TV Cream

Films: C is for...

Champagne for Caesar

Now here’s fun. High quality quiz show comedy with erudite smartarse Ronald Colman getting sacked from megalomaniac Vincent Price’s soap company before he’s even started, and attempting to wreck him by entering the $64,000 Question-style limitless prize fancy dress quiz show Price is sponsoring (don’t ask) and taking all his money. Colman, in dapper tache and rakishly-angled trilby (and, er, encyclopaedia costume – again, ask not for clarification as bewilderment often offends) is as great as ever, but it’s Price’s film. Adopting a sort of foaming-at-the-mouth approach, he runs the emotional gamut from Z to pound sign, going off into weird, ‘inspirational’ trances, turning bright purple (we presume – it’s black and white) with rage, and generally looning it up in excelsis. Neither actor got any money from this minor classic, it being a Cardinal Film, furtively banged out under the aegis of roguish producer Harry M Popkin. Even Art ‘People are Funny’ Linkletter and Mel Blanc (voice of Caesar, Colman’s pisshead parrot) left the show empty handed. Still, never mind, it’s a top quality TV satire – from 1950! Eat shit, Network!

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