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Monday, February 25, 2013

Topaz (1969)

After a high ranking KGB official (Per Axel Arosenius) defects to the U.S., he provides information that there is a high ranking French government official who is leaking top secret information to the Soviets. A CIA agent (John Forsythe) asks a French diplomat (Frederick Stafford) to help ferret out the traitor. Based on the novel by Leon Uris (EXODUS), this is one of director Alfred Hitchcock's worst films. One of Hitchcock's longest films (it pushes the 2 1/2 hour mark), this spy thriller is one long dull affair. This one could have used some razor sharp editing shears but even then I'm not sure the film could have been salvaged. Reputedly, Hitchcock wasn't much interested in the source material but Universal urged it on him and he acquiesced. It shows. At the heart of the film is the wooden Stafford who's playing a not particularly likable character and the actor should be likable to make the part work. If a more appealing actor had been cast it might have helped but on the whole the acting is indifferent. Some exceptions: Philippe Noiret, Roscoe Lee Browne and Karin Dor. The headache inducing score which just won't shut up is by Maurice Jarre. With Michel Piccoli, Dany Robin, John Vernon, Claude Jade (STOLEN KISSES), John Van Dreelen, Carlos Rivas (THE KING AND I), John Dehner and Ann Doran.

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