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Topper Returns (1941)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Fantasy, Mystery  |  21 March 1941 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,584 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 13 critic

A sassy girl finds herself dead after trading bedrooms with her heiress friend. Her ghost seeks aid from banker Cosmo Topper to find out why and by whom.

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(based on: the fictional characters conceived by the late), (original screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Topper Returns (1941)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Dennis O'Keefe ...
Bob
...
Maid
...
Mr. Carrington
...
Chauffeur
George Zucco ...
Dr. Jeris
Donald MacBride ...
Sgt. Roberts
Rafaela Ottiano ...
Lillian
Trevor Bardette ...
Rama
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Storyline

Topper is once again tormented by a fun-loving spirit. This time, it's Joan Blondell, who was accidentally murdered while vacationing at the home of her wealthy friend, Ann Carrington (Landis), the intended victim. With Topper's help, Joan sets out to find her killer with the expected zany results. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Topper's having girl trouble again!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 March 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ich suche meinen Mörder  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film, Eddie (played by Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson) says that he's going back to "Mr. Benny", an in-joke reference to the fact that Anderson played Rochester, the valet, on Jack Benny's radio program and later TV show. See more »

Goofs

When Cosmo, Gail and Eddie are walking towards the house in the snow, Eddie stops walking putting Gail to Cosmo's left (she grabs his arm). In the next shot a tree branch on Cosmo's right moves as if Gail moves it, but Cosmo still has his left arm raised as if Gail was holding his arm. See more »

Quotes

Clara Topper: Why, you're all wet. Is it raining out? Oh, but you haven't been out. Can't be raining in. Well, if it has, it's all cleared up.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Phantoms (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Possibly the best in the Topper trilogy
22 February 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

Thorne Smith is just now beginning to be taken seriously as a writer. Often brushed off as just another pulp fiction fabricator, Smith's works are filled with satirical, humorous jibes at American culture concealed in well-written stories of fantasy. Though all three Hollywood versions of one of his best character creations leave out much of the satire they are each highly entertaining romantic comedies with many sexual innuendos considered bawdy when released in the late 30's and early 40's. This third film adds an element of mystery, suspense and chills to the comedy. Even the humor comes faster than in the first two Topper's. Billie Burke as Mrs. Cosmo Topper is given more clever lines this go around. Being one of the best actresses around, she knows exactly how to use the lines for ultimate comedic effect.

Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson was one of the funniest men around at the time. Mainly a radio comedian and sidekick to the inimitable Jack Benny, he stands out in every movie role he was given. He was one of the few African-Americans of his day who was able through sheer talent to rise above the racist Hollywood stereotyping rampant in the media at the time. Later during the civil rights movement Jack Benny told Rochester to do an errand for him. He replied, "Mr. Benny, we don't do that anymore." There's one scene in "Topper Returns" involving Rochester that's a gem when the raven flies to his shoulder and he gives a double take. Don't miss it. I don't know whose idea it was to have him wear a fur coat but that one prop adds tremendously to the fun.

So much has already been said by IMDb reviewers about the sensational Joan Blondell who deservedly got top billing in this film. She was a multi-talented actress who could play any role given her better than anyone else. She was also a topnotch comedienne as she shows in this outing when she somewhat assumes the role played by Constance Bennett in the first two outings. Donald MacBride as the police sergeant in charge of investigating the murders plays the part of a dumb policeman (typical for Hollywood in those days) in such a lofty comic manner than his stupidity is actually believable and this time funny. Adding to the creepiness of this truly scary comedy is the performance of Rafaela Ottiano as the housekeeper. She would frighten the pants off Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre. The rest of the cast made in heaven is just as effective.

Special note should be given to the special effects which were nominated for an Oscar. The man behind them, Roy Seawright, had also been in charge of the special effects for the first two Topper's. I've read that he had a hand in doing the special effects for the 1933 horror classic "The Invisible Man," although he is not credited with that in his profile.

Roland Young is for many viewers the definitive Topper but the later TV Topper, Leo G. Carroll, did a fine job too. Plus the later TV series added a ghost St. Bernard named Neil who just happened to be an alcoholic. Except for this the three movie versions are superior. The made for TV "Topper Returns" actually deals with Cosmo Topper Jr. and though OK is nowhere near the caliber of this "Topper Returns."


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