Audrey Hepburn plays a Parisienne whose husband is murdered and who finds she is being followed by four men seeking the fortune her late spouse had hidden away. Cary Grant is the stranger who comes to her aid, but his real... more » motives aren't entirely clear--could he even be the killer? The 1963 film is directed by Stanley Donen, but it has been called "Hitchcockian" for good reason: the possible duplicities between lovers, the unspoken agendas between a man and woman sharing secrets. Charade is nowhere as significant as a Hitchcock film, but suspense-wise it holds its own; and Donen's glossy production lends itself to the welcome experience of stargazing. One wants Cary Grant to be Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn to be no one but Audrey Hepburn in a Hollywood product such as this, and they certainly don't let us down. --Tom Keogh« less
"This is an exceptional DVD transfer of an exceptional movie. Criterion has done a magnificent job of restoring Charade to its colorful glory. The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The print is clear, crisp, and beautiful to behold. You feel as if you can reach out and touch the actors.And what actors! The film features the dashing older version of Cary Grant and the youthful gamine Audrey Hepburn, with enough chemistry between them to ignite a fireworks factory. The plot is a convoluted and flimsy trifle about cold war spy shenanigans, with cases of mistaken identity and episodes of grave danger for Miss Audrey. But Cary, the classic good guy in cad's clothing, is there to save the day. In addition to which he provides chaste romance that sizzles beneath the civility.Audio commentary is provided by director Stanley Donen and screenwriter Peter Stone. While interesting and funny in spots, it does drag a bit over the length of the film. It may be better to check it out when you find something in the film that you would like to hear dissected. Otherwise, you'd be better to stick with the delightful, corny dialogue spoken in the dulcet tones of Cary and Audrey. The soundtrack music is to also to be savored, done up in classic '60s spy movie style by the movie maestro Henry Mancini.If you have nothing to do on a rainy day and own a DVD player, this is the movie you want to have on hand to pop in the machine and deliver you from care. It's a keeper (and it comes in a keeper case!)."
I second the first review!
Robert S. Truesdell | 12/07/1999
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Amazon did indeed refund me for this DVD, but as above, be aware. This DVD is made from the same old lousy public domain print that you see on PBS every few months. This is a great film, and deserves a great copy. I'll be ordering the Criteria version soon (after x-mas shopping), and hope that lives up to expectations. This one doesn't even deserve to be on videotape!"
Criterion scores again!
L. Carter | 12/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got this DVD for Christmas and I wasn't disappointed. Stanley Donen, director of musicals such as "Singin' In The Rain" starring Gene Kelly, brought together Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn (who looks luminous, as always) in this wonderfully-written story about a Parisian widow (Hepburn) who is being pursued by three dangerous men (two of which are played by George Kennedy - an excellent "heavy" - and James Coburn at his most menacing) who want to find out about a large sum of money her dead husband supposedly had. Grant is the helpful stranger but eventually you begin to wonder: is he working with these men? Does he want the money for himself? Or is he really the handsome, older man Audrey finds herself falling in love with?Enhanced by a lush score by the late Henry Mancini, photographed beautifully in Paris and containing first-rate acting and deliciously wicked dialogue by writer Peter Stone, "Charade" is a film that should be in every serious DVD collection. Grant is older but better, like fine wine, and Ms. Hepburn ... well there have been millions of words used to describe her and I can't add to them other than to say the world lost a marvelous talent at her death.You'll enjoy "Charade" for a long, long time."
Nothing is really what it seems...
pavilion8500 | Vermont USA | 02/27/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"And that includes the quality of this release. It just goes to show that you can take a great screenplay from a great book, cast some stellar Hollywood performers at their peaks, add clear expert direction, stunning location sets, stir in a Mancini score, and still end up with a painfully disappointing experience. Especially when you consider the promise of the new DVD format, and today's digital remastering techniques. Re-released through several small-time distributors (Front Row Entertainment of Canada, etc) Charade has been reduced to a sad caricature of it's original beauty. By using worn-out, poor-quality source for the transfer to DVD these distributors have marketed a product that is not only inferior to the existing VHS tape versions, but an insult to the DVD format. To see this type of travesty is to know the real tragedy of copyright expiration and it's resulting offspring--corporate greed at the expense of art, businesses reaping profits at the expense of unaware consumers, and worst of all...sometimes the loss of great examples of cinema magic. Thank goodness Criterion was able to resurrect what appears to be close to if not original film, and produce a release of Charade that shows what DVD is all about. If you haven't seen Charade, I won't spoil it by telling you the plot here. But whether you've seen it or not, I will tell you this: Spend the money and get the Criterion version for DVD, or save your money and buy the VHS tape version. Avoid the budget DVD versions at all costs--they're no bargain...just a waste. Enjoy!"
Great movie, great extras, great media
Robert S. Truesdell | Costa Mesa, CA USA | 12/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First and foremost, this is a very enjoyable movie. It was very enjoyable in 1963 and it remains enjoyable today. The actors, the story, and the cinematic craft are all first rate.This Criterion release is fantastic. Most of the video is absolutely flawless with well-saturated colors and an absence of artifacts. Even shots of Coburn's checked shirt are free of compression artifacts or aliasing which is common to this kind of shot. The audio is fine considering it is mono and mastered in 1963. There are a few rare blemishes noticeable on the screen that look like problems with the source media but that is nowhere near as offensive as artifacts or aliasing.The fun bonus on this edition is the writer and director commentary! For those of us that like this sort of thing, this is a very enjoyable example. Listening to these two, what?, 70-year-olds bicker back and forth is a complete crack-up!"