Beginning with a murder (before the credits), the film then shows Audrey Hepburn at a ski resort confiding to her friend/co-worker that she’s getting a divorce. Cary Grant appears with the small son of Audrey’s friend in tow – seems the lad has been lobbing snowballs at Baron Rothschild. After the boy has been admonished and has left with his mother, the following wonderful dialogue follows:
Cary: “Do we know each other?”
Audrey: “Why? Do you think we’re going to?”
Cary: “I don’t know. How would I know?”
Audrey: “I already know an awful lot of people, and until one of them dies I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else.”
Cary: “Well, if anyone goes on the critical list, let me know.”
Audrey: “Hmmm. Quitter!”
Cary: “What’s that?”
Audrey: “You give up awfully easily, don’t you?”
So at the outset you know you’re in for suspense, crime, romance, and very clever dialogue.
The film was written by Peter Stone from a story by Peter Stone and Marc Behm, and was directed by the great Stanley Donen. Additional stars are Walter Matthau as a government employee at the embassy who is trying to help, and James Coburn, George Kennedy, and Ned Glass as the killers of Audrey’s husband (the murder at the start). The four of them pulled off a heist in wartime Germany (like the one in the newer version of “Gambit” – review posted January 23, 2015), but Audrey’s husband got back to Europe first, dug up the score, and ran. When they caught up with him he gave nothing away, even under torture. So maybe his wife knows where it is. As for what it is – unimportant. Apparently he sold it, so they are after the money.
In the final analysis this is a film about lies, because everybody is telling them. Even after 51 years this is terrific film-making.