Champagne (1928)

Alfred Hitchcock directs the fizzy tale of a millionaire who pretends to lose his fortune to teach his wayward daughter a lesson.

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Alfred Hitchcock’s second release of 1928 is an uncharacteristically slight comedy about a millionaire’s decision to put an end to his frivolous daughter’s engagement with an unsuitable suitor by feigning bankruptcy.

Not a favourite with its director, who thought it “probably the lowest ebb in my output”, Champagne nevertheless contains many flashes of Hitchcock brilliance, with witty shots through a champagne glass and a disturbing sequence in which the feckless heroine (Betty Balfour) imagines herself sexually assaulted by the man who (as it ultimately emerges) has been employed by her father to spy on her. The deftly observed voyeurism by this and other characters is another emblematic Hitchcock touch.

Betty Balfour was a successful British actress who appeared in many silent comedies, including the popular ‘Squibs’ series, in which featured as a Cockney flower girl, and The Vagabond Queen (1929) as a fake princess.

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