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 U.S., where he is interviewed by U.S. Agent Michael Nordstrom. The defector reveals that a French spy ring codenamed "Topaz" has been passing N.A.T.O. 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>
Leon Uris wrote the first draft of the screenplay, but Sir Alfred Hitchcock declared it unshootable at the last minute, and called in Samuel A. Taylor (writer of Vertigo (1958)) to re-write it from scratch. Some scenes were written just a few hours before they were shot. See more »
In the scene with the Soviet military parade, the archival footage of Lenin's mausoleum is reversed, with his name appearing backwards. 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 »
The German version of the film ends with Granville going into his house, and the sound of a gunshot suggests he has shot himself. 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.
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