On Monday's show, Keith Uhlich will be joining me to discuss his life as a cinephile. We also have a conversation regarding Jonathan Demme's The Truth About Charlie, his 2002 remake of Charade. I'm thankful that Keith provided me with his original review of the film, which was then written for Culturedose.com, which became Toxic Universe and then Culture Cartel before it finally shut down. With Keith's permission, I've posted his original review (no longer online) with some very minor revisions by him. He wrote this prelude to the piece:
Clive Barker wrote, "We are our own graveyards; we squat amongst the
tombs of the people we were." The person that authored the words below
is almost ten years gone. I'd like to slap him upside the head for his
oft-clunky phrasing and stiff-necked swagger. But I also see the fire
and spirit (the stalwart belief in humanity, even when confronted with
the worst the species has to offer) that I continue to kindle and
cultivate. Aesthetic and technical embarrassments aside, I'm happy this
little shit-stirrer haunts me still.
—Keith Uhlich, 08/24/2012
Here’s the one this year that got away.
Jonathan Demme’s The
Truth About Charlie is ostensibly a remake of the 1963 Stanley Donen
comedy/thriller Charade and that
alone practically guaranteed the film’s financial failure. Charade is an example, after all, of the perfect Hollywood film:
attractive stars (Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn), ingenious script (by Peter
Stone), memorable setting and atmosphere (using both real and make-believe
Paris locations) all combine for an entertainment that fires on all cylinders.
If that sounds like too mechanistic a metaphor, then perhaps you’ve caught onto
what we might call the weakness of Charade
– it works so perfectly that the pleasures it gives can feel like perfectly
placed manipulations, cogs in the wheel of the Hollywood machine. No matter,
machines can be beautiful too (and Charade
is certainly one of those perfect mechanoids), but it presents a daunting
challenge to the crazy bastard who wants to try his hand at revisiting the
material. The obvious question: Why remake perfection?