REMAKE: Charade/The Truth About Charlie

CHARADE (1963): WRITER: Peter Stone (screenplay), Peter Stone & Marc Behm (story) DIRECTOR: Stanley Donan BUDGET: $4 Million GROSS: ?

THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE (2002): WRITER: Peter Stone(based on "Charade" screenplay), Jonathan Demme & Steve Schmidt & Peter Stone (as Peter Joshua) & Jessica Bendinger DIRECTOR: Jonathan Demme BUDGET:GROSS: $5,293,525

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

BASIC PLOT: an america women living in paris, who is about to divorce her husband, meets a handsom stranger while on vacation. upon returning to paris she finds out her husband has been murdered and she is being persued by a several men (and a women in The Truth About Charlie) who are after money her husband stole and they think she knows where it is.

THE CHOICES:

CASTING: the original film, Charade, stars screen legends cary grant and audrey hepburn. if you've seen Charade and didn't realize how important cary and audrey were to making it as good a film as it is, watching The Truth About Charlie, starring mark wahlberg and thandie newton, will hammer that point right home. and you can see it in the first 10 minutes of each film.

the first scene with grant and hepburn is a fun, banter-filled flirt session that sets a great tone for what's to come. on the other hand, wahlberg and newton's first encounter - although trying desperately to be fun and flirty, is awkward, poorly acted and shows very little chemistry, if any, between them. and they don't find any chemistry or acting chops throughout the film either.

TONE: while Charade keeps up that comedy undertone for the length of the film, The Truth About Charlie does not. It is almost like they tried it for the first scene and when they saw how bad it was they decided to make a straight mystery/thriller.and interestingly enough, Charade does the mystery/thriller bit better than "Charlie" also.

i get that The Truth About Charlie director, jonathan demme was looking to put his own take on the story and wasn't wanting to do exactly what Charade director stanely donan did. and i can respect that. and demme has done enough quality work to deserve the benifit of the doubt. but it just didn't work. "Charlie" was just a bad script and a borning, not very thrilling mystery.

and i just want to point out that, while this discussion does do much comparing of the two films, even if i had never seen Charade, it wouldn't have mattered in my conclusion about "Charlie." The Truth About Charlie stands out, on its own, as a bad film.

WINNER: better acting, better directing and a better script put Charade on the top step of the podium in this group. picking a winner here is easy. Charade is a good film and The Truth About Charlie isn't!

Comment