Release year: 2012
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The Champagne Safari was a foolhardy 1,200 mile expedition across Northern Canada backed by millionaire entrepreneur Charles Bedaux. To make the 1934 journey Bedaux brought along five Citroen half-track tanks, 130 pack horses, kegs of champagne and tons of gourmet French cuisine.
He also brought along an entire library of books, a crew and Oscar winning cameraman Floyd Crosby.
The expedition was a bust and the resulting film footage was lost until 1984 when Canadian filmmaker George Ungar found it in a Paris basement and used it in this fascinating biography of the enigmatic, megalomaniacal American industrialist, entrepreneur and WW II-era traitor Charles Bedaux, a man who had a tremendous effect on the rise of the Nazis to power.
The film took over 16 years to make and is narrated by actor Colm Feore. In addition to Crosby's fascinating footage, the story is told via reenactments, archival photos and interviews with historians, writers, and relatives. The Champagne Safari was but one incident in Bedaux's life.
He earned his fortune by using scientific methodology to create the Bedaux System of worker management. Other American corporations liked the methods and he became wealthy. Bedaux soon became known for his exotic expeditions. But there was a dark side to Bedaux, and his close ties to the Nazi party are also explored in the film.
It was this shadowy relationship that ultimately caused the downfall and suicide of Bedaux who died just before he was to stand trial for treason in the US.