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Champagne for Caesar [VHS]

4.2 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ronald Colman, Celeste Holm, Vincent Price, Barbara Britton, Art Linkletter
  • Directors: Richard Whorf
  • Writers: Frederick Brady, Hans Jacoby
  • Producers: George Moskov, Harry M. Popkin, Joseph H. Nadel
  • Format: Black & White, Original recording reissued, NTSC
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: First Look Home Ente
  • VHS Release Date: January 27, 1998
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304681003
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,297 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

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

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Larry A. Verdugo on January 20, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Champagne for Caesar" was a film I saw in my early days of film going. I've always remembered it as a smart and funny film, especially notable for Celeste Holmes sophisticated turn as Ronald Coleman's charming nemesis and Vincent Price's off-the-wall performance as the eccentric manufacturor of "Milady Soap, The Soap That Sanctifies."
I looked forward to this DVD but must report that technically it falls too far short to recommend. About a quarter of the way into it, the sound turns extremely harsh and is almost unlistenable. Later still, intrusive scratches and smudges-- that surely could have been eliminated--suddenly intrude, spoiling the moment.
"Champagne for Caesar" remains a charming romp but not in this presentation.
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Format: VHS Tape
This film is a gem! A friend passed on the VHS to me knowing that I was looking for a copy, having opted against the DVD after reading the Amazon reviews. The entire cast is marvelous, in particular Art Linkletter as the perfect foil to Ronald Colman's acerbic smart-aleck. Everyone, however, pales a bit in comparison to Vincent Price who is almost unbelievably funny as the scheming CEO of a company that manufactures soap in addition to sponsoring a broadcast quiz show; his performance alone is reason enough to make this a keeper rather than a rental.
The sound on the VHS, BTW, isn't very good either at times, however, it's just in few spots; the picture is okay. If the DVD is no better than this, it might be worth picking up, but not at list.
Incidentally, Mr. Price possessed an unbelievable range--one has only to see him in the films in which he appeared prior to his becoming a horror icon (which isn't to be disparaged; those films are great fun) to know what I mean. In addition, he was an incredibly cultured man, kind and courteous, who was considered an authority on the finer things in life, such as art and food. I had the privilege of seeing him perform live in 1979 when he was touring in a revival of a one-man show called Diversions and Delights in which he played a post-Reading Gaol Oscar Wilde. The show ran in the tiny Roundabout Stage One theater on West 23rd Street here in Manhattan, our seats were practically onstage, and I can't honestly say that I've ever enjoyed an evening of theater more. Mr. Price was electrifying and to this day I can't watch his films without regretting that no one had the foresight to film a performance of Diversions and Delights. The world lost a great actor, a great connoisseur, and--most importantly--a great gentleman with his passing.
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By A Customer on July 15, 2003
Format: DVD
I won't go into the story line as others before me have covered that. Let me instead deal with the quality of this DVD. It stinks! Mainly because of the sound. At points it sounds like the actors are talking under water. At first I thought I had a bad disc, so I returned it for replacement, but got the same problem. So I wrote to the company that put this out on DVD and this was their response: Thank you for your inquiry. We are sorry to hear that you are disappointed with your latest Image Entertainment purchase. Unfortunately the problem that you are describing concerning the soundtrack of this film is the result of damaged film stock. Image Entertainment made three attempts to find the best available master for this film and the finished product was made using the best remaining film stock available.
Bottom line is, buy this ONLY if you can't do without this film. Otherwise there are lots of other wonderful films on better DVDs.
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Format: VHS Tape
Several years ago, I saw Vincent Price on a talk show, and he was asked what his favorite was of all the movies he had made. He replied that it was a movie he considered "way ahead of it's time", titled "Champagne For Caesar". I was very excited to hear him say that, because it has been one of my favorite movies since I discovered it late one night on a local tv station back in the 60's.
This is a very funny satire of quiz shows and of tv advertisers, backed by a stunning cast which includes Ronald Colman as Beauregard Bottomly, a genius who knows everything except how to keep a job. He embarks on a quest to destroy a sponsor of a tv quiz show, by answering enough questions to bankrupt them. Celeste Holme co-stars as the beautiful, intelligent femme fatale sent to find his weakness. Vincent Price is the owner of the soap company who sponsors the quiz show, and his performance as the wickedly funny "Dirty Waters" is one of the many bright spots of this film. Art Linkletter has a supporting role as "Happy Hogan", the host of the quiz show, with some very funny moments between him and Vincent Price. Mel Blanc is the voice of "Caesar", an alcoholic parrot. Everybody in this film is excellent, and this is a movie that shouldn't be missed.
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Format: DVD
This film has Oscar winner Ronald Colman's last starring performance. (He only had small roles in two later films.) After its failure at the box office, Colman did a radio show ("The Halls of Ivy"), and in 1954 starred in a TV adaptation of that radio show for a year. Meanwhile, "Caesar" developed a cult following when it was shown on TV (appropriately, since it is all about the way TV saturates a nation's consciousness). Now that the film's available on DVD, perhaps it can find a new audience. Colman is matched by two strong character actors in this film: Vincent Price, even more flamboyant than he was in "His Kind of Woman" (1951), and Celeste Holm, another Oscar winner (for supporting actress in "Gentleman's Agreement"), who doesn't appear until halfway through but dominates the second half as a wide-eyed femme fatale. The surreal offices at the Milady soap company show superior art directors at work. The dialogue is crackling and quotable, but the plotting has problems (several times, we are told what's about to happen before it does). Moreover, the two love relationships aren't convincing (Colman's character looks happier living his sister, played by the lovely and charming Barbara Britton). The continuing gimmick with the drunken parrot (voiced by Mel Blanc) is hysterical. All in all, a film well worth seeing.
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