[Monsieur Felix's Plot]
"Charade" is the 1963 murder-for-money movie with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. In it Mrs. Lampert's hubby is killed,
and his ill-gotten money is missing. I found a copy of the movie script and borrowed the video from the library. I
thought I would try to identify the stamps that Monsieur Felix shows to Mrs. Lampert, but that, too, was how should we say,
In the film, stamp dealer Monsieur Felix discusses three stamps. The first is an orange Swedish four skilling issued
in 1854, worth a cool $85,000 American in 1963-dollars, when a buck was a buck and a cigar was a good smoke. The second
stamp is a three cent Hawaiian Blue of 1894 (actually blue printed on white paper) whose previous owner was murdered. It
is worth said to be worth $65,000.
Felix saves the best for last and proclaims the famous "Gazette Moldav," a square piece of colored paper printed with a
circle of Cyrillic letters and bearing the initials of the printer, as the world's most valuable stamp. It looks like
a real doctored Moldavian. Value: $100,000. But how he strayed from the script.
In the script Felix describes four stamps. The first he says is a red two cent Maurtius that is worth $30,000. Our
heroine Audrey thinks it's orange, but offers no estimate of value. The second stamp Felix calls the "1894 Hawaiian
Blue." It is, he says, one of seven and has a history of murder amoung its collectors. Cost: $45,000. The next
is a four skilling, yellow Swedish issue from 1854 worth then-$65,000 with a clean record. Finally, the Grail of all
stamps is the handprinted green "Gazette Guyanne" of 1852, fetching $100,000 at its last transaction.
Felix was fast and loose with the facts and changed his story to suit the occasion. Charade, indeed. "Charade
Part Two" will have to deal with that missing fourth stamp because there's a good chance Monsieur Felix was not a dealer but
an "imposteur." [MM note: "imposteur" is the French]