Hitchcock-a-thon: Champagne (1928)


“So…what happened in this movie again?”

I found myself asking this less than half an hour after watching Champagne. Hitchcock later wrote off the film as one of the worst in his whole career. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s actively awful, but it’s a total snoozefest.

The ever feisty Betty Balfour plays a spoiled rich young woman who, in the opening scene, crashes her father’s plane in the Atlantic Ocean just to get to a boat party. Tony Stark would be proud. This time she’s pushed paternal dependence to the limit and her millionaire Dad (played by Gordon Harker in his third and final collaboration with Hitch) pretends he’s gone bankrupt in order to teach her a lesson about responsibility.



And….uh…other stuff happens, I guess. I dunno, it’s hard to remember.


There’s the first ever freeze-frame in cinema. That’s pretty cool.

Um. What else…?

I will say that Balfour makes for an exceptionally fun protagonist, exhibiting her chirpy sense of humour with plenty of cheeky side glances. Even in the early stages where she’s careless and inconsiderate she still seems like she’d be a blast to have at a party. And when she learns her of her family’s “bankruptcy” her immediate reaction is to go out to sell all her jewellery and try to get a job. No moping or whining or complaining – just enthusiasm.


While other folk try to look down her top

In a way, this works to the film’s disadvantage. I didn’t care whether or not she “learned her lesson” by the end because, to be honest, I always enjoyed Balfour’s company right from the start. Hell, at least she knows how to have a good time.

The same can’t be said of her disapproving boyfriend played Jean Bradin. Like all other characters in the film, he’s not given a name but I’ve taken the liberty of calling Blandy McKilljoy.

As for the rest of the cast, Gordon Harker is passably funny now he’s, thank God, toned things down since The Farmer’s Wife. And there’s a pompous club manager who looks like a cross between the Go Compare guy and a convicted sex criminal.


Go Compare my balls

And there’s also…um…

Which movie was I talking about?


One thought on “Hitchcock-a-thon: Champagne (1928)

  1. Pingback: Hitchcock-a-thon: Final thoughts | Folding Seats

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