Champagne for Caesar (1950)

99 mins | Comedy | 7 April 1950

Director:

Richard Whorf

Producer:

George Moskov

Cinematographer:

Paul Ivano

Editor:

Hugh Bennett

Production Designer:

George Van Marter

Production Company:

Cardinal Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film opens with a voice-over narration introducing the audience to "Frosty," a pretty blonde starlet sunbathing in front of a bungalow. The narrator then states that the story is actually about her neighbor, "Beauregard Bottomley." News items in HR and DV state that the newly formed Yoland Productions was involved in the film's production, but the extent of the company's participation has not been determined. A pre-production news item in HR noted that Leonid Snegoff had been cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to news items in HR , scenes depicting the quiz show were shot at Los Angeles television station KTTV, and radio announcer Gabriel Heatter's scenes were shot in Miami, FL. On 5 Oct 1950, Champagne for Caesar was performed on Screen Guild Playhouse , with Ronald Colman, Vincent Price, Art Linkletter and Barbara Britton reprising their film roles. Audrey Totter replaced Celeste Holm for the ... More Less

The film opens with a voice-over narration introducing the audience to "Frosty," a pretty blonde starlet sunbathing in front of a bungalow. The narrator then states that the story is actually about her neighbor, "Beauregard Bottomley." News items in HR and DV state that the newly formed Yoland Productions was involved in the film's production, but the extent of the company's participation has not been determined. A pre-production news item in HR noted that Leonid Snegoff had been cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to news items in HR , scenes depicting the quiz show were shot at Los Angeles television station KTTV, and radio announcer Gabriel Heatter's scenes were shot in Miami, FL. On 5 Oct 1950, Champagne for Caesar was performed on Screen Guild Playhouse , with Ronald Colman, Vincent Price, Art Linkletter and Barbara Britton reprising their film roles. Audrey Totter replaced Celeste Holm for the broadcast. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11 Feb 1950.
---
Cue
18 Mar 1950.
---
Cue
13 May 1950.
---
Daily Variety
6 Feb 50
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Feb 50
p. 8.
Hollywood Citizen-News
27 Apr 1950.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 49
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 49
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 49
p. 4, 10
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 49
p. 23.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 49
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 49
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jan 50
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 50
pp. 3-4.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Sep 50
p. 10.
Independent Film Journal
11 Feb 1950.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
27 Apr 1950.
---
Los Angeles Times
27 Apr 1950.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
11 Feb 50
p. 186.
New York Times
12 May 50
p. 33.
New Yorker
20 May 1950.
---
Variety
8 Feb 50
p. 11.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Harry M. Popkin Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story and scr
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus wrt and dir
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech asst by arrangement with CBS and KTTV
Tech asst by arrangement with CBS and KTTV
Unit mgr
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 April 1950
Production Date:
18 August--late September 1949 at Motion Pictures Center Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Cardinal Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 April 1950
Copyright Number:
LP87
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
99
Length(in feet):
8,945
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14221
SYNOPSIS

Beauregard Bottomley, a reserved intellectual with a number of academic degrees but no marketable skills, shares a Los Angeles bungalow with his sister Gwenn, a piano teacher, and their dipsomaniac parrot, Caesar. On their way to the movies one night, Beauregard and Gwenn stop at a television display in a store window, around which people have gathered to watch a quiz show called Masquerade for Money , in which contestants dress up as their favorite person or thing, and then answer questions about that person or thing. The show's host, Happy Hogan, pays the contestants for each correct answer, doubling the prize to a maximum of $160. Beauregard is aghast at both the program and its cheerfully vapid host, perceiving them as a threat to the country's intellectual standards. The next day, the clerk at the state employment office sends Beauregard to apply for a research job at the Milady Soap Company, which makes "the soap that sanctifies" and sponsors Masquerade for Money . Beauregard's interview with eccentric president Burnbridge Waters takes a bad turn when Beauregard makes a small joke, and the job offer is withdrawn. Determined to get revenge, Beauregard appears as a contestant on the show, wearing an encyclopedia costume. Prepared to answer questions on any subject, Beauregard's caustic wit makes him popular with the studio audience. After winning $160, Beauregard stuns Happy and the Milady executives by refusing to take the money, insisting instead on coming back next week to play for double or nothing. Sensing a promotional opportunity, Burnbridge decides to keep Beauregard on the show for a while, and both the ratings and the company's sales soar. With ... +


Beauregard Bottomley, a reserved intellectual with a number of academic degrees but no marketable skills, shares a Los Angeles bungalow with his sister Gwenn, a piano teacher, and their dipsomaniac parrot, Caesar. On their way to the movies one night, Beauregard and Gwenn stop at a television display in a store window, around which people have gathered to watch a quiz show called Masquerade for Money , in which contestants dress up as their favorite person or thing, and then answer questions about that person or thing. The show's host, Happy Hogan, pays the contestants for each correct answer, doubling the prize to a maximum of $160. Beauregard is aghast at both the program and its cheerfully vapid host, perceiving them as a threat to the country's intellectual standards. The next day, the clerk at the state employment office sends Beauregard to apply for a research job at the Milady Soap Company, which makes "the soap that sanctifies" and sponsors Masquerade for Money . Beauregard's interview with eccentric president Burnbridge Waters takes a bad turn when Beauregard makes a small joke, and the job offer is withdrawn. Determined to get revenge, Beauregard appears as a contestant on the show, wearing an encyclopedia costume. Prepared to answer questions on any subject, Beauregard's caustic wit makes him popular with the studio audience. After winning $160, Beauregard stuns Happy and the Milady executives by refusing to take the money, insisting instead on coming back next week to play for double or nothing. Sensing a promotional opportunity, Burnbridge decides to keep Beauregard on the show for a while, and both the ratings and the company's sales soar. With Beauregard's winnings now at $40,000, Gwenn urges her brother to take the money, but he refuses, explaining that he plans to keep playing until the prize matches the value of Milady, or $40 million, at which point he will take control of the company and pull the quiz show off the air. When Beauregard wins again, Burnbridge and his executives resolve to defeat him, and Happy volunteers to sign up for piano lessons with Gwenn. Although she suspects his ulterior motives, Gwenn begins to date Happy, and they fall in love. When the prize money reaches $10 million, Burnbridge enlists the help of the alluring Flame O'Neil. Dressed as a nurse, Flame goes to Beauegard's home, where he is in bed with a cold, and introduces herself as a "present" from his fan club. Beauregard soon falls in love with her, which leaves him somewhat addled, and Flame further manipulates him by making him think she is seeing another man. Beauregard tells Flame that his one area of weakness is Einstein's space-time continuum, and that night, a question on the show is about that very subject. The judges rule his answer incorrect, but Einstein calls from Princeton to tell Happy that Beauregard is right. Beauregard goes to Flame's apartment and spanks her with a hairbrush, and after he admits that he deliberately misinformed her to confirm his suspicions, they kiss. Meanwhile, Burnbridge decides to go out of business in style, and he books the Hollywood Bowl for what could be the final show. Gwenn announces her engagement to Happy, and Beauregard announces his to Flame, but they are both uneasy about the fact that Happy and Flame insist on waiting until after that night's broadcast to marry. When the big moment arrives, Happy takes Beauregard's wallet and asks him to recite his Social Security number. To everyone's horror, Beauregard's answer is wrong. Later that night, Burnbridge shows up at the Bottomley residence with a case of champagne and is immediately recognized by Caesar, who was his pet in college. While Burnbridge and his parrot enjoy their reunion, Happy arrives, followed by Flame. As Beauregard and Flame drive to Las Vegas to get married, he tells her that he had made a deal with Burnbridge to lose the last show, which was fortunate for him, because he really did not know his Social Security number. When Flame sees a number of books in the backseat, which Beauregard intends to read on the honeymoon, she laughs as she tosses them out of the car. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.