CHAMPAGNE

ALFRED HITCHCOCK

‘Frothy’ and ‘bubbly’ are the appropriate adjectives for this comedy, a vehicle for Betty Balfour, major British star of the late 1920s and a powerful icon of female energy and assertiveness. Here she plays an aviatrix who defies her wealthy father and elopes to Paris, where extensive nightclub scenes justify the film’s title.

Hitchcock himself tended to dismiss Champagne, along with other late silents made when the conversion to sound was already imminent; taken on its own terms, it emerges as one of the films most worth rescuing from obscurity. Written by his expert early collaborator Eliot Stannard, it has a complex Oedipal ‘family plot’ structure, laid out in one of the most brilliant of all Hitchcock’s opening sequences – an endorsement of his credo that “the silent cinema was the purest form of cinema.”

This screening will feature live musical accompaniment by pianist Saramai Leech.

A restoration by the BFI National Archive in association with STUDIOCANAL.

This film is screening as part of The Genius of Hitchcock: Part Three (February 2nd – 27th), which is part of a complete retrospective of the filmmaker’s work running until March 2013.

 

105 minutes, U.K., 1928, Silent, Black and White, D-Cinema

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