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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

Charade (1963)

Full disclosure: Charade was the third choice of the random number generator this week but the first two choices were not Valentine's Day fare, and I was excited to share this one with my fella. He'd never seen it and he still hasn't. Ah well.


We had this on a dusty, rarely visited VHS in my childhood. When I asked about it, my mom told me I wouldn't like it. Then, in one of my stunning displays of teenage rebellion, I watched that VHS. (Yeah, I know. WILD.) And I loved it. The briefest synopsis for those who have yet to see it (without giving it away): Audrey Hepburn's husband was murdered. Whodunnit? Cary Grant is a hilarious fox. Co-stars include Walter Matthau and baby James Coburn. I urge you to watch it uninformed. There are some really solid twists.


Watching it now, I realize that it set up a lot of my expectations of romance, mostly for banter. Something I didn't pick up on as a teenager was Audrey Hepburn's character, Regina, having a remarkable amount of sexual agency. She goes hard for a 59(!!!) year old Carey Grant and really who can blame her? A glance at IMDB (to peep at the age difference) tells me that Hepburn's trademark is playing "Charming characters who try to wear their troubles lightly" which... gosh if that isn't life goals. I'm always so entranced by her - who isn't - but her ability to use her delicate, lovely features for riotous comedy makes me love her all the more.


But while we speaking of face pulling. This guy.

The scene in the shower. The game with the orange (that I really want to play but don't want anybody that close to me especially in a pandemic). He's hysterical.


I like my banter like I like my wine. Dry. Dryyyyyyyy. I've always loved the banter in this movie but I don't think I appreciated before just how dry it is. And how speedy. Sadly, the audio on my DVD (something I know I got out of a bargain bin in the early 2000s) is crap and there's no subtitle option so I missed some of it. This might be worth an upgrade.


I need every single coat Audrey wears in this movie. Yesterday. And I need to master that eye liner and the French twist.


But my favorite, FAVORITE part of this movie is the score. Long before I saw the movie, I had a collection of Henry Mancini scores on cassette and Charade was my favorite by far. The wood block. The bass. The sweeping strings when they finally arrive. The carrousel arrangement. Those cassettes were my gateway into film score nerdery and I would give a lot to hug that little girl building worlds in her head to the scores of movies she's never seen.


I took a big risk this week! Did it pay off? (yes.)


Digital (!!!!!).

Detail shot.

I did my first digital art!!! Takeaways:

-I tried doing this by hand in scale to start and woof. I've wanted an excuse to try Procreate (my WACOM and I do not get along) and this seemed like the perfect time.

-Hey Mikey, she likes it! I always thought that digital was cheating somehow or easier (shame on me) but I know now that is not the case. I was also scared to death of it (because if it's easy and I suck well then....and therein lies the real reason I turned up my snoot). But working for a university has its advantages and I was able to check out an iPad from the library and give it a shot. I've seen a number of costume designers making the leap to digital, specifically using Procreate, so why not? I had a steeeeeep learning curve but by the time I did the second stamp, it took me a fraction of the time.

-That being said, I did Cary second and I like his less. I think I had some happy accidents with Audrey that I couldn't recreate and now I just need to find the balance.

-I'm a font nerd and I need to invest in better fonts.

-Stay tuned for a kickstarter to get me an iPad. (I'm kidding. Kind of.)

-I don't think this will be my default but I'm going to try some costume renderings with it and see if it is something that's worth investing in.

-I was worried I'd lose my hand/style in doing it digitally but I'm (surprisingly) happy to see myself in the work. (I'm usually annoyed to see my hand in my work. Why can't it look like someone else's work? Silly, Shannon. Silly.)

-Something about the digital style does charmingly remind me of my brilliant friends, Steve and Evan, and their delightful art.

-I look forward to trying things with textures and aging and all that. But for a first go, not too shabby.

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ajkahnke
18 feb 2021

Love! Love! Love! And let us never speak of “The Truth About Charlie,” but always keep Thandie Newton in our thoughts.

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