Thursday, September 28, 2006

Champagne (1928)

Hitchcock! Hitchcock! Hitchcock!
I don't care how forward thinking you are, she's a loose goose in any era...

Genre: Silent Comedy Drama (UK)

Starring: Betty Balfour, Gordon Harker (The Ring)

Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock (The Lady Vanishes, Notorious)

Overview: When a spoiled rich girl learns that her father's money has all been lost, her life undergoes some humbling changes.

Acting: Here's the thing, they all did a great job. She was dramatic in her displays of a gaudy bon-vivant, her more reserved fiancee went nigh-stoic when she embarrassed him, the Maitre d'Hotel was AS lascivious (if not moreso) than the creepy suitor (seen below). Obviously, this is what Hitchcock focused on, because the characters performed very well. But it's hard to save a sinking ship...
Rating: 8

Cinematography: Back in the day, I only notice editing when it was great, until now. Now I see how a film can be ruined by the all-too-long take. This is almost worthy of watching as a lesson of what NOT to do. Close-ups go on forever, showing unnecessary nuances of emotion, walking shots drag on, even the witty little shot of the waiters swaying back and forth in the dining room of a cruise ship went all the way to that "Yeah I get it" moment. As for the good shots and interesting angles Hitchcock is known for, clearly this was either a project he didn't care about, or had no creative control over. The worst thus far...
Rating: 5

Script: Either this was made by illiterates or avant-gardists, because this borders on the malignant. All they needed was a few more explanatory intertitles but no, they leave it all the way out there, not properly explaining what going on on-screen. Infer all you like. If you ask me it's a story about a drunk who goes around interpretive-dancing her opinion of people... or something.
Rating: 3

Plot: You know what the best part of a comedy is? When it's funny. I sat there and from time to time would laugh uproariously at the fact that there was absolutely nothing humourous happening. The funniest part was when she hugs her man and he leaves, her flour-covered hands leaving palmprints on the back of his suit. Ohh HO HO HO BAHAHAHAH UPROARIOUS. It should have been called a drama with a few funny moments. Either way it's a terrible film with a teeny twist that is so not worth the trip.
Rating: 4

Mood: We popped this into the DVD and what's the first thing we hear but incredibly morose music, the most inappropriate soundtrack ever for a comedy. After a few minutes, we turned it off, the awful sound being part of the reason. I took it to my place and continued to experiment with a more apt sound, leaving it on mute. As expected, it made the experience far greater. It's nice to know that the user has to be left making the effort to fix a film's score. That makes me feel real special. The film's mood was so vague to me that I had no idea what some scenes were getting at. I think it loses something in my 2006 interpretation of the 1928 social scene.
Rating: 4

*Chanting the Character's mantra* "Lascivious, lasciviously, lasciviouser, lasciviousness, lasciviousism..."

Overall Rating: 48% (Ouch! There's A Hitch In This Cock!)

Aftertaste: To quote like the two flaming queens as they reviewed films in "In Living Colour":

Hated it!

(Avoid this like the plague)