09/01/2015  
The Surface on DVD, VOD, and DIGITAL HD Sep 1Good Kill on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 1The Goldbergs: The Complete Season Two on DVD Sep 8Catching Faith on DVD Aug 181931 The Front Page on Blu-ray & DVD Aug 11Madama Bovary on DVD & Blu-ray Aug 4Rookie Blue: Season Five, Volume One on DVD Aug 18

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

The Surface on DVD, VOD, and DIGITAL HD Sep 1...
VMAs 2015: Behind Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj's Onstage...
You have to see BFFs JLaw and Amy Schumer dance on top ...
Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani Shine Together on Red Carpe...
VMAs producer: Miley Cyrus has 'free rein,' no rules fo...
Taylor Swift's 'musical crush' Justin Timberlake helps ...
Taylor Swift and Alanis Morissette slayed 'You Oughta K...
Amy Schumer's advice for the new 'Bachelor'...
Jared Fogle reaches plea agreement in porn case ...
Shannen Doherty reveals breast cancer diagnosis in laws...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Image Entertainment presents
Champagne for Caesar (1950)

"We have a Frankenstein on our hands, and a very well-informed Frankenstein. He must be stopped!"
- Burnbridge Waters (Vincent Price)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: February 26, 2003

Stars: Ronald Colman, Celeste Holm, Vincent Price, Art Linkletter
Other Stars: Barbara Britton, Mel Blanc, Gabriel Heatter, George Fisher, Ellie Marshall
Director: Richard B. Whorf

Manufacturer: deluxe
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:39m:27s
Release Date: December 17, 2002
UPC: 014381870428
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A-B-C+ D

DVD Review

With the recent success of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, quiz shows made a brief resurgence recently. Of course, it was nowhere near the scale of the successes of the many game shows of the early 1950s before the scandals depicted in Quiz Show were disclosed. In the more innocent year of 1950, there was still quite a lot of luster on programs such as Twenty-One and The 64 Dollar Question. Champagne for Caesar not only pokes fun at these shows, but also the effect of television, already recognized even then as contributing to a general lowering of American intelligence.

Beauregard Bottomley (Ronald Colman) is a well-read egghead who knows just about everything. Unfortunately, this makes him rather unemployable since no one wants to be around someone who knows everything. His attempts to obtain a position at Milady Soap are torpedoed when he inadvertently offends the president, Burnbridge Waters (Vincent Price). Beauregard decides to get himself onto a quiz program sponsored by Milady Soap where every question allows the money to be doubled. But Beauregard won't be stopped by the $160 limit and gets the viewing public on his side to keep playing...until the entire $40 million value of Milady Soap is on the line. Of course, Waters can't allow this and stoops to any number of stratagems to find a weakness in Beauregard's armor, including having the host Happy Hogan (Art Linkletter) seduce Beauregard's sister Gwenn (Barbara Britton) and sending the heartless but equally smart maneater Flame O'Neil (Celeste Holm) after Beauregard himself.

Colman is in a rather different role here than his usual dashing hero, playing quite against type and thereby increasing the gentle humor of the piece. Linkletter plays the role of host rather more broadly, but it isn't inappropriate considering the rather buffoonish nature of his character as the host. Mel Blanc is also entertaining as the obnoxious parrot Caesar of the title, who seems to have a drinking problem. But the real star of the proceedings is Vincent Price, who finally moves out of heavy and serious leads to play the comic foil and gives a gem of a performance. He steals the show whenever his utterly weird Waters (who is given to going to another plane without notice), especially as he begins to crack when Bottomley wins more and more from week to week. He also demonstrates some of the evil flair that would eventually get him into roles as horror villains in a few years with House of Wax.

The comedy is whimsical rather than broad, but the piece moves along briskly enough, even when it pauses for romance. The romantic interest is helped immeasurably by the picture generally demonstrating an utterly cynical attitude. One also sees Hollywood beginning to see the threat that television presented to its well-being, and the satire against the tube is none too gentle. Dmitri Tiomkin contributes a fun score that feels like an amalgam of television theme songs.

There seems to be a segment missing here, though whether it was cut at release I'm not sure. At one point, Price's suit is drenched, but there's nothing indicated to cause it. The still gallery reveals that at some point suds were dumped on him. It's possible that this was considered too slapstick, but I'm afraid I don't know the film well enough to know for certain. In any event, this is a great classic comedy, and anyone who ever felt herself good at Trivial Pursuit® will enjoy seeing a quiz winner treated as an American hero.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The original full-frame picture generally looks pretty good; the source print seems to have hardly any damage for most of its running time, though there is one extremely scabrous spot at 01h:07m where it looks as if the picture has been scraped off. Shadow detail is rather lacking, with dark areas being a solid black. There is also a bit of shimmer present particularly on Colman's tweed jacket. A decent range of greyscale is present, though, making the whole acceptable if not stellar.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 mono is rather noisy, with a fair amount of crackle and hiss present. There's also a slight electronic buzz that I often found irritating, though it wasn't so bad as to be a constant distraction. Dialogue is clear throughout and the music has a nice fullness to it without being shrill or tinny.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Production Notes
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Still and lobby card gallery
Extras Review: Other than a brief set of uncredited liner notes, the sole extra provided is a set of 31 stills and the set of 8 lobby cards. Many of the stills are highly pixelated and unpleasant to look at. Unfortunately, even though Art Linkletter and Celeste Holm are still among us and last I heard, in good health, there is no commentary or even an interview from them regarding this classic picture. This was truly an opportunity missed.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

A comedy for quiz show fans with a gentle touch and extolling the virtues of knowledge for its own sake. The source print is excellent, though the transfer is a little dodgy.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

drama, celebrity, mtv vma, njcki minaj, miley cyrus, anaconda, jennifer lawrence, amy schumer, billy joel, uptown girls, chicago, television, gwen stefani, blake shelton, the voice, adam levine, pharrell williams, music, los angeles microsoft theater, vma awards, garrit english, staples center, concert, taylor swift, 1989 tour, lisa kudrow, selena gomez, justin timberlake, alanis morissette, you oughta know, natalie maines, ellen degeneres, bachelor, jared fogle, subway pitchman, sex with minors, shannen doherty, beverly hills, 90210, breast cancer, law suit, tanner, mainstain, glynn & johnson, steven d. blatt, kelly clarkson, tinder, heartbeat song, jimmy kimmel, celine dion, family, comedy, faith.drama, fresh prince of bel-air, will smith, fuller house, the x-files, twin peaks, gunsmoke, burt reynolds, bruce boxleitner, buck taylor, jess walton, lane bradbury, merry florene, the man from u.n.c.l.e., robert vaughn, david mccallum, guy ritchie, henry cavill, armie hammer, anna faris, mom, chris pratt, jurassic world, redbook, john landgraf, mr. robot, ray donovan, the strain, difficult people, news late night, jon stewart, peter jennings, the daily show, coco, ice t, conan, keith richards, beatles, rolling stones, crosseyed heart, norah jones, paris hilton, emily ratajkowski, stella maxwell, jada pinkett smith, jaden, willow, howard stern, classic, foo fighters, learn to fly, fabio zaffagnini, betty white, walt palmer, cecil the lion, mia farrow, valerie harper, nice work if you can get it, ogunquit playhouse, mary tyler moore show, movie, mission: impossible -- rogue nation, tom cruise, simon pegg, ving rhames, jeremy remmer, alec baldwin, late night, ted cruz, david mccullough

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store