Tuesday, October 8, 2013

1969 - TOPAZ, another disappointing later period Hitchcock film

After flopping with Torn Curtain,  Hitchcock tried again in the spy genre with Topaz.  Hichcock's plan was to make a "realistic Bond" film. 

This supposedly realistic James Bond thriller basically comes down to guys in suits sitting around talking about stuff, in this case the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.  A 30 year old political crisis with guys talking was just the sort of film that screamed "out of it."  Hitchcock once the master of providing entertaining films had really lost his way as he wandered around in some sort of film making senility.

The cast was made up mostly of unknown and character actors.  Hitchcock picked an unknown European actor names Frederick Stafford as his lead.  Stafford had the look of a James Bond type but his acting left a lot to be desired.  The rest of the cast was made up of French actors who just don't seem to click in the film.  The only recognizable name is John Forsythe not really much of a big name in the movies but an actor Hitchcock could probably get along with.

Hitchcock had a lot of personal and professional problems to deal with during the making of Topaz.  He never seemed to get a focus on the script and the film had enough plot for about 4 spy thrillers.

Some critics championed the film, Leonard Maltin in the video introduction on the DVD comes off more as an apologist than an actual critic.  But do not be fooled this is a very poor film.

143 minutes.

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