The titles for Charade were designed by Maurice Binder, the man behind the famous James Bond gun barrel openers. Binder had never done titles before director Stanley Donen liked the newspaper ads he was making for him and asked him to do the titles for Indiscreet in 1958.
The sequence is a classic specimen of mid-century modern graphics and animation from the golden age of film titling. Thanks to Depression Press for snapping these stills and to aprilfool301 for posting the clip on YouTube. Watch it below.
The opening scene delights just as much as the title sequence, with some ridiculously charming back-and-forth between Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, set at a magnificent modern ski resort in the French Alps (Megève, Haute-Savoie), complete with swimming pool and deck dining. In the Criterion commentary, Donan says that the location was a brand new luxury hotel by the Rothschilds that hadn’t yet opened at the time of filming, but didn’t mention the name. A clue: on the wall in one of the shots is a seal for Mt. d’Arbois. I wonder if the building shown in the film still exists.
Update: Reader Charles Slate writes to inform everyone with Comcast Cable “On Demand” that Charade is available for free from the service. You can also watch it instantly on Amazon, iTunes and Netflix, so there’s no excuse not to see it soon.
Also, IMDB claims that Charade is in the public domain because there was no then-required copyright notice in the released print. True? Does that mean I can sell my own DVD of the film with my brilliant commentary on modern Parisian architecture and Audrey’s wardrobe?