Topaz (1969)

April 23rd, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock | Cast: Frederick Stafford, Dany Robin, John Vernon, Karin Dor, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret  | UK Thriller 143’

A film by Hitchcock set against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis sounds promising, but this adaptation of Leon Uris’s novel just doesn’t work and despite being one of Hitchcock’s most expensive and elaborate films is also one of his dullest, dying at the box office and today languishing in well-deserved obscurity.

Seriously compromised by undercast leads, denied the talents of key personnel from his halcyon days of the fifties and largely devoid of his characteristic black humour, the British veteran’s frequent indecision during filming – including a hastily contrived alternative ending – shows in the end result.

Bad Hitchcock of course is better than no Hitchcock and ‘Topaz’ contains at least two scenes worthy of The Master involving Philippe Noiret and Karin Dor. @RichardChatten


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