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Mr. Topaze aka I Like Money
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**NEWLY RESTORED FROM THE LAST SURVIVING 35MM PRINTS AND RELEASED FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER ON BLU RAY AND DVD IN NORTH AMERICA**
**LEGENDARY ACTOR PETER SELLER'S SOLE DIRECTORIAL EFFORT**
Unwilling to sacrifice his principles, Albert Topaze (Peter Sellers), a poor but proud French schoolmaster, loses his job after he refuses to alter the failing grades of one of students. Seizing the opportunity to exploit his well-known honesty, actress Suzy Courtois (Nadia Gray) convinces her lover, the corrupt city council member Castel Benac (Herbert Lom), to hire Topaze as a managing director for one of his shady businesses. But when Topaze learns he is being used, he cunningly turns the tables on Benac and makes off with all the money. Seller s first and only credited directorial feature, Mr. Topaze displays the British comic genius at the peak of his powers alongside his future Pink Panther nemesis Herbert Lom and a stellar supporting cast that includes Nadia Gray, Leo McKern, Billie Whitelaw and Michael Gough. Long considered a lost classic, Mr. Topaze was digitally restored at the request of the British public from the last known surviving 35mm prints held in the BFI National Archive.
Bonus features include, short film Let s Go Crazy (1951), starring Peter Sellers, video essay The Poetry of Realism by Kat Ellinger on Topaze playwright Marcel Pagnol, Abigail McKern Interview with Leo McKern's daughter about her father's life and career, and 24-page booklet with notes on the film s rediscovery by BFI curator Vic Pratt, and a new essay by Roger Lewis, author of The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.
Its abiding bittersweetness, in fact - more than its flashes of familiarly dithering humor - is what has become this 'lost' curio's chief preservative. What stands out, unsurprisingly, is Sellers himself if not his behind-the-scenes navigation, then what obviously mattered most to the ascending star: burnishing his versatility by adding Pagnol's threadbare, dignified pedant with a blind spot to a growing repertoire of memorably amusing/hapless characters. --Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
Peter Sellers directs and stars in this bittersweet comedy, based on a Marcel Pagnol play and chosen by the British public in 2016 to be digitized by the BFI. Described by Sellers biographer Roger Lewis as a lost classic, Mr. Topaze marked the actor's directional feature debut and teamed him with his The Ladykillers cohort and future Pink Panther comic foil Herbert Lom, in a stellar cast that also features Nadia Gray, Leo McKern, Billie Whitelaw and John Le Mesurier. Playing the eponymous Mr. Topaze, a poor, provincial French schoolteacher slowly corrupted by big business, Sellers is at the peak of his powers. This melancholy character comedy , rarely seen since its release ... is essential viewing for fans of Sellers' unique genius. --Gary Tooze, DVD Beaver
[T]he film ... truly shines. Based on a Marcel Pagnol play, it boasts a fine understated central turn from Sellers himself and boasts a stellar cast including the great Herbert Lom (who'd teamed up with Sellers in The Ladykillers some years previously and would later spar so memorably with the comedian in the Pink Panther series as the wonderfully jittery Inspector Dreyfus), Leo McKern, Billie Whitelaw and John Le Mesurier. The story itself may be slight, but Sellers imbues it all with a sense of fun that is right up there with his finest work of the period. That top-class cast have tons of fun bouncing off each other and there's a quaint early-60s charm to it all that renders it almost a masterclass in moody melancholia. --Ralph McLean, The Irish News
- Product Dimensions : 0.7 x 7.5 x 5.4 inches; 2.72 Ounces
- Director : Peter Sellers
- Media Format : NTSC
- Run time : 1 hour and 37 minutes
- Release date : October 27, 2020
- Actors : Peter Sellers, Nadia Gray, Herbert Lom, Leo McKern, Martita Hunt
- Studio : Film Movement
- ASIN : B08H9YHLQG
- Country of Origin : USA
- Number of discs : 1
Best Sellers Rank:
#191,350 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #22,220 in Comedy (Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
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'Mr Topaze' is a low-key, subtle work, not at all what one might expect for Sellers' first and (apart from certain sequences for his final film, 'The Fiendish Plot of Dr Fu Manchu') only self-directed film. There's no Goonish surreal sequences or knockabout farce or even the jazzy improvisational dialogue which he let loose in 'Lolita' or 'Dr Strangelove'. Rather, it proceeds at an even pace, almost dreamlike at times.
Was Peter Sellers any cop as a film director? Yes, he's more than adequate. The story never stumbles, the characters are well-drawn, the film is lovely to look at. Compared with other comedian-turned-directors he's as good as Terry Jones or Chris Morris and certainly not as self-indulgent and sentimental as Jerry Lewis.
The BFI's restoration of this long-thought-lost film is remarkable; it's an admirably fresh-looking print with only the slightest of colour fade.
The extras are an absolute treasure trove. There's over two and a half hours of visual material - including the amateurish but endearingly silly 1951 short 'Let's Go Crazy' (which was an extra on the BFI's issue of the execrable 'Penny Points To Paradise' - or, as I call it, 'Percy Points To Porcelain': How I wish they had added 'The Case of The Mukkinese Battlehorn' instead), and a 1967 interview with Sellers' go-to crystal ball-gazer, the clairvoyant Maurice Woodruff, who makes a series of predictions on the lives of various celebs and politicians and the Vietnam war and gets everything hilariously wrong.
On top of that there's an extra one hour and thirty seven minutes of an excellent quality audio recording of Peter Sellers in a Q and A with an audience at the National Film Theatre in 1960 which is both revealing and amusing.
'Mr Topaze' is not merely some quirky oddity in Sellers' filmography as one might be led to believe by some critics and biographers who quite blatantly had never seen it. The film, although never destined to top the 'Sight & Sound' poll of best movies ever made, has a distinct character, a quiet and insidious snakish charm all of its own, and a conclusion that, even now, may perturb sensibilities.
The BFI have done a grand job in making it available after almost 60 years with four extra hours of bonus material and enlightening booklet.
I enjoyed the "pre-clouseau" scenes with 'Herbert Lom' & 'Sellers' particularly !
This , the only film Peter Sellers directed , has many nice moments but it also has its faults .
However I don't wish to labour over those because it's just great to see this British Comedy and features some lovely
character actors such as , 'John Le Mesurier' , 'Joan Sims' , 'Leo McKern' , Billie Whitelaw and 'Michael Gough'.
The packaging and extras are Superb and deserve 5 stars , so thank you " BFI " for releasing this but I feel that 3 stars are apposite for the film although my heart wanted to give 4 for the overall experience .
Now , all we need is " A Carol For Another Christmas " to be released and then pretty much every Peter Sellers film will be available !
If you check out the lobby cards for 'I like money' [USA title] on line and one of the stills on the disc , there appears to be a scene with Joan Sims and a policeman that is not in this version.
It may be that this scene is only in the USA release or was cut prior to release but included in the promo pictures to spice up the publicity.
A real shame as Joan Sim is only on screen for a few seconds in this version and that was the only reasons I wanted to see the film and as no other prints of the film have been found looks like I will never see that scene.
p.s. if you a Peter Sellers fan , it is a great little [gentle] comedy .