When Cary Grant was first offered the lead role in this film opposite Audrey Hepburn he turned it down. He was about to turn 59 (in fact, his birthday occurred during production) and he was afraid he’d look creepy chasing a woman not much more than half his age. But he consented when the screenwriter, Peter Stone, showed him a re-write that made Hepburn’s character the one pursuing him.
(Which reminds me that I recently read a complaint by a woman who objected to the older men infesting dating websites in pursuit of younger women. She labeled them DOGs, for “Desperate Old Guys.” I find the term ridiculous. Obviously, if they really were desperate, they’d settle for somebody their own age.)
Here’s how the film begins:
Hepburn soon finds herself menaced by a trio of strange and dangerous men convinced she has something she never even knew existed. Her only allies are a bureaucrat at the U.S. embassy (who accuses her of lying) and Cary Grant, a handsome stranger she’s just met and soon suspects of not being who he pretends to be.
The film isn’t entirely believable (for one thing, real-life dialog is rarely so witty) but it’s a great deal of fun, often described as the best Hitchcock film not made by Hitchcock. (The director was Stanley Donen, who also directed On the Town, Singin’ in the Rain, and a bunch of other films.)
After finishing Charade, Grant said he very much wanted to make another movie with Hepburn (in his place, so would I!), but unfortunately it never happened.
A note to those with Netflix: The version currently available on the Netflix Instant streaming service is a terrible transfer, noticeably blurry and, last I checked, in the wrong aspect ratio. I’ve raised hell with them about it and to their credit they did correct one problem I pointed out, but I still consider what they have close to unwatchable. Get the DVD or Blu-ray version instead.