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Blu-ray Review – Charade

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Charade is an American film that was directed by Stanley Donen and stars Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. It also features Walter Matthau, George Coburn, George Kennedy, and Ned Glass. It was filmed on location in Paris, the score was done by Henry Mancini, and it is considered the best Hitchock movie that Hitchcock never made.

In an era of spy thrillers including the James Bond and Flint series, Charade was different because in it, the hero is not the spy but rather it is Regina Lampert (Hepburn) who becomes suddenly involved with murderers, thieves, and spies. With three crooks after her, it is the not so innocent Peter Joshua (Grant) who has to step up and help Lampert navigate the tricky waters she has been thrown into.

The story revolves around Lampert and the fact that her husband has been murdered and his fortune that was stolen from the government is missing, and three crooks think that she has it. This all makes for a wonderful romp that is both a lot of fun as well as very entertaining.

The video is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The1080p high-definition digital transfer was created from the 35mm interpositive at IVC. The film has a very rich grain structure and it comes out with a brilliant look. The black levels and shadows are very strong without being overdone.

The audio is presented in a 24-bit uncompressed monaural track at 1152Kbps and the mix is very good. The dialog is extremely clear and the music from Henry Mancini’s score comes through crystal clear. Even with only one track, it sounds really great for its age.

Features include audio commentary with Stanley Donen and screenwriter Peter Stone that provides insight into the film. A feature called “The Films of Stanley Donen and Peter Stone’s Career Highlights,” and the film’s theatrical trailer are presented in HD. There is also a 14-page booklet featuring an essay by historian Bruce Eder.

All in all Charade is a movie that is a lot of fun and why not, with the great chemistry between Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Then when you add Matthau, Coburn, and Kennedy, the music by Mancini, and all of the twists and surprises that are contained within the plot, and you have an incredibly enjoyable movie.

 

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.