"For those of you used to Hitchcock mysteries, whodunits and what nots, this VERY early work will come as a big surprise. But it's not surprise that this is quite the feast for the eyes, and quite amazing to watch for it's technical details.
The plot is simple, but yet detailed. A rich socialite daughter elopes with the man she wants to marry (with quite an amazing entrance with the female character), they flee to Paris, where she finds out her rich daddy is rich no more, and suddenly, she must face the glamourous 1920's world from a very different perspective..
Hitchcock fills the screen with a lot of details in this one, and one quite marvels at all the amazing camerawork going on. The special effects and finally the COSTUMES (!) are quite incredible as well. A cool movie!"
Rewatched this again today... my enthusiasm for this has died down somewhat, The print I saw today might have been edited, I seem to recall a trapeze scene in the beginning. Maybe that marred my enjoyment this time out....waiting for that trapeze...
The film is more fun than one might expect, not unlike many other silent comedies, even those as comically underwhelming as this one, but this is still a silent film, and there's only so much that be done to draw narrative intrigue through a lack of vocal humanity, and it doesn't help that Alfred Hitchcock's and Eliot Sanard's script neither keeps all that consistent in dialogue worth advertising via intertitle, nor, if you will, "tells" you all that much about its characters. Both a fluff piece and a simplistic silent opus, this film should by no means be all that terribly interested in fleshing out its narrative and characters, but there's something about the developmental aspects of this film that is a little too lacking, being all but deprived of immediate background, and offering little in the way of gradual exposition. The film is perhaps a little too underdeveloped with its characters, and that's distancing enough, but the film is perhaps most distancing when it does the opposite of brushing over storytelling and drags its feet with meandering material that, for all the lively spots, blands up something fierce before too long. The film is either entertaining or, well, rather dull, and that is really determined by the humor, which is often flat, or at least dated, to the point of feeling nonexistent for long stretches of time in a film that cannot afford to lose momentum to its fluff if it's to be driven so much by it. Yes, people, at the end of the day, the fluff is what really waters down this affair, which was never to be as fine as the champagne it promotes, due to the sheer thinness of a story concept that thrives on light fun that the execution can't always provide. The film ultimately does enough with little to do its job as a classic piece of light entertainment serviceably, yet the story is so thin, and it's execution is perhaps just as much so, thus, the final product runs the risk of falling to mediocrity. It's just too light for its own good, and yet, it's not so empty that it doesn't prove to be reasonably fun in a lot of ways, falling flat in certain areas, and keeping you going in others, including areas of production value.
Wilf Arnold's potential as art director are pretty substantially limited in this minimalist affair, yet, as a portrait of the rich, this film still holds a fair bit of potential as eye candy that set designer Michael Powell explores reasonably well with his tastes in fine scenery, which is itself explored reasonably well with Jack E. Cox's tastes in cinematography. Dated in most every areas, including technical value, this film doesn't look especially good, especially considering that, with an abandonment of thriller and drama stories, Alfred Hitchcock abandons much of his distinctive plays with lighting and framing to visual style, but there's still enough scope and polish to Cox's lensing to help draw you into the film. Visual style, however lacking, plays a relatively hefty role in sustaining your attention through all of those bland challenges, yet it alone cannot save the engagement value of this underdeveloped, unevenly structured and altogether narratively thin silent movie. No, what can make or break this effort is Hitchcock's and Eliot Stannard's script, which, of course, makes plenty of mistakes along the way, undercooking certain aspects, and meandering with its handling of others, while, dare I say, falling flat with its humor in so many places, and yet, on the whole, this is a clever and often genuinely amusing interpretation of Walter C. Mycroft's story idea, complete with, well, figuratively colorful characters. No matter how lacking in their development, the characters are about as memorable as anything in this forgettable film, and for this, we have to thank the lively and admittedly rarely over-the-top performances, just as we have to thank a certain offscreen performance for its portrayal of the rest of the storytelling aspects. Hitchcock, as director, gave this film the business in retrospect, and quite frankly, you can't help but feel as though there's something lacking in the inspiration behind this film, yet not so lacking that Hitchcock doesn't deliver on enough stylish shots and some tightness to pacing to subtly, but surely, keep you going. Subtle touches can go a long way in this very sensitive project, and I can't promise that they'll be palpable enough to many for the final product to stand beyond mediocrity, but the patient are sure to have some fair fun to meet every bland spell, of which there are many, quite frankly.
When the party is over, the distancing quietness and thin story concept, executed with flatness to development, pacing and certain humor, threaten the final product with mediocrity, overcome by the good-looking production designs and cinematography, clever writing, and decent acting and direction which make Alfred Hitchcock's "Champagne" a reasonably entertaining, if flat comic twist for a legend in dramatic filmmaking.
2.5/5 - Fair
"Wall Street took advantage of my absence."-The Father (Gordon Harker)
I have to say that, this film is my least favorite Hitchcock outing.
It's a fun set up, but honestly, this film is quite forgettable. The picture and sound quality are so-so, but, but it's the execution where this film drags. And it is just that: a drag. This sould be fun, but it's atually rather boring and underwhelming. It's an odd curiousity piece, and probably the only film I know of that involves a man who made his fortune in the champagne business, but, aside from some really good music and being decently shotm this film is rather blah, and doesn't have a whole lot to offer.
See it if you feel you must, but don't expect anything great or even really all that eye catching or memorable.
Assisti na Mostra Hitchcock em 2011 no CCBB