Zoom Salon - Charade (1963) 113 min | Mechanics' Institute

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Zoom Salon - Charade (1963) 113 min
December 2020: CinemaLit Season Finale

CinemaLit Popcorn Pop-Up Salon: December -- Season Finale

Hello Film Lovers,

Welcome back to CinemaLit! We have missed our Friday night gatherings. Laura, Pam, and I are excited to launch this new format for CinemaLit as we Shelter at Home. We will be viewing films on Kanopy and gathering online for a Popcorn Pop-Up Salon!

All you will need is either a Mechanics' Institute library card, or a San Francisco Public Library card, which will give you access to Kanopy and its treasure trove of movies. Make a reservation as usual via Eventbrite and watch the film on Kanopy at your leisure. You will receive a link to the Friday night CinemaLit salon on Zoom two days in advance. On the night of the salon click the Zoom link and join us.

If you do not receive a Zoom Link by the day of the event, contact Pam Troy at [email protected]


Mechanics’ Institute members can now sign up for FREE access to Kanopy, a wonderful film streaming service. To sign up:

1. Click on  THIS LINK.

2. Click on the large orange login button that reads, “Log in to milibrary.”

3. Enter the 14-digit bar code from your MI Library card

4. Set up your account following Kanopy’s instructions, including your email and a password.

5. Kanopy will send verification to your email address.

You’ll be able to choose from a wonderful selection of films, including classics, pre-code, foreign films, and documentaries, including the films we’ve scheduled this month for CinemaLit.

If you are not a Mechanics’ Institute member, consider membership and click  HERE  to join online:

Or, you can check with your public library to see if they are Kanopy members. If so, you may use your public library card to set up a Kanopy account.

 Matthew Kennedy, curator and host

CinemaLit Film Series

December 2020 – Season Finale

December 4 – Charade (1963) 113 min

Charade has a lot going for it. Its a deft blend of comedy, drama, romance, and suspense. It has a jaunty Alfred Hitchcock meets James Bond vibe to it. The laughs and chills come in fairly equal measure. It's briskly paced and luxuriously filmed in multiple posh European locations. We're even treated to a lilting Oscar nominated Henry Mancini-Johnny Mercer waltz heard over one of those colorful animated credit sequences so popular in the 1960s. But for all these assets, Charade is foremost a crackerjack vehicle for two of the most beloved film stars of all time – Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.

Charade wastes no time getting us involved. A man is murdered and tossed from a train. It just so happens he's Audrey's husband. He knew where a stash of gold was kept, and several unsavory types think she knows, too. She doesn't. Cary comes to her rescue, but can he be trusted?

Hepburn was very busy in the early 1960s, fitting Charade between Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady. Grant was twenty-five years her senior. Such was the pattern for both of them – Hepburn paired with older men, Grant paired with younger women. Grant was increasingly self-conscious about his age, with the relative youth of his costars becoming a common subject in show business press. He made just two more films after Charade before retiring.

Their divergent chronology isn't greatly distracting. Director Stanley Donen and screenwriter Peter Stone mitigated any May-September awkwardness by making Hepburn's character sexually aggressive, while Grant gives her and us his patented suave ambiguity. It's one of many wise choices the filmmakers made that keep Charade fresh and fun. And anyway – how can you go wrong with those two?

Watch our January listings for a month of silent epics and comedies!


Matthew Kennedy, CinemaLit’s curator, has written biographies of Marie Dressler, Joan Blondell, and Edmund Goulding. His book Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s, was the basis of a film series on Turner Classic Movies. 

I don't have a favorite film,” Matthew says. "I find that my relationships to films, actors, genres, and directors change as I change over the years. Some don't hold up. Some look more profound, as though I've caught up with their artistry. I feel that way about Garbo, Cary Grant, director John Cassavetes, and others."

Classic films have historical context, something only time can provide,” Matt observes. “They become these great cultural artifacts, so revealing of tastes, attitudes, and assumptions.”

Register with Eventbrite below.

If the green TICKET button is not immediately visible, scroll down on the right in the Eventbrite window until it appears


CinemaLit Films

Members Free
Public Sliding Scale Free to $10
Register now ›
Pam Troy - 415-393-0116
Register now by using the form below or calling .

Future CinemaLit Films

Jan 29 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Modern Times (1936) – 88 minutes
January 2021 CinemaLit: Golden Silents

Feb 5 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Lorraine Hansberry Sighted Eyes / Feeling Heart (2017) – 117 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2

Feb 12 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Anita Speaking Truth to Power (2013) – 77 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2

Feb 19 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Moonlight (2016) – 111 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2

Feb 26 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Miss Juneteenth (2020) – 100 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2

Mar 5 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Heat and Dust (1983) – 130 minutes
March 2021 CinemaLit: Merchant Ivory from Page to Screen