Champagne ★★½

Week 7 (late) of 52 Weeks of Hitchcock!

This one's a little more entertaining and engaging than the last few silent Hitchcock melodramas. The film opens with a bold sequence (a woman crashes a plane into the Atlantic in order to be "rescued" by the ship carrying her fiancé ) which wouldn't have been out of place in a later Hitchcock film -- though, at the same time, one apparently beyond either the budget or the technical means Hitchcock had at his disposal at the time, since most of the "action" happens off-screen.

From there, the contrivances and the situations only get progressively sillier and less believable, until what we wind up with is a kind of sloppy attempt at a Cowardesque or even Shakesperian bedroom comedy, but which in no way lives up to the structural or character standards set by those two greats of theatre. The performances are mostly engaging, and there are a number of highly amusing exchanges and sequences, though Betty Balfour will occasionally run through a sequence of bewildering expressions the point of which I'm not entirely certain. Even if you buy into the film's lunatic premise, accepting it is predicated on being down with a particular brand of sexism which seems out of date even for the late twenties.

And yet at the same time, it's the liveliest and most fun Hitchcock movie yet. I dunno. Like the film itself, my feelings about this one are a mess.