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|Index||88 reviews in total|
This movie is not the best one Hitchcock has ever made I totally agree, but it does have some very good scenes. For example the opening scenes are filled with action. And I don't mean the Rambo-kills-all-evil-guys kind of action, but the ways in which the scenes are shot and thereafter edited, the camera angles, this subtle creation of 'suspense' Alfred Hitchcock is so well known for. I also remember the scene in which Juanita is killed, where again the camera angle is chosen splendidly so that her beautiful dress fills the screen. This is one of the most aesthetic killings I've ever seen. So the superior talent of the unquestionable master surely is present some times. So if one learns to value these moments and neglects the terribly eclectic plot (Hitchcock was forced to extremely cut down the movie), it's not so bad a movie after all.
One of Hitchcock's last movies, TOPAZ is actually an excellent movie. Sure,
it's not Psycho or Rope, but it's a classic in its own right. Too many
people who think "007" when they hear "spy movie" have probably seen this
movie and been turned off by its realism and lack of explosions.
The acting is somewhat wooden, but it's not terribly noticeable until after the movie, when you have time to think about it. And the ending is incredibly abrupt, but so was the ending to Vertigo, and no one complains about that.
Hitchcock's work here is fabulous. The murder scene is absolutely incredible (the purple dress), one of Hitchcock's finest moments ever (up there with the Spellbound milk-drinking and the Rear Window climax). Another excellent moment, as previously mentioned, is the wordless bribing of secretary Uribe in the beginning of the movie. The opening scene of defection and the torture scene are also very good.
The plot is very good as well. Unlike Torn Curtain, which falls into nothing but repetitive scenes and events, Topaz's plot is coherent and engaging. It features several great twists and turns, and although many characters do have underdeveloped parts, that seems almost necessary to keep the movie under 3 hours.
It's not a Hitchcock classic, but it is certainly an excellent movie, and it deserves to receive much more credit than it does.
I could just about enjoy Torn Curtain (Hitchcock's other espionage
thriller) but Topaz is really poor. Other poorer Hitchcock movies at
least have the customary Hitchcock Director's feel to them even if the
plot is thin. But Topaz just doesn't feel like the true Hitchcock
The plot is too long and disjointed. Split into three parts there is little to link each of them except th fact that some of the actors happen to migrate from one to the next.
The actors are virtually unknown and are not great to watch. I found myself unable to 'fall in love' with any of the female cast or 'admire' the male leads.
This is a film that I am glad to have watched only to continue my travels through the Hitchcock portfolio. On its own it is nothing to dedicate 2hrs+ of your life towards.
At least it appears as if those dreadful outdated backdrop artist scenes have either gone or been very much improved (the dockside scene in Marnie & museum frontage in Torn Curtain were well past their 'sell-by' date).
In 1962, the highly ranked Russian intelligence officer Boris Kusenov
(Per-Axel Arosenius) defects to the United States of America with his
wife and his daughter under the protection of CIA agent Michael
Nordstrom (John Forsythe). In Washington, Boris discloses the Russian
movement in Cuba, and Nordstrom asks the French agent and his friend
Andre Devereaux (Frederick Stafford) to get further documents from the
Cuban leader Rico Parra (John Vernon) using his anti-American corrupt
secretary Luis Uribe (Don Randolph). Then Devereaux travels to Cuba to
get additional evidences of the Cuban Missiles with his mistress
Juanita de Cordoba (Karin Dor). When Devereaux returns, he receives
orders from the French government to return to France to explain his
participation in Cuba. However Nordstrom schedules a meeting of
Devereaux with Boris and the ex-KGB official tells him about Topaz, the
codename for a group of French officials in high circles who work for
the Soviet Union. Further, he tells that the French NATO representative
Henri Jarre (Philippe Noiret) is the second in the chain of command of
the spy ring Topaz, leaking classified information to the soviets, and
the head of spies in known only by the codename of Columbine. Devereaux
realizes that he can not reveal the truth before finding who the
The dated "Topaz" is one of the weakest Hitchcock's films. The story, based on a true event (the Cuban Missile Crisis), is too shallow and long. Nicole is a key character but is not well-developed. Further, it is naive the explanation of friendship between Andre Devereaux and Michael Nordstrom to make the first to get entwined in the situation with Cubans and his government. This time, the cameo of Alfred Hitchcock is in the airport in New York, when he arrives in a wheelchair and walks under the United Air Lines to Planes plate while Nicole and Andre are welcoming Michele and her husband François Picard. My vote is six.
Title (Brazil): "Topázio" ("Topaz")
I agree completely with the previous reviewer that "Topaz", while not in the same ballpark as Hitchcock's best is still an underrated film that's gotten too much of a bum rap. I appreciate the fact that it's willing to take a look at the Castro regime for exactly what it has been and always will be. The tense scene where we watch Roscoe Lee Browne from a distance, with no dialogue and only the sound of street noises, bribe a Cuban official to get important material, ranks with Hitchcock's best. And Karin Dor is both radiantly sexy and courageous as a Cuban resistance leader. The ending is a bit abrupt and weak though, and I probably would have preferred one of the two alternate endings featured in the laser disc supplement.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Alfred Hitchcock's "Topaz" was unpopular and quickly forgotten about,
largely because he dared to do something that most filmmakers avoided:
make a realistic movie about espionage. "Topaz" has none of the glamour
or excitement of the James Bond pictures nor does it even have much of
a happy ending. The master spy Davereaux (Frederick Stafford) uses and
gratuitously sacrifices the lives of his underlings to uncover
information that merely serves to confirm other spy information that
the Americans have already gathered. Davereaux appears to find his job
particularly distasteful, but at the same time he goes ahead with his
mission with a stoicism that could easily be confused for coldness. If
you consider Davereaux's demeanour at the end of the picture and the
flashback to all the casualties that he leaves behind, you'll see what
So "Topaz" is an austere and dark film. The brief torture scene has to be one of the most brutal moments ever depicted in any of Hitchcock's films, which for all their suspense usually spare the audience the horror of having to see uncompromising, graphic violence (Psycho and Frenzy, of course, are important exceptions). Lastly "Topaz" is also a surprisingly realistic film, in that the spies do not lead happy, glamorous lives, but are forced to perform very distasteful tasks that would drive a normal, decent person to despair.
Topaz (1969) is the 51st Alfred Hitchcock movie.In the year 1962 there's the cold war going on.The story takes you to Denmark, NYC, Washington DC, Paris and Cuba when it was ran by a man named Fidel Castro.Remember? Topaz is based on the novel by Leon Uris.This is not Hitchcock's best work but it's not bad either.He couldn't make a bad movie.Hitchcock at worst would be a masterpiece to some directors of our time.One thing this movie was criticized about was that it didn't have any big stars there.That may be a little problem, but just a little.There still are some great actors performing their parts.The most known name would be the now 90 year old John Forsythe.Also the late Roscoe Lee Browne is in the movie.Frederick Stafford is there.Michel Subor, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret and so on.There are many French actors in this movie and people were probably expecting Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart.Nevertheless this is a good movie.Not the best of Hitch but for a man with so many masterpieces under his belt you couldn't expect him hit the jackpot every time.
You must see this movie even if you have before. You must see the DVD version, offering the widescreen version and about a half hour of deleted footage that had no right being deleted in the first place. Many important scenes and dialogue were cut for the video release, and haven't been put back in until recently. This is an very underated Hitchcock movie. It contains all the suspense that Hitchcock enjoyed. There are NO STARS in this movie. I can see why it failed at the box office because it's lack of star power. Although the actors are just as good as any superstar. Actually I believe it to be more REAL to see lesser known actors and actually masterful on Hitchcock's part. It's the story of the Cold War, during the days of the Cuban Missle Crisis and the secret spy ring -- Topaz. Great performances and masterful direction. ****/*****. Avoid Maltin's documentary of the movie on the DVD! -- What an arrogant critic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Topaz is directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is based on the novel by Leon
Uris and stars John Forsythe, Frederick Stafford, Roscoe Lee Browne and
Topaz is one of Hitchcocks last films and seems to have been unfairly dismissed as not one of Hichcock's best. It is a very good film, a thrilling spy story which works better not having a famous cast, you get the impression these are real people caught up in all of this.
C.I.A agent Michael Nordstrom(John Forsythe)sends one of his friends a French agent called Devereaux(Fredrick Stafford)to Cuba to investigate something called Topaz.The mission becomes very dangerous and Juanita de Cordoba (Karin Dor)the Cuban woman Devereaux loves and who assists him in gathering information is tragically murdered.Filled with plenty of suspense,thrills and betrayal this is a gripping film filled with excellent performances.
I have to put a 10 in, cause I loved it, and I loved that Mr. Hitchcock
went for unknowns and foreign performers.
What I can't fathom is what led so many contemporaries to say that Stafford wasn't anything but Amazing, a French intelligence officer friends with a CIA man, who have a working friendship/exchange going on.
He is a man of conscience, and when he sees what Castro has planned despite his nations neutrality on the subject is moved by conscience.
AND the fact that he knew what he was risking did it anyway, and It was an amazingly believable and compelling story.
I just don't get fickle critics.
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