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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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Alfred Hitchcock started directing films during the silent movie era. He felt that people's presence on the screen was enhanced by their facial expressions and physical movement. Read morePublished 5 days ago by WDR7
Terrible acting. Deviated from the book. Thought Hitchcock was better than this!Published 10 days ago by Tim Kearney
A movie that holds your attention from beginning to end. The setting and time frame may seem dated in some ways, but that is completely irrelevant from the perspective of the... Read morePublished 29 days ago by William T. Sawyer
I first saw Topaz when it was released and was very disappointed because it was because not what I was hoping to see, I.e. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Entertaining spy drama. Not a spy masterpiece on the order of Odessa File, Funeral in Berlin, etc. Worthwhile is you're looking for a suspence story.Published 1 month ago by Cal
Excellent film; one of my favorite Hitchcock movies. I would rank this at the top of his second tier movies..... Read morePublished 2 months ago by michael schneider
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