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Alfred Hitchcock's "Topaz" (1969) it's an interesting but flawed film.  I always thought it was probably Hitchcok's dullest movie until I re watched on blu ray.  It's better than I remember- the blu ray has Hitcchock's original long cut with the the three different endings as extra.  The first problem is the episodic script about spies during the cold war.   We never really care about Deveraux( Fredrick Stafford) he seems send other people to do his spy work and there is never any sense that he is really in danger. The best part of the movie to me was the section set in Cuba with Karin Dor and John Vernon who give the best performances.  Dor's memorable final scene in the visual highlight of the movie.  The other major problem is the cast- after dealing with a demanding Paul Newman in "Torn Curtain" - Hitchcock cast this with good actor who lack star charisma. This is specially a problem with Stafford- I can imagine Louis Jourdan or someone less stiff in the lead.  This is specially true in the final section set in France dealing with the unmasking of "Topaz" the Russian's agent working in the French government.   The movie lacks action and seems to be made of endless conversation about stuff we don't care about.  Hitchcock's original ending was a duel that for reasons preview audiences did not like. The other endings are not very exciting either.  But even with it's weakness any film by Hitchcock is worth watching.

 

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I like this film very much and consider it one of Hitchcock's best from the 60s & 70s. It feels a bit more politically relevant than more lauded works like PSYCHO and THE BIRDS. 

Stafford is a very handsome man, and I think he does fine...though I can't help but think he was cast because he looks a bit like a younger Cary Grant. I wouldn't be surprised if the script was devised with the idea of luring Grant out of retirement. 

John Forsythe gives another dependable performance and of course he'd worked with Hitch previously on THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY. 

I agree that the Cuban sequence is the best part of this film, especially the graphic death scene which seems more artistic than brutal. 

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

I like this film very much and consider it one of Hitchcock's best from the 60s & 70s. It feels a bit more politically relevant than more lauded works like PSYCHO and THE BIRDS. 

Stafford is a very handsome man, and I think he does fine...though I can't help but think he was cast because he looks a bit like a younger Cary Grant. I wouldn't be surprised if the script was devised with the idea of luring Grant out of retirement. 

John Forsythe gives another dependable performance and of course he'd worked with Hitch previously on THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY. 

I agree that the Cuban sequence is the best part of this film, especially the graphic death scene which seems more artistic than brutal. 

Stafford does look like Grant but he lacks Grant's star charisma.  He is closer to John Gavin.  Maybe you are right and Hitchcock might have wanted Grant. The problem I have with the Deveraux story line is that he is never in any real danger not even in Cuba- but Hitchcock seems to want to avoid any real action scene- we never see son in law's encounter with the Russian agents.  Forsythe is as usual dependable but dull. I kept hoping he turned out to be Deverauxe's lover ! I mean he keeps interrupting the relationship with the boring French wife- another role that would have benefited from a star.  The only two characters who are really alive are Juanita and Parra.  Vernon give a specially charismatic perfomance and he looks great in blu ray. 

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22 minutes ago, jaragon said:

Stafford does look like Grant but he lacks Grant's star charisma.  He is closer to John Gavin.  Maybe you are right and Hitchcock might have wanted Grant. The problem I have with the Deveraux story line is that he is never in any real danger not even in Cuba- but Hitchcock seems to want to avoid any real action scene- we never see son in law's encounter with the Russian agents.  Forsythe is as usual dependable but dull. I kept hoping he turned out to be Deverauxe's lover ! I mean he keeps interrupting the relationship with the boring French wife- another role that would have benefited from a star.  The only two characters who are really alive are Juanita and Parra.  Vernon give a specially charismatic perfomance and he looks great in blu ray. 

Forsythe also gives a dependable performance in the thriller IN COLD BLOOD (1967) from the same period. Then Forsythe turns up as Jean Simmons' perfect but unloving husband in THE HAPPY ENDING (1969). Forsythe had become typecast in television roles, where he was enormously successful...but somehow he managed to keep his movie career going by landing parts in big budget "A" films with top directors (probably the roles nobody else wanted).

Of course Forsythe had the last laugh...because in the early 2000s, he was paid $5 million to do the voice-over work for the title character in the CHARLIE'S ANGELS movies.  

***

By the way, Stafford has a very sexy backside. 

Gregory Peck, who had worked with Hitch before and was far from retired in 1969, might have been a more bankable star in Stafford's place.

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3 hours ago, TopBilled said:

orsythe also gives a dependable performance in the thriller IN COLD BLOOD (1967) from the same period. Then Forsythe turns up as Jean Simmons' perfect but unloving husband in THE HAPPY ENDING (1969). Forsythe had become typecast in television roles, where he was enormously successful...but somehow he managed to keep his movie career going by landing parts in big budget "A" films with top directors (probably the roles nobody else wanted).

Of course Forsythe had the last laugh...because in the early 2000s, he was paid $5 million to do the voice-over work for the title character in the CHARLIE'S ANGELS movies.  

***

By the way, Stafford has a very sexy backside. 

Gregory Peck, who had worked with Hitch before and was far from retired in 1969, might have been a more bankable star in Stafford's place.

Forsythe had a long career for a reason - he was the reliable mid 20th century American male type.    Stafford is an attractive man but he seems to be sleep walking in "Topaz" he seems a bit more exciting playing the french James Bond. 

I thought Gregory Peck as the lead for "Topaz" but how was he going to play Deveraux? He is too American

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