Champagne for Caesar (1950), starring Ronald Colman, Barbara Britton, Art Linkletter, Vincent Price, Celeste Holm
Synopsis of Champagne for Caesar
In Champagne for Caesar, An unemployed genius becomes a contestant on television’s biggest quiz show. And, he goes on to win the company from the show’s sponsor in this funny comedy favorite! Vincent Price gives a career best performance as the eccentric owner of the Milady Soap empire. Along with pitch-perfect turns by Academy Award winners Ronald Colman (Lost Horizon) and Celeste Holm (All About Eve). A rollicking, romantic film comedy!
Editorial review of Champagne for Caesar, courtesy of Amazon.com
A little-known comedy gem, this never-more-timely sendup of quiz shows and media promotions stars a delightfully aloof Ronald Colman as Beauregard Bottomley, the “last scholar.” Beauregard, out of work and living with his sister (Barbara Britton), hits on the idea of making a bundle on the Masquerade for Money radio show, produced by Milady Soap and hosted by a good-natured dolt (yes, that’s Art Linkletter).
Initially, Beauregard is in it for the loot, but this soon changes as the show’s apoplectic boss, Burnbridge Waters (Vincent Price), mobilizes his staff–and in-house Mata Hari (Celeste Holm)–to finish off the seemingly unflappable contestant. Now front-page news, Beauregard means higher ratings and increased soap sales. Burnbridge realizes he has created a monster.
Directed by Richard Whorf from a script by Hans Jacoby and Fred Brady, with music by Dimitri Tiomkin, this sophisticated, rapid-fire lark will remind some of vintage Preston Sturges (Sullivan’s Travels). It benefits immeasurably from the casting of Colman and Price as antagonists. Colman does a shrewd parody of his erudite charmers, and Price proves that he had the makings of a top-flight comedian well before he turned to ham-and-stakes horror. The title refers to Beauregard’s alcoholic parrot and its choice of beverage. –Glenn Lovell