MovieChat Forums > Charade (1963) Discussion > When Do Viewers Realize That (Spoiler!)

When Do Viewers Realize That (Spoiler!)


When do viewers first realize that

Walter Matthau is not who he seems

Cary Grant is not who he seems

The money is really stamps

My best guess:

You realize Cary Grant is not who he seems when his face is shadowed in the newly emptied out apartment

You realize WM is not who he seems when he phones Reggie to tell her that Carson Dial had no brother

Last one... only when the characters do.

http://www.amazon.com/Save-Send-Delete-Danusha-Goska/dp/1846949866

reply

All good possiblities...the stamps were wonderfully hidden "in plain sight."

I never saw Charade WITHOUT knowing that Matthau was the killer(somebody told me), but I think he clarifies as the killer once James Coburn is dead...because otherwise, its Cary Grant, and despite Cary's nicely cold performance here...it CAN'T be Cary Grant.

Walter Matthau...a man with considerable ego even when he was just a supporting actor, said he overheard two boys in a movie theater watching Charade and guessing it was Matthau early on because..."He is too big a name to be playing such a small part."

reply

Same here. I had caught the scene in Charade where Carson Dyle is about to kill Mrs. Lampert years before I saw the entire film, so I knew that he was the culprit.

Cary Grant as the killer would have been out of the question. A certain Hitchcock film's ending had to be changed because Cary Grant had to be "a good guy".

Interesting tidbit about the boys in the theater guessing whodunit! 

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen 🎇

reply

I call that the Jeff Daniels rule, after watching, well, I won't spoil a different movie here. But it was a movie where he was inexplicably playing a very minor role. Didn't take me long to figure out he was the "real killer".

Hard to apply it to a movie like this. Was Walter Matthau such a big star in 1963? I don't think he was. He didn't really break through until after Charade, with The Fortune Cookie in '66 and The Odd Couple in '68.

I figured he was the baddie when Herman was killed. During the lead-up to the discovery of the body, the kid was with Hepburn and the other two bad guys were together. Only Grant was by himself, and that strongly suggested that he had to be the killer. But of course Cary Grant isn't the killer! (I mean, duh!) So it had to be Matthau.

It was funny how he kept using the word "spys" and Hepburn kept correcting. Perhaps a tell?

reply

When did the viewers first realize... that the money is really stamps?

My big problem with this film is that they never show the stamps in close-up until the big reveal comes toward the latter half, where we, the viewers, learn that three old - and highly valuable - stamps were affixed to that envelope in Reggie's collection of things left by her late husband.

I feel that many viewers would have fairly quickly recognized that those stamps looked unusual, definitely "old", and did not look like they belonged to any current French (or other European) mail system. IOW, many viewers could have easily solved the "where's the money?" question right away by assuming, correctly, that the stamps were valuable collector items.

It seems a little weak in the plot, too, that none of the key "seekers" of the money did not immediately suspect the stamps as being possibly old and valuable. I would at least have expected Cary Grant's character to be a little more savvy, considering his connection to U.S. Treasury Department. It's always seemed to me that a real Treasury agent would have recognized the stamps right away - or at least would have had them checked out.

reply

My big problem with this film is that they never show the stamps in close-up until the big reveal comes toward the latter half, where we, the viewers, learn that three old - and highly valuable - stamps were affixed to that envelope in Reggie's collection of things left by her late husband.

-------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think showing stamps which are not US would mean anything to American audiences.

THat said, I remember seeing this film with a college crowd, and in the scene where heroin is suspected, and then found not to be the case, they've got everything laid out on the table, and a few audience members shouted "The stamps!". Because there simply isn't anything else it could be!

So, yeah, the characters were all pretty obtuse.

reply

It's cool that they figured it out! As a former stamp collector here in America (stamps dating back to early 1900s), I'm kicking myself for not paying close enough attention to what came out of the bag.

I did suspect Matthau from the beginning, but the writer/director did a good job of making me forget about that until it was almost time to reveal who he really was.


Mag, Darling, you're being a bore.

reply

It wasn't necessary for the viewers to be shown the stamps in close-up. We were told that there were stamps on the envelope. That should have been a clue right there.

I agree that Cary Grant's character should have caught on more quickly. The others - not necessarily. Those fellows were crooks, but not necessarily experts on stamps and the value of stamps. Cary Grant's character should have known better.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen 🎇

reply

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Walter Matthau...a man with considerable ego even when he was just a supporting actor, said he overheard two boys in a movie theater watching Charade and guessing it was Matthau early on because..."He is too big a name to be playing such a small part."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I would say that this is either an anecdote that Matthau has made up or it was during a re-showing at a movie theatre years later because Matthau was not a big star in 1963, he was not even a leading man but a mere supporting player who the vast majority of movie goers would not even remember his name.

reply

Story doesn't hold up even if they saw it after Matthau became a star. How would they know early on that he had a small part? Maybe he's going to be in a lot of scenes.

reply