Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
The best-selling spy novel bursts onto the screen in this riveting story of adventure and international intrigue. John Forsythe stars as an American CIA agent who hires a French operative (Frederick Stafford) to travel to Cuba and investigate rumors of Russian missiles and Topaz, a NATO spy. The inquiry soon spins into a life-threatening escapade of espionage, betrayal and murder.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
As far as the film goes, what is on the disk represents one of Hitchcock's better efforts. I rate it as a classic, although not in quite in the same league as "Rear Window" or "North by Northwest". Keep in mind that the movie on the disk is mostly the nearly two and one half hour uncut version that was shown to sneak preview audiences, but without the duel ending, which audiences hated. The ending used shows Granville heading to Moscow and Devereaux heading back to Washington at the same time, and represents, at least to me, classic dark Hitchcock humor. The theatrically released version was nearly half an hour shorter then the preview version, and ended with the shot behind the door suggesting that Granville had committed suicide. While that ending is better than the duel, removing nearly half an hour led to some story continuity issues in the theatrically released version. The theatrically released version bombed, with the lack of stars, acting issues, the ending, and a style very different to what audiences expected from Hitchcock frequently cited as reasons.
Nearly 50 years later, the film has held up surprisingly well. We are fortunate enough for the disk to have the correct (long) version of the film with the correct ending (Deveraux and Granville leaving at the same time), and although this version clocks in at 2 hours 22 minutes long, it is not really draggy.
The production values are stupendous. Hitchcock was a set designer at UFA before becoming a director, and with any film where he had any kind of budget to work with, the sets and shooting locations are almost always among the best in cinema. While he never took credit for cinematography, Hitchcock was undoubtedly a master cinematographer, and was as inventive in his own way as Stanley Kubrick was. The film features great shot after great shot, with the showstopper being the murder of Juanita Cordoba by Rico Para. The sets and cinematography are so good that I always enjoy rewatching this movie even though I have seen it many times.
Hitchcock wanted a different atmosphere for the film and used many European actors, as well as not well known American actors such as John Vernon. The only actor that most American audiences of the time would recognize is John Forsythe. Some of the acting has been criticized, especially that of Frederick Stafford. I didn't find Stafford's performance bad, especially if you want to compare it to that of really wooden actors like Victor Mature. Stafford and Dany Robin, while unknown to American audiences, were legitimate European stars. I suspect that they could be had for quite a bit less than equivalent American stars would cost, especially Robin as her career was suffering by the late 1960s and Topaz was her last film before she retired.
The money saved on actors was certainly well spent on production values. Aside from the locations, sets and cinematography that I have already mentioned, the legendary Edith head did the costumes and the great Maurice Jarré contributed an excellent and engaging soundtrack.
Some of the criticism of this film has been so vicious that I suspect that the motives of some of the people who dislike the film may have been political. The movie is a political thriller, and shows the post-revolutionary Cuban government functionaries as the thugs they undoubtedly were. That portrayal no doubt has upset the apologists for the Cuban revolution, but it is worth remembering 50 years on that there is no doubt that Fidel Castro attempted to start a nuclear war between the United States and the U.S.S.R.
Overall, I rate this film as one of the best Cold War/spy films, and I get as much enjoyment from watching it as I get from watching "The Spy Who Came In from the Cold". Enjoy!