The Champagne Murders (French: Le scandale) is a 1967 French suspense thriller mystery film directed by Claude Chabrol and starring Anthony Perkins. It was the first of two films that Chabrol made with Perkins, who is most famous for his role in Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock, whom Chabrol admires above all other directors.
For his role in the film, Maurice Ronet won the Best Actor award at the San Sebastián International Film Festival.
Taking a prostitute to a park after drinking, Paul Wagner is attacked by unknown assailants, who leave him with a serious head injury and strangle her. Unable to manage the family champagne business, it is run for him by Christine Belling and her assistant Jacqueline. Christine tries to take advantage of him by selling the company, but he refuses to sign. On a business trip to Hamburg with Christine's husband Christopher, he gets drunk and goes to a park with a whore, who is found strangled in the morning. Going with Christopher to the party of a promiscuous artist, he again gets drunk and she is found strangled in the morning.
Terrified that he may be murdering young women after drinking, while Christopher is away he seeks the help of Christine. She takes advantage of him by getting him to sign away his rights in the company. He goes home despondent and in the morning Christine is found strangled. Christopher, who now owns the business, turns up with a striking blonde, who Paul remembers seeing in Hamburg and at the artist's party. It is Jacqueline, without the dark wig and pale make-up she wore to work, who is Christopher's mistress and has done the last three stranglings. A gun is pulled out and the camera recedes as the three fight over it.
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San Sebastián International Film Festival
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