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Charles Heidsieck (1820 - 1871)
Television Mini-Series Review
Champagne Charlie was originally released in 1989 via the television medium as a mini-series. Today one can pick it up in the DVD format, either by purchasing or renting. As for me? I rented the DVD. I am glad I did.
Champagne Charlie starring Hugh Grant, Megan Gallagher and Megan Follows is a great biopic about Charles Heidsieck who was the son of a Champagne merchant that followed in his father's footsteps. Like his father, Charles Heidsieck believed in and refined his product, Champagne. Charles Heidsieck was foresighted enough to, shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War in he United States, figure out a way to get permission from the French Government to sell the Champagne his factory made to the American Market.
This film shows before and during the American Civil War, not just the American side, but the French through the character Charles Heidsieck. It Portrays how one man brought a product to the United States and profited by it; even after being taken advantage of by a New York warehouse owner and back-stabbed by best friend who was his partner in France. Very honest portrayal about French government intrigue as well as how the French government recruited people like Charles Heidsieck to perform "certain duties" to get approval for international sales, especially to America. This mini-series gives one the true feeling of the time period, correctly displays the tension between the Union and Confederacy. It portrays how the Civil War tore America into two warring factions. This is about overcoming adversity in Europe and America during an extraordinary era.
Champagne Charlie further points out the importance of cotton and tobacco during the Civil War. Brings to light how the bartering system was developed by the South to purchase from merchants like Charles Heidsieck. This mini-series includes how successful it was in spite of Union Army interference.
The acting in Champagne Charlie is superb. It has an excellent cast mix. Was shocked by the depth and scope that Hugh Grant and Megan Follows gave in their performances. They were expert in their parts; great to see them doing something different and more difficult. Even Tom Rack as President Abraham Lincoln was a delightful touch. Portrayed "Abe" well.
I highly recommend viewing Champagne Charlie . I did some research and this series treated the real "Champagne Charlie" aka Charles Heidsieck (1820 - 1871) the Champagne merchant from France factual personal story well. There was little altered or added for fictional entertainment purposes. Obviously the director Allan Eastman Distributors and scriptwriter(s) did some historic research before completing and filming the script. The costumes and props were authentic for the time period depicted. What a delight to see this!
Cast includes: Hugh Grant, Megan Gallagher, Megan Follows, Stephane Audran, Georges Descrieres, Jean-Claude Dauphin, Vladek Sheybal and Tom Rack.
Champagne Charlie is rated NR due to the fact when this was released they were not rating TV programs or televised mini-series like they do today. This is 3 hours 8 minutes in length; worth every minute!
For more information about Charles Heidsieck also known as "Champagne Charlie":
Champagne Charlie by Joseph Henriot; available at www.amazon.com
The Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Heidsieck