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Film: Charade

A 1963 Thriller directed by Stanley Donen, starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant and featuring Walter Matthau.

Reggie Lambert (Hepburn) is getting ready for life as a divorcee when she finds out that her husband is dead. When the police question her she finds that he has multiple passports each with different aliases, and that he was holding on to $250,000 note  which is unaccounted for. During the funeral, three suspicious people she's never seen before come to visit the body. She is then called to the embassy, where she finds out that her husband was part of a group of soldiers chosen to deliver some gold across enemy lines. However, instead of delivering the gold as planned, the soldiers hid it somewhere, with plans to come back after the war and have it for themselves. Her husband, however, got greedy and came back early, taking all the gold for himself. Now the other three soldiers will do anything anything to get it back.

While this is happening, she also meets Peter Joshua (Grant), whom she enters into a romance with.

Remade in 2002 by Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) as The Truth About Charlie, with Mark Wahlberg and Thandie Newton.

This film provides examples of:

  • After-Action Patchup: Regina treats Peter's back after his fight with Scobie.
  • Balcony Escape: Cary Grant's character follows Scobie out the window and across a few balconies.
  • Cold Open: The very first scene of the movie features a man's body (later identified as Reggie's murdered husband) getting thrown off of a train.
  • Dying Clue: Tex writes "Dyle" on the carpet before he suffocates.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Cary Grant's character constantly seems to change sides, turning from The Mole to Reverse Mole to Double Agent and eventually to Double Reverse Quadruple Agent.
  • Driving a Desk: Scenes of Reggie and Cary Grant's character riding cars and a boat have rear-projection effects. When they ride the boat through tunnels, their dialogue has an echo effect added for realism.
  • Dwindling Party: Scobie, Gideon and Text are killed off one by one.
  • Eureka Moment: Tex and then Peter have one upon realizing the missing money has been converted to the stamps.
  • Fanservice: Reggie's intense propositioning of Carry Grant's character.
    Reggie: (Leaning back against the door) This is a ludicrous situation—I can think of a dozen men who are just longing to use my shower....
    Cary Grant: So ask one of them.
    Reggie: I dare you....
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: Played for laughs. Reggie and Peter are going through her late husband's luggage to see if they can find something valuable enough for him to have been murdered for. They find a tin of what appears to be tooth powder, but she suspects might be heroin; at her urging, he does the test... and concludes that either it's peppermint-flavoured heroin or it really is tooth powder.
  • Flowery Elizabethan English: As Reggie and Peter finish sharing their first conversation, Reggie asks, "...wasn't it Shakespeare who said, 'When strangers do meet, they should ere long see one another again'?" Peter replies that he can tell that's not a real Shakespeare quote because, "It's terrible."
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Or is it fourth identity marriage?
  • Gotta Kill Them All: Carson Dyle killing off the members of his squad who'd left him to be captured by Germans after he'd been shot.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The $250,000 turned out to be a set of antique stamps on a letter that had been among Charles Lampert's possessions.
  • Hook Hand: Scobie. He even has a spare one in his suitcase.
  • I Have Many Names: The government agent pursuing the thieves variously gives his name as Peter Joshua, Alexander Dyle, Adam Canfield, and finally Brian Cruikshank.
  • Insistent Terminology: Played with. Whenever Reggie makes reference to "spies", Bartholomew corrects her with "agents". But at the same time, whenever Bartholomew says "spies", Reggie corrects him with "agents".
  • Jerk Ass: Herman Scobie's profession.
  • Last Disrespects / Lonely Funeral: Virtually the only people to attend the late Charles Lampert's funeral besides his widow are his three former partners in crime, who are mainly attending to see if he's Faking the Deadnote  and are more disgusted than sorry for his death.
  • MacGuffin: The stamps.
  • May-December Romance: Cary Grant was 59 when he made the film, 25 years older than Audrey Hepburn. He only took the role after the writer gave all the romantically aggressive lines to Hepburn's character, so he wouldn't look like a predator.
  • Mood Whiplash: After the Cold Open and the Artistic Title, the movie begins with Reggie having lunch at a ski resort, unaware of someone pointing a pistol at her. The wielder shoots at her...with water. An irritated Reggie lifts her head up, and sees a little boy holding a squirt gun.
  • Mr. Exposition: This is the role Walter Matthau carries for most of the film, at least until the reveal shows him to be the Big Bad.
  • Posthumous Character: Carson Dyle. Subverted.
  • Power Trio: of the villainous variety:
    • Id: Scobie.
    • Ego: Tex.
    • Superego: Gideon.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Subverted when Regina accuses Peter of not needing the reading glasses he puts on. She pulls them from his face and dons them herself then gets a shocked expression and quickly hands them back, saying quietly, "You need them." The degree of correction in those lenses must've been something fierce.
  • Quick Nip: When Bartholomew is introduced, he is rubbing dry-cleaning solution into his tie as he talks to Reggie. When he finishes, he gives the rag a quick sniff, stuffs it in his pocket, and keeps talking as though nothing had happened.
  • The Reveal: Mr. Bartholemew turns out to be Carson Dyle, and has been killing off his former comrades one by one. Also, Cary Grant's character turns out to actually work at the American embassy as a member of the Treasury Dept.
  • Running Gag:
    • Grant's character constantly changing names.
    • And when he produces a new name, Reggie asks, "Is there a Mrs. __?" and he replies, "Yes, but we're divorced." By the third time, she's saying it along with him.
    • Reggie or Bartholemew saying "spies" and the other correcting "agents."
    • Every suit Cary Grant's character seems to wear gets damaged in some way.
  • Running Gag Stumbles: At the end of the movie, Reggie asks Grant's character again if there's a Mrs. (his latest name), and he says "Yes," but leaves out the "but we're divorced" part. Turns out there is a Mrs. Cruikshank, but she's his mother!
  • Split Screen: In the last scene, displaying Grant's character's four identities.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Yes, it was a dumb move, Herman. What is the matter with you?"
    • "You killed all three of them for nothing." Ultimately subverted, as Grant's character didn't kill any of them and Tex just incorrectly assumed he did.
    • "Reggie, wait! That man is Carson Dyle!"
  • Wham Shot:
    • Throughout the movie, Reggie's been getting help from CIA agent Hamilton Bartholomew from the American embassy. Late in the film, she tries to call him at the embassy only to be told by the operator that Mr. Bartholomew is at a reception. She asks the operator to give him a message at the reception. We then see at the reception the phone getting picked up by a middle-aged man we've never seen before. And upon hearing Reggie's message, it's clear that this Hamilton Bartholomew has no clue what's going on. "Well, who does she think I am, the CIA?"
    • At the end, Reggie is told at the embassy that the man to see about the recovery of stolen property is Brian Cruikshank. She goes to his office only to see Cary Grant's character, whom she's already known by three different aliases, seated at Cruikshank's desk, revealing that this is his real identity.
  • Secret Identity: Threefold. Her husband, the real Dyle and Cary Grant's character manage to hide their true identity from Reggie.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Carson Dyle was abandoned by his comrades after being horribly wounded, and spent months as a prisoner of war with nothing to help the pain. It's no wonder he's so bitter toward them.

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