, Family, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Jeremy Brett

In London, Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), an arrogant, irascible, misogynistic professor of phonetics, believes that it is the accent and the tone of one’s voice which determines a person’s prospects in society. He boasts to a new acquaintance, Colonel Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White), himself an expert in phonetics, that he can teach any woman to speak so “properly” that he could pass her off as a duchess at an embassy ball, even Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn), a young flower seller with a strong Cockney accent.

Eliza goes to Higgins’ house and offers to pay for speech lessons. Her great ambition is to work in a flower shop, but her thick working-class accent makes her unsuitable for such a position. All she can afford to pay is a shilling per lesson. Pickering, who is staying with Higgins, is intrigued by the idea and bets Higgins all the expenses that he will not be able to do it. Higgins accepts.

Eliza’s father, Alfred P. Doolittle (Stanley Holloway), a dustman, arrives three days later, ostensibly to protect his daughter’s virtue, but in reality simply to extract some money from Higgins, and is bought off with £5. Higgins is impressed by the man’s genuineness, his natural gift for language, and especially his brazen lack of morals (Doolittle explains, “Can’t afford ’em!”).

Higgins makes his way home, stubbornly predicting that Eliza will be ruined without him and come crawling back. However, his bravado collapses and he comes to the horrified realization that he has “grown accustomed to her face”. He is reduced to playing an old phonograph recording of her voice lessons. Then, to his great delight, Eliza returns.

Breakfast at Tiffany s

  • Directors: Blake Edwards
  • Producers: Richard Shepherd, Martin Jurow
  • Writers: Novella, Truman Capote, Screenplay, George Axelrod
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen

Early on a fall morning, a lone taxicab deposits Holly Golightly at Tiffany’s jewelry store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Holly eats a breakfast pastry and drinks coffee while admiring the window displays, then strolls away for home. At her brownstone apartment block, Holly successfully fends off her date from the night before, who has been waiting in his car outside her residence all night and is angry that she disappeared during the course of their evening out together. Holly then meets Paul Varjak, a new tenant. After feeding her pet cat (simply named “Cat”), Holly talks with Paul as she hurriedly prepares to visit Sing Sing prison, a weekly routine from which she earns $100 for an hour’s conversation with Sally Tomato, an incarcerated mob boss. Holly does not realize that she is passing coded messages for Sally’s drug ring. Outside the brownstone, Mrs. Failenson (referred to as “2E” throughout the movie) arrives and is introduced as Paul’s “decorator.”

Later that night, Holly visits Paul to escape a drunken date and sees Mrs. Failenson leave money and kiss Paul goodbye. Holly wakes up Paul and they talk. It is revealed that Paul is a writer but hasn’t been published since 1956 and that Holly ran away from home at age 14 with her brother Fred, who is in the army.

The Hays Code of 1930 may have also played a role in the specious interpretation of their shared occupation.

Roman Holiday

  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Producers: William Wyler
  • Writers: Dalton Trumbo, Ian McLellan Hunter amp John Dighton
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert

Ann (Hepburn) is a royal princess of an unspecified country. She is on a widely publicized tour of several European capitals, including Rome. One night, she rebels against the strenuous demands of her official duties, where her day is tightly scheduled. Her doctor gives her a sedative to calm her down and help her sleep, but she secretly leaves her country’s embassy to experience Rome by herself.

The injection eventually takes effect and she falls asleep on a bench, where Joe Bradley (Peck), an expatriate American reporter, meets her. Not recognizing her, he offers her money so that she can take a taxi home, but a very drowsy “Anya Smith” (as she calls herself) refuses to cooperate. Joe finally decides, for safety’s sake, to let her spend the night in his apartment. He is amused by her regal manner, but less so when she appropriates his bed. He transfers her to a couch without awakening her. The next morning, Joe wakes up late and, leaving the princess still asleep, hurries off to work.

When his editor, Mr. Hennessy (Hartley Power), asks why he is late, Joe lies to him; he claims to have attended a press conference for the princess. Joe makes up details of the alleged interview until Hennessy informs him that the princess had suddenly “fallen ill” and the conference had been canceled. Joe sees a picture of her and recognizes the young woman. Joe and Hennessy end up making a bet that Joe can get an exclusive on the princess.

The next day, Princess Ann appears at the delayed news conference, and is surprised to find Joe and Irving among the members of the press. Irving takes her picture with the same miniature cigarette lighter/camera he had used the previous day. He then presents her with the photographs he had taken that day, as a memento of her adventure. Joe lets her know, by allusion, that her secret is safe with them. She, in turn, works into her bland press conference statements a coded message of love and gratitude to Joe. She then departs, leaving Joe to linger for a while, contemplating what might have been.