Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Champagne is a comedy about a spoiled girl who is cut-off from her wealth by her rich father, and how she seeks her own fortune. The girl becomes domesticated and finds a job to keep money on the table, with the love of her life remaining steadfastly by her side. This, of course, leads to a suitably upbeat ending.

This might have made a decent two-reeler, but Hitchcock fails to show any of his later flair for scene editing. Neither funny nor particularly dramatic, with a paper thin plot, Champagne has to rely on Hitchcock's visual wit to carry the film, with attractive sets, and pleasant sight gags. An example being a delightful moment set aboard a swaying ship, where a very drunk man walks in a straight line as the ship and everyone else sways violently.

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Sadly, there's barely enough of these moments to fill the feature-length picture. Sure, Hitchcock throws in a nice shot in from time to time, but the movie fails to build up a head of steam, taking more than 30 minutes to tell the viewer the first line of the synopsis.

Moreover, its hard to get over the silent, theatrical and overly exaggerated style of acting - Chaplin and Keaton mastered this through delightful use of signature pantomime, and killer physical comedy respectively.

This early silent Hitch often feels childlike in comparison the practiced and monstrously effective The Man Who Knew Too Much, or his delightfully English comedy thriller, The Lady Vanishes.

Hitchcock in retrospect, believed Champagne to be the lowest ebb in his output - I'm inclined to agree; there's just not enough story or laughs to keep it going. For completists only.

Reviewed on: 27 Feb 2007
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The comedic adventures of a rich girl whose father decides to teachher a lesson. Out to own as part of Hitchcock: The Early Collection.
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Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Writer: Alfred Hitchcock, based on the book by Walter C Mycroft

Starring: Betty Balfour, Gordon Harker, Ferdinand von Alten, Fanny Wright

Year: 1928

Runtime: 86 minutes

Country: UK


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