Peter Joshua: 'Ohhh...which view would you prefer?'
Reggie Lampert: 'The one you're blocking'.
Nah nah na nah...who has just been to the flicks and seen the Audrey Hepburn Carey Grant classic, Charade, on the big screen?! You guessed it! your humble Kiwi blogger!! Gloat gloat, swelling head, rampaging ego, ivory tower syndrom, etc, etc,...oh do stop before your pride taketh a fall you fool!!
To say I feel extremely fortunate is an understatement as I do just love the quite lovely Audrey Hepburn, nee Ferrer, nee Dotti. I was very lucky to see a very limited three screening sesion of Breakfast at Tiffany's back in 2007. I re-call it as if it was just yesterday as I was in high anticipation as the working day dragged like you wouldn't believe. Suffice to say the screening did not disapponit. It was a re-mastered version where as Charade was not, and was in its original condition. It had the scratchy graininess of a fifty year old movie but it only added to the classic feel of it. The soundtrack was actually in very good condition and the film didn't jump around too much. Overall it was just a quite simply unbelievable priviledge to watch, and I enjoyed every moment of the two hours running time.
Charade is one of five classics to be played here in the next fortnight. The next four are the last films David Lean made before his death, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Ryan's Daughter, and Last Passage to India. Who of you out there wouldn't like to see all these true cinematic greats on the big screen?? Source Code is to open here tommorrow but guess who will be fore going it to save his hard earned bucks for some of these classics?! I will absolutely definitely no maybe about it go to the Lawrence of Arabia screening!! Money is short at the moment and as much as I want to see the other three I may have to miss them...which believe me is a bloody hard thing to have to contemplate!!
One thing about classic film screenings is the film starts immediately and there are no previews to endure. God it was indescribable when the old Universal Studios logo came on the screen in its 1963 finery!! Then, if you have actually seen Charade, the opening credits which are just soooooo 1960's!! They are psychedelic animation combined with a really good catchy score. My face was split from ear to ear in the biggest smile you could ever imagine!! What an opening, and I just knew I was in for something good.
I tell you folks I was not disappointed!!! I cannot even begin to tell you what it was like to sit in front of a big screen with two absolute legends in top form, honestly this is when life is really worth living!! Charade encompasses three genres, thriller, romance, and comdey. The comedy is just out standing. The opening scenes when Hepburn and Grant meet are just brilliant, and display a repartee that more modern film makers and actors just can't seem to achieve. It may be over fifty years old but the audience I was with was in histerics! ( all 9... I repeat 9..of us. At 40 I was the youngest one there. It was a really poor turn out ). There are just so many great lines, it is truely a masterpiece of 1960's film making and script writing.
It has a two hour running time and yet I didn't won't it all to end!! Modern reviews on Charade state the length is too long, and the pacing too slow by today's standards. Well duh...this isn't a modern film and must always be viewed through the lens of the times it was made. I found the pacing good as there was never a dull spot, and with such such brilliant lines of repartee, backed by a great script, who notices two hours?
The only crticism maybe, which has always followed Charade, is the age difference between Hepburn and Grant. Hepburn throughout much of her career was dogged with co-starring with older male actors as they were the big names of the times. Bogart, Holden, Grant, Peck, were much older, and script writers had to carefully write around the age differences. Hepburn had previously enjoyed working with Peter O'toole as they were of similar ages in How to Steal a Million.
In Charade Hepburn was 34, and Grant 54. Grant was hesitant to take the role because of the age difference. The script was adapted to make it appear that Hepburn's Reggie Lampert was the persuer to avoid Grant looking like a cradle snatcher. Today I doubt such an issue would arise as such in a more open minded world where such things aren't frowned on as much. The age difference is obvious but both Hepburn and Grant play it so well that it is quickly forgotten. Hepburn at 34 was still quite youthful looking, if anything looked better in Charade than she did at 31 in Breakfast at Tiffany's, quite an achievement from a woman who just seemed ageless for most of her career.
This is definitely the Hepburn Grant show, but what an all star cast behind them! George Kennedy, Walter Mattau, James Coburn, three names that are big in their own rights. But compared against the might of Hepburn and Grant their talents pale. The difference between being good and being great is extremely obvious. The AFI rate Hepburn the third best actress, and Grant second best actor of all time. Whilst it is a moot point as to who was better than who etc, their rankings are a fair indication of just how good they really were. I felt that Hepburn was putting in a very professional performance, and is at her very best, but Grant seemed to be having a ball, and looked like the film was alot of fun to make.
As film Charade doesn't make the AFI's top 100 but it is up against some stiff competition. But as a 1960's film it is a very good example of a truley great film of the era. It just has it all, but for me the highlight is the repartee between Hepburn and Grant. They carry the film with their abundant talents, but they had been given a great script to work with. Chararde has been called ' the best film Hitchcock never made'. In its day it would have been a top notch thriller. It had me guessing all the way through and sucked me in big time as to who was who, and who was telling the porkies!! It just goes to show that just because a film may be 'old' they certainly aren't crusty or irrelevant. Charade was like a breath of fresh air for mein an era of CGI heavy bombardment from Hollywood with second rate acting and even worse scripts.
So I hope you all realise I just loooovvvvveeeeeeeeedddddddddddd Charade!!...every second of it, and wished you could all have been there!!! It is a great 1960's film and the humour is just as good today as it was fifty odd years ago. What can possibly be said about Hepburn and Grant?? Grant was too old for the role and it is glaringly obvious, but I can overlook that as the two together are just sublime and gel very well on screen. The whole film was a real joy to watch from start to finish and it was quite simply an unalloyed pleasure and priveledge to have been able to see it in all its original 1963 glory.
Pure fun and a great 1960's film in the process.
Click here for IMDB's 'memorable lines' from Charade. If you have seen the film they will bring back fond memories as you remember the scenes they are from. If you haven't seen it then the lines may not seem great but believe me they are superb when seen in the film!!
The sad thing I got though from Charade is how most so called cinema buffs, aficianados, etc, aren't really the lovers of movies they think they are. When you see only 9 people turn up for a classic film with two true icons of the silver screen you have to wonder where all these 'buffs' are. It is also sad that a film like this is played at a time when absolute fucking, fucking, fucking garbage like Fast and Furious 5 is number one at the box office world wide. Charade may be over fifty years old but absolutely spits crap like F &F 5 out in utter distain, and shows it what quality acting and film making really is all about in the process. Makes one cringe to think about it, and is something to quietly mull over...maybe the true cinema buffs are the ones who write blogs...???!!!