- Summary -
Director : Alfred Hitchcock
Year Of Release : 1928
Principal Cast : Betty Balfour, Gordon Harker, Jean Bradin, Ferdinand Von Alten, Fanny Wright. Uncredited Cast: Alexander D’Arcy, Vivian Gibson, Clifford Heatherley, Claude Hulbert.
Approx Running Time : 85 Minutes
Synopsis: A young woman is forced to get a job after her father tells her he’s lost all their money.
What we think : Frothy comedy entry for Hitchcock is just a delight of a thing, a frivolous, undemanding affair that – if one was a cynic – might be considered too lite-weight for the master’s oeuvre. Personally, I found this film a real blast, if not for the characters (who are fairly pedestrian, and only really elevated by the cast’s performances) then for Hitch’s visual flair. Most definitely one of the more amusing silent films I’ve seen.
Pop the cork, folks.
Alfred Hitchcock’s seventh feature as director, co-writing the screenplay based on a story by Walter Mycroft, is ostensibly a comedy – the first of Hitch’s career – marking a departure from the thrillers he’d carved a niche with during the early 20′s. At the time, critics were divided about Champagne’s merits; technical prowess and visual style couldn’t trump an apparent lack of quality story, although exactly what kind of story you’d find in a comedy other than “light and frothy” eludes me. Hitchcock himself was later quoted as saying Champagne was ” [a] film [with] no story to tell”, so even in the eyes of the master it didn’t stack up to some of his later work. The film’s foundation couldn’t have been more solid, with the cast including popular silent film actress Betty Balfour, noted British actor Gordon Harker, and French thespian Jean Bardin, as Betty’s love interest; so what about Champagne could make Hitchcock so dismissive of one of his early directorial efforts?