SYNOPSIS: A spoiled heiress defies her father by running off to marry her lover. But Daddy has a few tricks up his sleeve. – via IMDB
The second silent film from my Hitchcock film list started up, and here I am still scratching my head over silent movies! I really wish that I could be more positive about this one, I tried it, but I was not a fan.
When I started this I had no idea if I was ever going to figure out what the ever loving hell was going on. There were people everywhere, an odd woman, some severe looking French dude with a hooked nose, a slicked back dude that looks like Jason Segel back in the twenties… and so much silence. Slowly but surely a soft yet ongoing soundtrack builds up in the background, and it occurred to me how important a score must have been back in the day, to accurately assist the audience in drawing their conclusions, identifying with the characters, and following the plot with the relevant emotions.
To say that I was not a fan of Betty (Betty Balfour) is an understatement. I know this was supposed to be a comedy (maybe the times have changed) but I did not see the humour in it at all. I thought her a spoiled, rich, bratty bitch that was so self-centred and shallow it was shocking. She was rude, too.
The relationship between Betty and The Boy (Jean Bradin) ranged from being sweet to wondering why on Earth he was still wasting his time with her and her insolence. There are times that you identify with Betty again (such as when she gets mugged and her father blames her for being silly and having lost her jewels), and sometimes she tries. More often than not, however, you are reminded that she is shallow and nasty, and this is never more so evident than when her and The Boy are chatting. I reiterate, I was not a fan of her character at all, so I suppose most things involving her just were annoying.
I thought that The Man (Theo von Alten) was also creepy as hell, no two ways about it, and I never actually understood the dynamic between him and Betty. I mean it was evident that she was not in love with him, and that she wanted The Boy, yet she was always so thrilled when he made his appearance, confusing me. She wants to be around him, and she had me thinking of a gold digger a lot. The Man was good enough, except when her handsome Boy was around.
I feel so foolish typing about The Boy and The Man and all that, but those are the names that were given, and I suppose they must be used. Betty’s stab at taking a job is admirable, for a bit, and then it is evident that she has no idea what it means to work at all, and she still has the gall to condescend the maître d’hôtel (Marcel Vibert) all the time. Meanwhile, he is the one with a job and sound working knowledge, unlike Betty.
Ultimately Champagne is quite a hollow experience that does not really have a set story, and the bit that is there is rather pointless, to say the least. There are no characters to like, none that you can identify with, and preposterous events. I must say that I didn’t particularly enjoy this outing, it felt rather shallow and was very boring.