Sep 21, 2009
Want to see a movie? How about this one
As a special service for readers of this blog, I have posted a movie — an entire movie — courtesy of Hulu. It's one of my favorites: Charade. I have a poster from it on my wall and lie in wait for the day when it comes up as a Trivial Pursuit question. Who would have thought that Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Walter Matheau and James Coburn ever appeared in a film together? I can barely believe they ever occupied the same decade. Throw in the fact that it was directed by Stanley Donen, who made Singin in the Rain, and you have a real era-blending time-machine of a movie. It was actually released in 1963, the year of Kennedy's assassination (Audrey Hepburn's line, "at any moment we could be assassinated", was redubbed "at any moment we could be eliminated") and stands, like Mad Men, on the cliff-edge of an era. It didn't know that, of course, which could have left it feeling a little stranded, like those Doris Day pictures in the late sixties, but the whole thing works beautifully — a light-as-air comedy with an edging of threat which moves as if Donen were still directing musicals. Hepburn and Grant manage to straddle the generation gap in a way that Hepburn and Astaire did not. "How do you shave in there?" she asks pointing to the cleft in his chin. An excellent question.