HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Windom's Way
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
   
 
Newest Articles
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
   
 
  Champagne Murders, The Absolutely Fizzing
Year: 1967
Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Anthony Perkins, Maurice Ronet, Yvonne Furneaux, Stéphane Audran, Annie Vidal, Henry Jones, Catherine Sola, George Skaff, Christa Lang, Marie-Ange Anies, Suzanne Lloyd
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Christopher (Anthony Perkins) and Paul (Maurice Ronet) are fast friends involved in the champagne business, making a fortune out of it, but together they have a self-destructive streak and tend to use alcohol - not only champagne - as a method of getting through the day, and indeed the night. Recently they were out in Paris one evening when they were driving along and saw a woman in a violent argument with her boyfriend, so decided to break this up and give the lady a lift. This was going well until they parked in a remote part of countryside and a gang of men suddenly descended on them, beating the two pals severely...

This is the reason Paul not only doesn't trust his behaviour anymore, but is apparently seeing that behaviour become ever more erratic, and everyone around him is noticing how badly he has been affected. Well, we only have the film's word for that because we are denied much of a chance to see what he was like before he smashed his head on the windscreen of his sports car, but this act of pretty nasty brutality influenced everything that went after in the film. Yet while there was undoubtedly physical violence, as the title indicates, what appeared to be more important to the piece was emotional violence, bourgeoisie-style.

The Champagne Murders was to be director Claude Chabrol's only American film, as Universal stumped up the budget for this when the cult filmmaker was at a low point in his career. That's the trouble with courting a cult of admirers: as Robert Altman says, a cult is not enough people to make a minority, and though Chabrol had his followers, they were only intermittently enough to sustain him for some stretches of his filmography, this mid-sixties period being one of them. His nickname of The French Hitchcock, while it flattered him, was proving to be more of a liability at the box office when those who saw his work would think, hmm, not very suspenseful.

Actually, what The Champagne Murders would be more accurately termed as was a black comedy of manners, where as often in France the middle and upper classes were the target of vitriolic portrayals, and this bunch were not going to be sympathetic to anyone, not even themselves. It was interesting to see Perkins in a French Hitchcock movie as opposed to a British one made in America (as in Psycho), one supposed, and he came across as enjoying the arch ins and outs of the plot though the question of whether his character was as messed up as Norman Bates must have been on the minds of all who saw this back in the late sixties until the grand finale revealed all. For many, however, it was hardly worth the journey.

So sour was this collection of fabulously well-to-do vipers that the audience could feel as if the venom was contagious and they would not wish to spend time with them, especially when they were really no fun at all. Some witty lines would have helped, but obvious dubbing throughout (despite most of the cast speaking English) put you at a further distance from the characters, and the performances failed to impress as natural. That was all very well when it was an exaggerated milieu we were dealing with, but they were a rum lot so once the murders finally began, it was difficult to warm to the sniping and over the top, bad behaviour on display. What was worth hanging around for was the ending, which included a big reveal that would be more effective if you did not recognise a certain someone before, and a conclusion that was no conclusion at all, merely a sustained struggle as the players involved descend into Hell. Patchy, but if you could tolerate the acid, some interest. Music by Pierre Jansen (great title sequence!).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 431 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Claude Chabrol  (1930 - 2010)

A renowned director of French thrillers, he was one of the originators of the French New Wave of the fifties and sixties, often concentrating on middle class characters going through crises that led to murder, and made around fifty of these films in his long career. Starting with Le Beau Serge in 1958, he went on to direct such respected efforts as Les Cousins, The Champagne Murders, Les Biches, This Man Must Die, Le Boucher, Blood Relatives, Poulet au Vinaigre, a version of Madame Bovary with frequent star Isabelle Huppert, L'enfer, La Ceremonie, The Girl Cut in Two with Ludivine Sagnier, and his final work for the cinema, Bellamy with Gerard Depardieu.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: