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Topaz [VHS] (1969)

Frederick Stafford , Dany Robin , Alfred Hitchcock  |  PG |  VHS Tape
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Frederick Stafford, Dany Robin, John Vernon, Karin Dor, Michel Piccoli
  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writers: Leon Uris, Samuel A. Taylor
  • Producers: Alfred Hitchcock, Herbert Coleman
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, NTSC
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • VHS Release Date: August 3, 1999
  • Run Time: 143 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0783235615
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,075 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Topaz [VHS]

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back from the dead. August 2, 2006
The reasessment of Hitchcock's 1960's work continues, begun with the amazing Marnie. (Torn Curtain may be a lost cause, however.) It's fair to say that Topaz benefits from this ongoing reconsideration. It's just a very good movie.

The plot follows an episodic but compelling arc along the trail of French cold-war spy leaks. A number of satisfying (and inter-twining) sub-stories among the large cast are well presented. The parallel infidelities of the Stafford/Robin husband and wife are interesting and key to ultimate plot resolution. Some very nice "set pieces" are included, the tent poles that support Hitchcock movies. I found the location photography to be both realistic and refreshing. The film's main fault, of course, is the absence of a convincing ending. How Hitch believed that the "duel" ending would stand up is beyond me. I'm not sure how Uris ended his book.

Jarre's music is almost laughable, certainly in comparison with the monumental Herrmann. Topaz is a serious movie about serious themes (betrayal, good versus evil) and Jarre's music does nothing to advance these themes.

Finally, Leonard Maltin's commentary touches powerfully on Hitchcock's directorial powers, the likes of which are few and far-between these days. Outside of maybe Soderberg and Tykwer, most modern-day directors have little idea of where to place the camera, how to sequence images through cutting, et al. (Poster child of directorial ineptitude is Ron Howard who absolutely doesn't have a clue.) Suffice it to say that Topaz is a very well directed movie that delivers visual style and meaning in spades.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Second-Rate Hitchcock Has Its Moments September 23, 2005
Director Alfred Hitchcock's uneven adaptation of Leon Uris' "Topaz" does not rank among his finest efforts. However, the 1969 espionage thriller is not without merit. There are classic Hitchcockian touches scattered amidst a rather overlong story, particularly his imaginative use of sound during the New York segments. Though lacking in star power, the international cast (particularly John Forsythe, Frederick Stafford, Roscoe Lee Browne, John Vernon and Karin Dor) is better than expected. Unfortunately, the film suffers from several lengthy dialogue sequences that bog down the globe-trotting narrative. "Topaz" cries out for more action - and less talk - from the Master of Suspense.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Hitchcock Spy Thriller With Great Acting September 30, 2005
Despite the failure of "Torn Curtain", Hitchcock decided to make another Cold War spy thriller. Based on the Leon Uris novel of the same name, "Topaz" is meant to be an exciting and suspenseful spy drama. However, it comes off as poor excuse for a James Bond movie.

If that last comment seemed harsh, don't take it to heart. "Topaz" has actually aged fairly well. It isn't a masterpiece and pales in comparison to even "Torn Curtain", but it sill makes for an entertainign film.

The film's plot involves a CIA agent (John Forsythe) who has French operative by the name of Deveraux (Frederick Stafford) go to Cuba and intercept Russian missile rumors and a Nato spy named Topaz. While in Havana, Deveraux's investigation becomes riskier with each move. People are double crossed, mudered and comitting suicide. When he returns home to Paris, the danger builds, leading up to a predictable but overall satisfying end.

The film does have some good things going for it. It is far from Hitch's best work, but some of the scenes are fantastic. The acting is top notch as well, especially Stafford, John Vernon and Forsythe. The extras are cool, especially the three alternate endings. I don't highly recommend "Topaz", but it certainly won't be a waste if you buy it.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Had potential. . . November 18, 2004

Topaz is one of those movies that when I watch it I keep checking the time to figure out how much longer I have to watch it. The reason is simple. There are some great scenes and there is an okay story but it takes to long to actually get to the story. The movie picks up for me whem Frederick Stafford goes to New York. I think the movie could have included only a little bit of the things that happened before since we are told that there is a defecting russian (Credits). Then have the russian defector tell what he knows. Finally John Forsyth commissions Frederick Stafford in his hotel room and the movie starts like that. I would take other bits here and there out. It could have been a great hour and 45 minute movie! It would have had it's problems but it would be enjoyable. (Many would disagree that so much could be taken out but this is my opinion.) This brings me to ----


I like that there is an uncut version on the dvd- the problem is the SHORTER theatrical version should have also been included! It needed the trimming that was done for it's theatrical release! Why didn't they include both versions, or the theatrical version with a deleted scenes archive (prefferably both versions)? The fact that the un tightened version is all that is included adds to what was wrong with the film - even in it's theatrical release. Once again I like the fact the uncut version is included but it shouldn't be ALL that was included.

The documentary rocks. I enjoyed it. It isn't the best documentary in the Universal Hitchcock dvd library but it rocks just the same.

I like that they included the three different endings as well...

The trailer isn't his best but is worth a look as well.

The other extras are rather standard but it is nice to have them anyway.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock does it again
Hitchcock and the Cold War = exciting exploits
Published 11 days ago by WUFFMAN
4.0 out of 5 stars I really liked that.
Prompt delivery of this item. I really liked that.
Published 15 days ago by Tony Ramon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
EXCELLENT! Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!
Published 1 month ago by William Boyd
5.0 out of 5 stars TOPAZ...another Hitchcock triumph!!!!!
Topaz is a fantastic movie with great acting, suspense and mystery. I've always loved watching it and now I have my own copy!! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Michele Barnett
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Item was exactly as shown and delivered in a timely manner.
Published 1 month ago by John Sziber
5.0 out of 5 stars ... looking for this film for a long time -- great
Have been looking for this film for a long time -- great
Published 2 months ago by Jack M Englebrecht
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairly unknown Hitchcock movie that hits it out of the park!
Great story with top notch acting and fast moving plot. One of my favorite A.H. movies that has been remastered to have a great picture and very good audio.
Published 3 months ago by CEH One, Inc
4.0 out of 5 stars good spy thriller
There are no big name stars here, but for me this gives it more authenticity. An underated movie that is very worth while
Published 6 months ago by marway
5.0 out of 5 stars Tradecraft
I have no particular experience in films and film-making, and thus I am no critic of the art. So the comments of the 'critiques d`art don't reach me. Read more
Published 6 months ago by David B. O'Connor
4.0 out of 5 stars (BLU RAY REVIEW) 3 1/2 stars for a bloated Hitchcock spy thriller
I've seen most of Alfred Hitchcock's films but this is the first time I've seen this espionage thriller. Read more
Published 6 months ago by M. Oleson
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