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MrSpinnert von MrSpinnert, vor 96 Jahren
Champagne (1928)

„Champagne“ is a 1928 silent comedy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The screenplay by  Eliot Stannard and Alfred Hitchcock was based on an original story by writer and critic Walter C. Mycroft.

Heiress Betty Balfour draws the ire of her father after using his aeroplane to fly to meet her boyfriend, who is aboard an ocean liner headed to France. Betty’s boyfriend becomes seasick, so she must attend dinner alone, where she meets a mysterious man. She receives a telegram from her disapproving father, who warns that her boyfriend will not be admired by her friends. To prove her father wrong, she asks her boyfriend to marry her. However, he resents her control of their relationship, and they quarrel and part company.
The boyfriend regrets the fight and locates Betty to apologise, but he finds her playing chess with the mysterious man. The boyfriend and Betty quarrel again. Betty’s father arrives and informs her that the family fortune from the champagne business has been lost. When the boyfriend leaves after hearing the news, Betty’s father believes it to be proof that the boyfriend is only interested in her money.

In France, Betty is robbed of her jewellery and is penniless. She and her father take a small, dilapidated apartment. Her boyfriend again attempts to reconcile with her, but she rebukes him and vows to find a job.

Betty finds work at an upmarket restaurant. The mysterious man appears and invites her to his table. When her boyfriend arrives, the man leaves after handing her a note advising her to call him if she ever needs help. The boyfriend disapproves of Betty’s job and departs after Betty dances wildly in order to provoke him.
The boyfriend soon returns with Betty’s father, who is outraged about the lowly job and confesses that he had lied about the loss of their fortune in order to teach her a lesson. Angry with both men, she contacts the mysterious man, who offers to take her back to America. Betty accepts but is later horrified to discover that she has been locked in her cabin. She imagines the worst about the mysterious man’s intentions and is relieved when her boyfriend arrives and releases her, and they soon reconcile.
The boyfriend hides in the bathroom when they hear the mysterious man approaching. He enters with Betty’s father, who confesses that he had hired the man to follow and protect her. The boyfriend is furious and, misunderstanding the situation, bursts from his hiding place to attack the man. Betty’s father calms the boyfriend by telling him that he no longer disapproves of their wedding. The reunited couple begin to discuss the wedding but soon bicker over the arrangements.

A 1928 British Black & White silent comedy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, produced by John Maxwell, screenplay by Hitchcock and Eliot Stannard, based on an original story by writer and critic Walter C. Mycroft, cinematography by Jack E. Cox, starring Betty Balfour, Gordon Harker, Jean Bradin, and Ferdinand von Alten. Screen debut appearance of Phyllis Konstam.

Silent star Betty Balfour was known as Britain’s Mary Pickford, Britain’s Most Popular Actress of the 1920s, a much bigger name than Hitchcock, from a series of popular comedies centered around „Squibs“, a Piccadilly flower seller.

This movie included the first freeze-frame shot.

Alfred Hitchcock’s second comedy following the success of „The Farmer’s Wife“ (1928), was poorly received. Although his expanding visual technique continued to draw recognition and praise, critics lamented the film’s lack of an engaging plot.

Variety, although impressed with the technical aspects, was dismissive of the film, „The story is of the weakest, an excuse for covering 7,000 feet of harmless celluloid with legs and close-ups.“

Sir Alfred Hitchcock later voiced his unhappiness with the film in François Truffaut’s book-length interview Hitchcock/Truffaut,saying the film had no story to tell. In a press conference for „Family Plot“ (1976), he revealed that this movie is his least favorite of all he had made.

This was a case of a film where the title and star were decided upon in advance, and then a scenario had to be constructed around them. Hitchcock’s original plan was for a rags-to-riches-to rags plot (as opposed to the riches-to-rags-to-riches version ultimately used) in which a girl working at a rural champagne plant would go up to Paris and see for herself how the drink fueled dissipated night-life, only to return disgusted to her poor but honest job. However, it was felt that the great British public would much prefer to see glamour celebrated on the screen rather than have their illusions popped, as cinema was an escapist medium for those whose life was hard, and so a completely different scenario was developed.

Like most of Hitchcock’s early films, this is not a typical „Hitchcock“ production. There’s not much of a plot to this film and is of interest to those who enjoy films of the era rather than to those who are looking for traces of „The Master of Suspense“. The visuals make the movie fun to watch, with attractive sets, good sight gags, and interesting detail. Betty Balfour is just such a cutie, and makes this certainly worth a peek.


  • Betty Balfour – The Girl
  • Jean Bradin – The Boy
  • Ferdinand von Alten – The Man
  • Gordon Harker – The Father
  • Claude Hulbert – Club Guest
  • Hannah Jones – Club Servant
  • Marcel Vibert – Maitre d’Hotel
  • Clifford Heatherley – The Manager
  • Jack Trevor – The Officer
  • Alexander D’Arcy
  • Vivian Gibson
  • Phyllis Konstam
  • Gwen Mannering
  • Balliol and Merton
  • Sunday Wilshin
  • Fanny Wright

„Champagne“ ist eine Stummfilmkomödie aus dem Jahr 1928 unter der Regie von Alfred Hitchcock. Das Drehbuch von Eliot Stannard und Alfred Hitchcock basierte auf einer Originalgeschichte des Schriftstellers und Kritikers Walter C. Mycroft.

Die Erbin Betty Balfour zieht den Zorn ihres Vaters auf sich, nachdem sie mit seinem Flugzeug zu ihrem Freund geflogen ist, der sich an Bord eines Ozeandampfers auf dem Weg nach Frankreich befindet. Bettys Freund wird seekrank, so dass sie allein zum Abendessen gehen muss, wo sie einen geheimnisvollen Mann trifft. Sie erhält ein Telegramm von ihrem missbilligenden Vater, der sie davor warnt, dass ihr Freund von ihren Freunden nicht bewundert wird. Um ihrem Vater das Gegenteil zu beweisen, bittet sie ihren Freund, sie zu heiraten. Er nimmt es ihr jedoch übel, dass sie ihre Beziehung kontrolliert, und sie streiten sich und trennen sich.
Der Freund bedauert den Streit und sucht Betty auf, um sich zu entschuldigen, aber er findet sie beim Schachspielen mit dem geheimnisvollen Mann. Der Freund und Betty streiten sich erneut. Bettys Vater taucht auf und teilt ihr mit, dass das Familienvermögen aus dem Champagnergeschäft verloren ist. Als der Freund nach dieser Nachricht abreist, hält Bettys Vater dies für einen Beweis dafür, dass der Freund nur an ihrem Geld interessiert ist.