By modern standards its hard to tell the difference much between the monotony of complacency and freewheeling depicted here, but still a grand time is had by all in this, the film that solidified Cary Grant as major star material. But this is a team effort, everyone onscreen contributing to the smiles that follow.
This is a classic Hal Roach screw-ball comedy with a huge cast of familiar character actors. It's one of my favorite Cary Grant movies, although we really don't see that much of him.
George (Grant) and Marion Kerby (Constance Bennett) are the fun-loving idle rich married couple, while stuffy, middle-aged, Cosmo Topper (Roland Young) is a stick-in-mud banker.
In a car accident George and Marion are both killed and think that they can't go to heaven without doing a good deed. They take on poor Cosmo as their project to loosen him up, despite the objections of his class-conscious wife, played by Billie Burke.
Maybe it's a mid-life crisis, or maybe it's just Cosmo Topper seeing George and Marion dying so early in their lives and him not feeling that he's having as much fun in his and his wife's life. Cosmo holds onto George and Marion's repaired V-12 Duesenburg despite being more than a handful to drive.
Once he starts seeing George and Marion in his life, he's in for even more trouble.
Charming stuff, and Constance Bennett is a real cutie who I'm just discovering in this film.
Marion and George Kerby are a carefree couple that don't take life too seriously and love having fun drinking, singing, and dancing. One unfortunate day, they have a car accident and pass away. They realize shortly after passing that they haven't done too many good deeds and now as ghosts they need to get their number of good deeds up. They decide to help an aging gentleman that has a pain in the ass wife and rarely has any fun. They'll find it hard to make his life better without completely ruining it.
"I think we're dead."
"I think you're right.
Norman McLeod, director of Road to Rio, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, Alias Jesse James, Casanova's Big Night, and The Kid from Brooklyn, delivers Tropper. The storyline for this picture is okay but the script is awesome. The acting is outstanding and Cary Grant is wonderful as the main character with his charm and charisma. The cast also includes Constance Bennett, Roland Young, Billie Burke, and Alan Mowbray.
"Hey, what is this?"
"It's a dog."
"Are you trying to make a sap out of me?"
"It's too late."
This marks another film DVR'd off the great Turner Classic Movies (TCM). I am a huge Cary Grant fan and was surprised I never heard of this film. It was pretty good but not great. This is definitely an above average picture that is worth a viewing but far from my favorite Grant film.
"Make him go away."
"I can't, he's a C-O-P."
"Oh, tell him we don't want any."
Wild '30s millionaires George (Cary Grant) and Marion (Constance Bennett) Kerby are leaving a bank officals' meeting when George drives them off the road, and they are killed. Later, the head of that bank, Cosmo Topper (third-billed Roland Young), buys their car and manages to crash it in exactly the same place. The Kerbys take him on as a project, believing that improving Topper's life will be their ticket to Heaven. Marion believes that an important aspect is to loosen him up, which only goes to complicate his life and drive away Mrs. Topper, Clara (Billie Burke). She and George do not always manifest; they say it wastes ectoplasm and stay invisible as often as not, which of course leads to all sorts of wacky hijinks. In the second movie, Gail Richards (Joan Blondell) is killed at the palatial estate of her best friend, Ann Carrington (Carole Landis). Only it's a mistake, and Ann--the heiress--is the one who was supposed to be killed. She goes down the road to the Toppers' vacation house (I think) to enlist his help for some reason.
The Kerbys may well be right about Topper. He leads an awfully stuffy life, following very precise timetables. He eats the same food at the same time every day. Now, it's true that people who need to catch a train at a certain time will have to leave at the same time every day. But the same food part? He does rather tend to follow his wife's every whim. He only encounters the post-mortem Kirbys because he's suddenly sick of the whole thing; it seems that, had they come into his life at any other time, all their plans would come to naught--and it's a thing that they couldn't have done alive, even had they tried. It's clear that his brief rebellion is in no small part because he was rather jealous of them. Not to mention hot for Marion.
As for the sequel . . . . I think it's odd, really, that they brought in Eddie Anderson (Rochester from the Jack Benny radio and TV shows). The first movies seems to have gotten by just fine without the kind of wacky hijinks involved here. I mean, it was far from a serious movie, but apparently, it makes a better movie if you have a comic stereotype running around. He does find a couple of plot points, and that's handy. I just don't understand why he had to be the one who did it. And, of course, Mrs. Topper is herself pretty much a caricature. And then there's Ellen, the maid, played by Patsy Kelly, who would go on to be the surly housekeeper in [i]Freaky Friday[/i] and the delightful Mrs. Rafferty in [i]North Avenue Irregulars[/i]. I guess sans Cary Grant and Constance Bennett, they just had to work harder to make it funny.
The odd thing is how little the various characters' deaths seem to affect anyone. Mrs. Topper outright disliked the Kerbys. However, aside from the bank and the people in their apartment building, they didn't really seem to have much of anyone else to care one way or another. Clearly, they had no children; apparently, they didn't have any other family or friends, either. As for Gail, she did have a best friend, or at least so it seems, and while I do understand that Ann had a lot on her mind during that night, she seems awful fast to drown her sorrows in Bob (Dennis O'Keefe), the taxi driver they met just that day. Oh, he's the strong, handsome, dashing type, but seriously! Is Gail just not that interesting? She seems to make more of an impact on Topper dead than she did on Ann alive, at least you'd think so to see Ann fail to grieve.
full review coming soon