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HISTORY

A news brief in the 17 Sep 1962 DV indicated that principal photography would start sometime in Oct 1962 in Paris, France. On 15 Nov 1962, the LAT confirmed that filming began 22 Oct 1962. Reporting from Paris, unit publicist Herb Sterne noted that fifty percent of the picture was being shot “on the streets … along the Seine, around Notre Dame Cathedral, through the sewers, and near the Eiffel Tower.” Filmmakers planned to complete interior sequences at Studios de Boulogne.
       Although the story of Charade is set in the springtime, cast and crew were faced with frigid temperatures and falling snow in Paris in Dec 1962, according to a 5 Dec 1962 DV news brief. Snow was a welcome backdrop, however, while filming the sequence that follows opening credits, in which Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn’s characters first meet. Various sources, including the 8 Jan 1963 DV, noted that these scenes were shot over five days in early Jan 1963 at a ski resort in Megève, in the French Alps.
       Seven months later, a 27 Aug 1963 DV news item announced that Charade would premiere at the Palace Theater in Washington, D.C., on 24 Sep 1963. Universal Pictures had already slated the film for a Christmas release, but agreed to a “single-evening advance showing.” Singer Ella Fitzgerald performed on stage prior to the screening, and, according to an account in the 20 Oct 1963 issue of Jet magazine, the event helped raise over $50,000 to prevent low-income children from dropping out of school.
       Prior to the film’s theatrical release, an article in ... More Less

A news brief in the 17 Sep 1962 DV indicated that principal photography would start sometime in Oct 1962 in Paris, France. On 15 Nov 1962, the LAT confirmed that filming began 22 Oct 1962. Reporting from Paris, unit publicist Herb Sterne noted that fifty percent of the picture was being shot “on the streets … along the Seine, around Notre Dame Cathedral, through the sewers, and near the Eiffel Tower.” Filmmakers planned to complete interior sequences at Studios de Boulogne.
       Although the story of Charade is set in the springtime, cast and crew were faced with frigid temperatures and falling snow in Paris in Dec 1962, according to a 5 Dec 1962 DV news brief. Snow was a welcome backdrop, however, while filming the sequence that follows opening credits, in which Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn’s characters first meet. Various sources, including the 8 Jan 1963 DV, noted that these scenes were shot over five days in early Jan 1963 at a ski resort in Megève, in the French Alps.
       Seven months later, a 27 Aug 1963 DV news item announced that Charade would premiere at the Palace Theater in Washington, D.C., on 24 Sep 1963. Universal Pictures had already slated the film for a Christmas release, but agreed to a “single-evening advance showing.” Singer Ella Fitzgerald performed on stage prior to the screening, and, according to an account in the 20 Oct 1963 issue of Jet magazine, the event helped raise over $50,000 to prevent low-income children from dropping out of school.
       Prior to the film’s theatrical release, an article in the 10 Nov 1963 LAT recounted the challenges that screenwriter Peter Stone faced in getting his first feature screenplay produced. After showing a script of Charade to several studios and receiving no interest, the writer decided to revise the material, with input from novelist Marc Behm, and seek publication for the “novelette” in Redbook magazine. His strategy was a success, capturing the attention of producer-director Stanley Donen, who quickly secured rights to the magazine story. The LAT speculated that Stone’s final screenplay might be considered an “adaptation” of what appeared in Redbook, rather than an “original” work, even though, from Stone’s perspective, the produced screenplay was “pretty much the same” as the early draft that so many studios had refused. The query, which may have held significance in terms of awards nominations, ultimately became a moot point, as Charade received one Academy Awards nomination in the category of Best Music, Original Song (Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer).
       A 6 Dec 1963 NYT review warned moviegoers of the film’s “ghoulish humor,” but commended Donen’s direction, the stars’ rapport, and entertaining “screwball comedy” elements. In a 2010 essay written to accompany the Criterion Collection’s Blu-ray release of a restored, high-definition digital transfer of the picture, film historian Bruce Elder remarked that, with its quirky mix of “murder, mayhem, romance, and marriage,” Charade won over audiences in the 1960s, as well as those in ensuing decades.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 Sep 1962
p. 1.
Daily Variety
18 Sep 1962
p. 5.
Daily Variety
12 Oct 1962
p. 6.
Daily Variety
5 Dec 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 Jan 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
27 Aug 1963
p. 6.
Jet
20 Oct 1963
p. 60.
Los Angeles Times
15 Nov 1962
Section D, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
10 Nov 1963
Section B, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
29 Nov 1963.
---
New York Times
6 Dec 1963.
---
Variety
25 Sep 1963
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Universal Presents
A Stanley Donen Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Prod exec
WRITERS
Story
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
2d unit cam
ART DIRECTORS
Asst art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Miss Hepburn's clothes by
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Dubbing ed
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Main title des
ANIMATION
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Col by]
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Unsuspecting Wife" by Peter Stone and Marc Behm (publication undetermined).
SONGS
"Charade," lyrics: Johnny Mercer, music: Henry Mancini.
DETAILS
Release Date:
5 December 1963
Premiere Information:
Washington, D.C. benefit premiere: 24 September 1963
New York opening: 5 December 1963
Los Angeles opening: 25 December 1963
Production Date:
began 22 October 1962 in Paris, France
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
113
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
20428
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Returning to Paris from an Alpine ski holiday, Reggie Lambert finds her husband, Charles, murdered. A vacation acquaintance, Peter Joshua, offers his services and assists her in finding a hotel room. Lambert's funeral is attended by three strange Americans. Summoned to the U.S. Embassy, Reggie is informed by supposed C.I.A. official Hamilton Bartholomew that Lambert and four accomplices had pilfered $250,000 in gold destined for the French Resistance during World War II, and that the government would appreciate her assistance in finding the loot. He further confides his fear for her life. Reggie assures Bartholomew, however, that she has no idea where the money is. The agent informs the widow that among Lambert's former associates, only Carson Dyle is deceased; the others attended her husband's funeral. Threatened by the trio, Reggie confides in Joshua, who reveals that he is Dyle's vengeful brother Alexander. Informed by Bartholomew that Dyle had no brother, Reggie confronts Joshua, who now asserts that he is thief Adam Canfield. When the American trio is murdered, Reggie assumes that her friend is, in fact, Alexander Dyle. En route to deliver the three rare stamps representing the purloined $250,000 Reggie meets Joshua, who discloses that Bartholomew is in reality Carson Dyle. Unmasked, the murderer flees to the Comédie Française, where he falls to his death through an open trap door. Joshua thereupon reveals to Reggie that he is U.S. Treasury agent Brian Cruikshank, accepts the stamps, and embraces the ... +


Returning to Paris from an Alpine ski holiday, Reggie Lambert finds her husband, Charles, murdered. A vacation acquaintance, Peter Joshua, offers his services and assists her in finding a hotel room. Lambert's funeral is attended by three strange Americans. Summoned to the U.S. Embassy, Reggie is informed by supposed C.I.A. official Hamilton Bartholomew that Lambert and four accomplices had pilfered $250,000 in gold destined for the French Resistance during World War II, and that the government would appreciate her assistance in finding the loot. He further confides his fear for her life. Reggie assures Bartholomew, however, that she has no idea where the money is. The agent informs the widow that among Lambert's former associates, only Carson Dyle is deceased; the others attended her husband's funeral. Threatened by the trio, Reggie confides in Joshua, who reveals that he is Dyle's vengeful brother Alexander. Informed by Bartholomew that Dyle had no brother, Reggie confronts Joshua, who now asserts that he is thief Adam Canfield. When the American trio is murdered, Reggie assumes that her friend is, in fact, Alexander Dyle. En route to deliver the three rare stamps representing the purloined $250,000 Reggie meets Joshua, who discloses that Bartholomew is in reality Carson Dyle. Unmasked, the murderer flees to the Comédie Française, where he falls to his death through an open trap door. Joshua thereupon reveals to Reggie that he is U.S. Treasury agent Brian Cruikshank, accepts the stamps, and embraces the widow. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.