Saturday, September 6, 2008

Champagne for Caesar (1950) Film Review - Cinecon 44 Screening

Plot Summary - Screwball comedy starring Ronald Colman as eccentric genius/intellectual snob Beauregard Bottomley, a man who knows everything. When the "Milady Soap" company wants to hire him, during his interview he's a bit too sarcastic about their new product (an all-purpose soap you can wash with, but also clean your teeth with) so the head of the company, Burnbridge Waters (Vincent Price) - once known as "Dirty Waters" - refuses to give him the job. Bottomley decides to ruin the company, by appearing on the cheesy radio/TV quiz show they sponsor, "Masquerade for Money" (you double your money for each trivia question you answer correctly - but get it wrong and you lose it all) - where he hopes to win enough cash to break them, 40,000,000 bucks. Wildly successful (he really does know everything!) he goes on week after week, becoming a hit with audiences around the country - what can the soap company do to stop this guy before he actually does win all their money?! "Dirty" Waters recruits attractive Flame O'Neill (Celeste Holm) to pose as Bottomley's nurse (I forget why he's sick) and seduce him with her charms to try and discover his secret weakness so they can get him to miss a question on the show. Meanwhile, Bottomley's sister gets a crush on the obnoxious host of the show, Happy Hogan (a young Art Linkletter), and starts to date him - - and Bottomley can barely think anymore after a kiss from Flame.

Review - This film is very entertaining and lots of fun to watch. Charming Ronald Colman pretty much steals the film, he's perfection in this part - I love him, I love his speaking voice! Celeste Holm appeared in person at this screening for Q&A after the film was shown - her memory had to be jogged a number of times by her much younger husband, but I found her to be a very interesting guest. The print shown at Cinecon was a very clear, sharp print. By the way, the "Caesar" in this film is Beauregard Bottomley's pet talking parrot (who asks for champagne and says stuff like "let's get loaded") - the guy has a perch for this bird in every room in his house! Rating - 8 to 9/10 stars

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