A French intelligence agent becomes embroiled in the Cold War politics first with uncovering the events leading up to the 1962 Cuban Missile 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A shot during the May Day parade sequence at the beginning of the film clearly reveals the parade to be taking place during the 50th anniversary of the October revolution (around the 1:29 mark), putting it in 1967 as opposed to 1961-63 when the story is supposed to have taken place. Therefore a person watching this parade could not have possibly defected to the USA and warned them of the Soviet missile deployment in Cuba (as is claimed in the beginning of the film). 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 »
Serviceable, workmanlike spy thriller that will never end up in anyone's "Top 10 Hitchcock films" list
"Topaz" is at its best when Alfred Hitchcock lets the camera tell the story: there are several small but brilliant moments in this film. But while his direction is still masterful, his pacing certainly isn't - the film often feels talky and plodding. The abrupt ending is another problem - one of the alternative endings, the airport one, sounds much better (unfortunately I haven't had the chance to see it yet). Frederick Stafford is no Cary Grant or even Rod Taylor, but he does the job; so do the rest of the actors, with Phillipe Noiret a standout in a brief role and Karin Dor adding a touch of sensuality to the proceedings. On the whole, "Topaz" is not even among Hitchcock's Top 10 pictures, but his fans will still have fun spotting his touches here and there. His cameo - a wheelchair-bound man who suddenly gets up and starts walking (!) - is just one of them. (**1/2)
EDIT: I finally did see the airport ending: it is undeniably better than the present one, but still a bit too abrupt.
18 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?