Topaze

1933

Comedy / Drama

100
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 627

Synopsis


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724.9 MB
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English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
78 min
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1.31 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
78 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gerrythree 10 / 10 / 10

Class Movie and Great Performance by John Barrymore

"Topaze" is another of those quality movies from the early 1930s that showed in theaters once, and then vanished for decades. There was a laser disc release of this movie on the CBS label 60 years after "Topaze" original release in 1933, but nothing in between. TCM probably showed the movie, but I never spotted it on that cable channel's schedule. John Barrymore was at the peak of his Hollywood career when he made this movie, playing Professor Topaze, who learns the hard way that nice guys finish last. "Topaze" was just another movie on the studio production schedule, but try and find now a movie with the quality and entertainment value of "Topaze," along with commentary thrown in on the world of business. Ben Hecht wrote that he only spent a few weeks writing the screenplay for "Topaze," considering the work just another job for hire, fast money. That attitude, take the money and run, probably applied to John Barrymore, who worked for the studio that agreed to pay his $25,000 a week salary. David O. Selznick, the movie's producer, knew that RKO Studios was in financial trouble, heading for bankruptcy, but Barrymore was one of the biggest Hollywood stars in the early 30s, worth the money. "Topaze," the end result of the work of the talent RKO brought to the screen, is part cynical take on business, part romantic comedy and all original for Hollywood. Henri d'Abbadie d'Arrast, the movie's director, does a great job of pacing this story of a school teacher thrown in the big world as a pitchman for a company selling tainted bottled water. D'Abbadie d'Arrast had no career in Hollywood after this movie flopped. In one scene in the movie, the backers of the bottled water, thinking over who they can get to promote the water, think about hiring a famous general as their shill. Instead, they decide on a teacher named Dr. Topaze, a teacher at the school one backer's child goes to, and name their product Topaze water. Over 70 years later, advertisers still use researchers and scientists in their commercials to push their products. Maybe D'Abbadie d'Arrast career went south after going over budget on the movie by not doing everything possible to film all of Barrymore's scenes within two weeks, as William Wyler did making a later Barrymore picture, "Counsellor at Law." Hollywood lost a top craftsman when D'Abbadie d'Arrast stopped directing movies. In "Topaze," Barrymore is great as Dr.Topaze, Myrna Loy looks great and the audience even learns something about the Punic Wars. What a class picture. FYI: At the 42 minute mark of Topaze, John Barrymore and Myrna Loy are in a cab driving down a main thoroughfare in Paris during a rainstorm. The rear window of the cab shows the traffic behind them and, once or twice, a pedestrian behind them crossing the street in the rear projection shot. At 44 minutes, the image dissolves for a fraction of a second, whiting out, and the special effects technician replays some of the one and one half minutes of stock footage previously rear-projected. Someone at RKO made a copy of the stock footage and spliced some of this copy footage to the end of original footage to end up with the two or so minutes of rear projection footage needed for the cab scene. Clever, huh, and you would never notice it if not for that momentary glitch as the rear image whites out. All routine for Vernon Walker's RKO special effects unit. But, as usual, very well done.

Reviewed by RJV 10 / 10 / 10

Witty satire with a sparkling Barrymore performance

(POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD) TOPAZE is a minor masterpiece. Although the film was released in 1933, the humor remains timely. John Barrymore carries the movie with a beautifully restrained and shaded performance. He plays Auguste Topaze, an honest and naive schoolteacher. His honesty causes him to lose his job when he fails a student (Jackie Searl) who comes from an influential, blue-blooded family. His naivete causes him to become the unwitting dupe in a fraudulent advertising campaign. The student's father, Baron Philippe De La Tour (Reginald Mason), exploits Topaze's impeccable reputation by using his name to market a spurious curative water, "Sparkling Topaze." Because corporations still promote their products with celebrities' endorsements, modern audiences can appreciate TOPAZE's satire on advertising. What makes the film remarkable is Barrymore's acting. His portrayal of Topaze has none of the traits of Barrymore's other roles- no seducing, no carousing, and no emoting (though not to imply that his emoting wasn't fascinating). Barrymore credibly conveys the character of a mild-mannered, guileless naif who sincerely believes the tired platitudes he preaches in his class. He demonstrates his innocence with a look of astonishment in his eyes and with a soft, serene cadence in his voice. One believes Barrymore's Topaze an easy target for La Tour's scheme. In the film's climax, Topaze's character undergoes a swift transformation. However, it is thoroughly believable thanks to director Harry D'Arrast's deft handling of the plot twist and Barrymore's nuanced performance. The film's resolution is richly satisfying, avoiding sentimental cliches to wryly bring everything full circle. TOPAZE represents a high point in John Barrymore's career.

Reviewed by Enrique-Sanchez-56 10 / 10 / 10

Marvelous Undiscovered Classic

Yes, indeed. Barrymore at his best. Charming story about a French schoolmaster who is unwittingly embroiled in a controversy that forces him to face truth, honesty and integrity outside of his classroom walls. Barrymore and a fresh-faced Myrna Loy are the stand-outs in this engrossing part melodrama, part comedy. And I mean comedy in the most strictest, serious forms. Full of pathos and irony. The final scenes of comeuppance and the balancing of justice have been done over and over in many movies since and probably before, but never so deliciously biting as in this simple but strong story. Recommended without reservations.

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