A French intelligence agent becomes embroiled in the Cold War politics first with uncovering the events leading up to the 1962 Cuban Missle Crisis, and then back to France to break up an international Russian spy ring.
A high ranking Russian official defects to the United States, where he is interviewed by US agent Michael Nordstrom. The defector reveals that a French spy ring codenamed "Topaz" has been passing NATO secrets to the Russians. Michael calls in his French friend and counterpart Andre Devereaux to expose the spies. Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
Alfred Hitchcock hired Leon Uris to adapt his own novel. But Uris didn't care for Hitchcock's eccentric sense of humor, nor did he appreciate the director's habit of monopolizing all of his time as they worked through a script. Hitchcock was disappointed that Uris seemed to ignore his requests to humanize the story's villains. In his opinion the novel painted them as cardboard monsters. With only a partial draft completed, Uris left the film. See more »
While talking to the Mendozas before they leave for their picnic, in the first shot Juanita is leaning over a map with both hands on the table. In the very next shot she is standing straight with her hands in her pockets. See more »
Opening credits prologue: Somewhere in this crowd is a high Russian official who disagrees with his government's display of force and what it threatens. Very soon his conscience will force him to attempt an escape while apparently on a vacation with his family. Copenhagen, Denmark Nineteen Hundred Sixty-two See more »
One aspect of "Topaz" that should be kept in mind is that while American and British critics were belittling Hitchcock as a "mere entertainer," the French New Wave critics, led by Francois Truffaut, were lionizing him and Truffaut even published a book-long interview with Hitchcock published in 1967.
Hitchcock hadn't worked in years and was desperately trying to get another movie going when Universal showed him the book "Topaz" -- about spies in the French government, with a French protagonist and climactic scenes in Paris. I think that Hitchcock may have -- unwisely -- decided to do "Topaz" so he could do a "French picture."
There are some great individual scenes in Topaz -- the opening defection in Copenhagen, the suspenseful mission to get secrets from the Cubans in Harlem's Hotel Theresa (Hitchcock in Harlem?!); the hero's dangerous mission into Cuba and the death of his key contact there.
But Hitchcock really didn't like making "Topaz," he was bored and ill and resentful (Universal had killed a project called "Frenzy" -- not to be confused with the 1972 film he made of that name -- and Hitchcock was bitter about it.)
So we end up with a very half-hearted Hitchcock movie with a few good scenes, no real stars, THREE failed endings (all available to see on the DVD), and an attempt to "make nice with my French friends."
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