Charade | 1963
Stanley Donen’s lightweight, romantic thriller, of the kind they can’t seem to make anymore, is set in Paris, where ‘Reggie’ Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) discovers there was far more to her mysterious late husband than she realised, and even more to the enigmatic Peter Joshua (Cary Grant).
The house she finds deserted is 5 avenue Velasquez , at boulevard Malesherbes, alongside Parc Monceau. The building actually houses the Musée Cernuschi, the Parisian museum of Asian arts.
Hepburn and Grant meet up at the marionette show, the Theatre Vrai Guignolet, in the Jardins des Champs Élysées, Rond Point des Champs Élysées, at the junction of avenue Matignon and avenue Gabriel. Amazingly, the show is still going, with afternoon performances on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays (Métro: Franklin D Roosevelt or Champs-Élysées Clémenceau).
The identity of ‘Peter Joshua’ is called into question as Hepburn meets up with CIA agent Bartholomew (Walter Matthau) at the old vegetable market at Les Halles – like London’s Covent Garden, the market has long since moved to a modern new facility outside the city centre – though the Église St Eustache remains.
Suspicious, Reggie tails Peter Joshua – or whoever he is – to the American Express Office, 11 rue Scribe, near the Opera House, where he gets involved in a fight with the sinister Scobie (George Kennedy) on the roof.
Strolling along the Left Bank of the Seine, in front of the Pont au Double, beneath the quai de Montebello, Hepburn and Grant speculate on the identity of the killer, and remark that this is where Gene Kelly danced in An American in Paris (actually, that film was made in the studio in Hollywood), hardly noticing Notre Dame looming above them.
Now for a confession. For a long time, I repeated the often-made mistake that the film’s ‘Hotel St Jacques’ was the real St Jacques on the rue des Écoles near the Sorbonne, despite the fact that the neighbourhood never looked quite right.
In fact, the hotel in which the pair are staying (where Grant famously takes a shower in his suit), is the Hotel Maxim, 28 rue Censier, quite a bit further south, near the Censier Daubenton metro station, but still nowhere near the Saint-Jacques staton, as it appears in the film.
At the other end of rue Censier, a fake ‘Saint-Jacques’ metro sign was erected at the junction with rue de Mirbel.
It’s back at the Jardin des Champs Élysées that Hepburn and Grant keep an appointment and realise the location of the vanished money – as does Tex (James Coburn), who leaps into a cab on avenue Matignon at rue de Ponthieu, closely followed by Grant.
At night, the increasingly suspicious Hepburn is lured to the Colonnade in the Jardin du Palais Royal (Métro: Palais-Royale) for a confrontation with the the real Carson Dyle. Quite a place for mysterious nighttime assignations – Doc meets a contact here in John Schlesinger’s Marathon Man.