25 May 2001 | Snow Leopard
Light & Bubbly
One of Alfred Hitchcock's silent-film comedies, "Champagne" is good light, bubbly entertainment, much as the title might suggest. It is very interesting to see the future Master of Suspense at work with such different material, and it's a good little film in its own right.
The story-line is very simple: a spoiled rich girl defies her powerful father to meet her boyfriend, and her father, convinced that the boyfriend is only a fortune hunter, resorts to a variety of tactics to try to break off the relationship. Meanwhile, everywhere the girl goes, the same mysterious stranger seems to pop up.
It's not much of a plot, but Hitchcock does some nice things with it. The visuals make the movie fun to watch - attractive sets, good sight gags, interesting detail. As the rich daughter, Betty Balfour is charming and is especially good in a couple of scenes where her character has to perform some unfamiliar tasks. Gordon Harker is, as always, quite funny as the father. His timing works nicely with Hitchcock's pacing.
Hitchcock's dry British wit made most of his silent comedies very pleasurable to watch. If you admire Hitchcock, or if you enjoy silent films, treat yourself to some "Champagne".