The Celluloid Pantry: Champagne in the Movies

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December being the biggest month for bubbly, it seems only fitting that this week we take a look at some of our favorite champagne moments on the big screen. From buttoned-up Soviet officials to blonde bombshells, a wide cast of celluloid characters can be seen getting into the spirit of luxury, romance, and celebration of this timeless drink.

Ninotchka (1939)(top left)

In this classic romantic comedy, humorless Russian official Nina Yakushova "Ninotchka" Ivanoff (Greta Garbo) is strictly business, venturing to Paris determined to avoid all indulgence and excess. Until now, the closest this bureaucrat has ever gotten to champagne was seeing it at a battleship launch on a newsreel. This all changes when she meets the charming French count, Leon (Melvyn Douglas), who pops open a bottle at an elegant night club. Taking her first sip of the stuff, Ninotchka's pleasantly surprised. "From what I read I thought champagne was a strong drink. It's very delicate," she says, downing the glass in a single gulp. "Do people ever get drunk on this?"

Casablanca (1942)(bottom right)

With the invading Nazis fast approaching, the Parisians are determined to drink up as much bubbly as possible to save it from falling into enemy hands. Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) are more than happy to assist the cause, enjoying a couple of champagne cocktails made with Mumm Cordon Rouge. (More on this here — with a tasty recipe.)

Just about any movie with Marilyn Monroe

Champagne was the drink of choice for Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe, both on screen and off. Legend has it that the blonde bombshell once took a "bubble bath" in it, filling up her tub with 350 bottles of the stuff. Some classic on-screen champagne moments: dunking potato chips in a glass of it in The Seven Year Itch (1955) (top right) (more here), enjoying it with hotdogs in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) (more here), and serving it up with an extra helping of diamonds in Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1953).

Just about any movie with James Bond

Although 007 is best known for his predeliction for vodka martinis, "shaken, not stirred," the numbers reveal that the suave secret agent actually prefers champagne. According to a Web site called Make mine a 007..., Bond drank a total of 35 glasses of champagne in his 21 movies, compared to a mere 22 martinis. And while Dom Perignon was the the secret agent's original brand of choice, the cash lure of marketing tie-ins have since converted him into a Bollinger man (bottom left).

-Nora

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Drinks, Beverages, The Celluloid Pantry

Nora Maynard is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her recent work has appeared in Salon, Drunken Boat, and The Millions. She recently completed her ninth marathon and her first novel, Burnt Hill Road. Nora wrote for The Kitchn from 2006 to 2011.

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