Champagne for Caesar (1950)

Champagne for Caesar (1950), directed by Richard Whorf.

Ronald Colman is the Last Scholar in America and he knows everything. This makes him unemployable so he goes on a game show where the cash prize doubles every week. He never loses and refuses to quit. Initially his goal is to elevate game shows out of their intellectual mediocrity, but later he decides to break the soap company sponsor by running the prize up to $40 million.

It's a very silly, frothy farce that sometimes approaches Monty Python levels of absurdity. Colman is impressive in everything he does, and Vincent Price, as the barking mad soap company honcho, is deliriously eccentric and bizarre. An interesting study of early TV, game show mania and sponsorship perils.

Despite those good features it's too erratic and could have been tightened up. Some of the comic musical effects are irritating.

With Art Linkletter as the game show host and Celeste Holm as a femme fatale sent to disrupt the contestant's thought processes. Linkletter, improbably enough, is a romantic match for Colman's sister.

Dimitri Tiomkin score.

Ronald Colman, a WW1 veteran, started in theater and silent films and famously had one of the great speaking voices of the 20th century.