Reflecting the European setting of Stanley Donen's 1963 comedy thriller Charade, Henry Mancini's soundtrack provides an easy listening tour of continental musical history: Parisian café songs on "Bistro," Eastern European gypsy music on "Bateau Mouche," Schubert quartets on "Bye Charlie," and some beer barrel polka on "Punch and Judy." Thrown in for variety's sake are dashes of Bond soundtracks, Cossack songs, and Strauss waltzes. With Mancini's typically cohesive approach, though, Charade doesn't become a messy pastiche (even with his mix of Latin rhythms and classical music on some tracks). And in the spirit of inclusiveness, Mancini also shows his south of the border touch on "Mambo Parisienne" (picture Perez Prado sporting an accordion), "Latin Snowfall" (transcendentally gorgeous bolero, one of his best), and "Mégève" (bossa nova for the Biarritz set). Also don't overlook one of his biggest hits and finest melodies, "Charade" (done here in instrumental, vocal, and carousel? versions). A great Mancini recording made during the same fruitful, early-'60s period that produced two other fine soundtracks of his, Breakfast at Tiffany's andThe Pink Panther.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook