Saturday, May 12, 2012

Random Hitchcock: Champagne (1928)

Even in the twenties silent era, Hitchcock had already developed a penchant for screenplays that were adapted from full length novels.  He was definitely a director who was ready for sound in motion pictures.  Take this film for example, if you compare it to a silent giant of the same time period...let's say Murnau's Sunrise (the film that arguably took home the first Oscar for best picture)--OK, there is a towering difference!  But director's like Murnau were never really prepared artistically for the dawn of the talkie...Hitchcock was anticipating it with the truly straight narrative style of his silent screenplays.  Of course, there were plenty of silent films that took on novels as screenplay sources.  Probably the most famous from this time period was The Great Gatsby (1926), which is famously lost; but these were really famous novels, not just projects that a director or early film producer took a personal shine to.  It should be noted that Hitchcock was one the very first directors to bring playwright Noel Coward's work to the silver screen.  That film Easy Virtue was the film Hitch made just before Champagne.   This screenplay was adaptation that Hictchcock did himself, with assistant writer(s), from the novel of the same name by Walter C. Mycroft.  Generally speaking it's another marriage plot with economic moral hazard thrown in.  It's Riches to Rags.  A wealthy heiress elopes and a great flapper fling, European style of course, only to meet up with her father and find out that all the money is gone....Oh Dear!!  There is some truly inspired camera work in this one.

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