Written by / 8/02/2020 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ALFRED HITCHCOCK TAKING ON COLD WAR CUBA FOR 'TOPAZ'

Frederick Stafford & Claude Jade 1969 Rating: ***1/2
In Alfred Hitchcock's underrated Cold War Thriller TOPAZ, by the time there's someone to root for in French spy Frederick Stafford, seeking info in Castro's Cuba after scene-stealing, sneak-around Roscoe Lee Browne risked his life to lift an important briefcase (the McGuffin) in Harlem, we've forgotten it all started with John Forsythe helping an important Russian family defect in what feels like its own suspenseful short film...

The problem is length: After the splendid demise of beautiful Cuban Castro-hating Karin Dor (having had an ongoing affair with the married Frenchman) in the only moment TOPAZ is linked to Hitchcock's legendary style... a dress seeming to bleed into the floor... there's a lot of talky running-out-the-clock (including our French spy's worried wife Dany Robin and daughter Claude Jade getting shoved into the danger) with villain John Vernon as a bright-blue-eyed Cuban General; what's really shocking is he only seems miscast. His input early on is actually quite effective. But it's one outdoor sequence involving two hungry seagulls (from the director of THE BIRDS no less!)... screwing up a perfectly good spying-on-the-villains-picnic... that really feels like Hitchcock's dark comedy touch. He simply needed more touches here.
Roscoe Lee Browne owns his own segment in TOPAZ
Tina Hedström and John Forsythe in TOPAZ
Daughter of the French spy Claude Jade in TOPAZ with husband Michel Subor
Frederick Stafford and John Forsythe in TOPAZ
Frederick Stafford and Roscoe Lee Browne in TOPAZ
John Vernon as a blue eyed Cuban in TOPAZ
Seagull Picnic scene in TOPAZ
Seagull Picnic scene in TOPAZ
Opening Credits in TOPAZ
Karin Dor in TOPAZ
John Vernon in TOPAZ
Karin Dor and Frederick Stafford in TOPAZ
Frederick Stafford  and daughter-in-peril Claude Jade from TOPAZ
Frederick Stafford  and wife Dany Robin from TOPAZ
Frederick Stafford  pouring it on from Hitchcock's TOPAZ
Karin Dor and John Verson in TOPAZ from the Purple Dress Scene

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