6.3/10
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Topaz (1969)

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.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Leon Uris (from the novel by), Samuel A. Taylor (screenplay) (as Samuel Taylor)
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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frederick Stafford ... Andre Devereaux
Dany Robin ... Nicole Devereaux
John Vernon ... Rico Parra
Karin Dor ... Juanita de Cordoba
Michel Piccoli ... Jacques Granville
Philippe Noiret ... Henri Jarre
Claude Jade ... Michele Picard
Michel Subor ... Francois Picard
Per-Axel Arosenius Per-Axel Arosenius ... Boris Kusenov
Roscoe Lee Browne ... Philippe Dubois
Edmon Ryan ... McKittreck
Sonja Kolthoff Sonja Kolthoff ... Mrs. Kusenov
Tina Hedström Tina Hedström ... Tamara Kusenov (as Tina Hedstrom)
John Van Dreelen ... Claude Martin
Donald Randolph Donald Randolph ... Luis Uribe (as Don Randolph)
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Storyline

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 <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Hitchcock takes you behind the actual headlines to expose the most explosive spy scandal of the century! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | French | Russian

Release Date:

19 December 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's Topaz See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir 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 Hitchcock'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 movie. See more »

Goofs

The Kusenovs arrive in the US in a USAF C-135 marked "Military Airlift Command". The movie is set in 1962 but that organization did not come into existence until 1966. The aircraft should have been marked "Military Air Transport Service". See more »

Quotes

Francois Picard: I've been shot... Just a little.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Alternate Versions

Hitchcock shot two versions with completely different endings. Both endings are featured in the laserdisc version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hitchcock (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Brilliant sequences in an unsung Hitchcock film
8 April 2006 | by JuguAbrahamSee all my reviews

While Leon Uris' book is a good read, Hitchcock's adaptation of the book for cinema captures much of the book's selling points. The killing of Juanita by Rico Parra is central to book and the film. The book has a sensual scene where Juanita distracts Parra to allow Andre to escape before she is killed. In the film, Hitchcock dispenses with the sexual distraction to go directly to the killing. The killing of Juanita captured by the overhead camera, shows the purple gown spreading in the floor as blood would have spread. No blood is shown—only the gown. What a brilliant shot from Hitchcock and cameraman Jack Hildyard! The second remarkable facet of the movie is the performance of Phillip Noiret as a French bureaucrat and spy. The lunch sequence (a typical Hitchcock food event) may look simple but the montage of shots capturing Noiret's apparent interest in the food than the conversation is truly engaging. Noiret is a fine actor. So is Michel Piccoli. The two of them outshine Frederick Stafford and John Forsythe.

The third most fascinating shot is post-torture interrogation of Mrs Mendoza—the whispered response from a posture that reminds one of Michelangelo's Pieta—with her dead husband replacing the dead Christ.

Hitchcock's perseverance with "marriage" continues. Andre blandly tells his daughter of his wife "She left me. I did not leave her" after a tryst with his lover in Havana. The Michel Piccoli character says of Andre's wife "Andre, his wife and I were very close. She married him." We know later that Andre's wife was cheating on him as she recognizes the Piccoli character's phone number at his secret love nest.

The defection sequence in Copenhagen might look clumsy—but Hitchcock's style is everywhere—faces in mirrors, close up of a porcelain figure about to be dropped with no music in the background, etc. What was most amusing was the criticism of the American espionage agents: "We would have done it better" and the exchange of words by the defector in Washington, D.C. Andre's outburst to his bosses on the outcome of French intervention in the defection would lead to the defector's assassination is equally poignant had the film ended with the French spy defecting to Russia (one of the alternate endings).

Finally, Hitchcock's use of the newspaper headlines during key scenes in the background was interesting: The Pieta shot had the newspaper shot in the background and the newspaper left behind on a bench in Paris is the final shot. The alternate endings—the duel and the departure of the spies to two cold-warring countries would not have served well as well the suicide of the spy suggested by the gunshot in his house.


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