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Topaz (1969)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0

audience

37

liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 6,154

My Rating

Movie Info

Filmed on locations ranging from Denmark to the Universal backlot, Alfred Hitchcock's Topaz is based on a novel by Leon Uris. Frederick Stafford, a veteran of European-filmed James Bond rip-offs of the 1960s, is cast as Andre Devereaux, a French secret agent assigned to snoop around Cuba in the months prior to the 1962 missile crisis. Someone is supplying Castro -- and, by extension, Moscow -- with NATO secrets; it is up to Devereaux to liquidate the "mole." Aiding Devereaux is CIA agent

Mar 6, 2001

Universal Pictures

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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (5) | DVD (11)

Topaz is not only most entertaining. It is, like so many Hitchcock films, a cautionary fable by one of the most moral cynics of our time.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of Hitchcock's weaker films, this Cold War espionage tale lacks tension and suspense but it bears some artistic merits, including color scheme.

March 7, 2013 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

The muddled Samuel Taylor screenplay smelled so bad I wouldn't wrap fish in it.

January 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Not Hitchcock's best work, but Hitchcock nevertheless.

October 5, 2006
ColeSmithey.com

Rather tedious Hitchcock, but still heads above most suspensers.

October 16, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Not Alfred Hitchcock at his best.

August 2, 2004
Reeling Reviews

Possibly Hitchcock's worst movie. A crashing bore.

November 6, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Hitchcock's notorious reliance on stock footage and his affection for blue screening rather than adding veracity or contributing to the artifice of the filmmaking process, make it seem like his heart isn't really in it.

March 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Topaz

I had heard that, among the lesser films of Hitchcock's filmography, this was basically the bottom of the barrel, and you know what? That's not completely wrong.

Now, it's not a terrible film per se, but it certainly doesn't have a lot going for it. The plot is the old Cold War spy intrigue/mole hunt sort of thing, with emphasis on a French operative diving into Soviet and Cuban dealings around the time of the Cuban Missle Crisis. The storyline is heavily fact based, and as a result, is pretty cut and dried, and not really as compelling as it should be.

It doesn't help that Hitch made a lot of films like this already, most of them better, and ones I saw before this one. Even though it has ties to reality, the film is dull, not engaging, and kind of a bore. I really didn't care what was happening most of the time, and that's really not a good sign considering the film's long running time.

The film's not all bad though. It has a lot of merit from a technical standpoint, with some good locations, sets, and camerawork. Maurice Jarre's score is also really good, and probably the film's highlight, aside from the film scene Karin Dor is in. Speaking of actors, this could probably have benefited from some serious star power. That wouldn't be a guarantee that it would've helped, but you never know. I do think the highlight as far as acting goes to John Vernon, and his portrayal of a Cuban revolutionary is both bewildering and awesome. I t probably wouldn't fly today, and, while I'm not sure why they got a Canadian to play a Cuban, I won't complain either, as I think Vernon was a solid character actor.

All in all, the film is just kinda 'meh'. I mostly just think the film falls because it all feels very routine and phoned in. Of course, when you're Hitchcock, I guess it's okay to not be on the top of your game all the time...even though it happened to him a few times, especially during the latter years. See it if you want, but just know that its reputation is pretty true.
May 18, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Hitchcock most European film is very interesting look at the Cold War.
December 2, 2011
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

Topaz isn't all bad but it's certainly not one of Hitchcock's best. I liked the way the agent with a double life was portrayed in the film and unlike a lot of the critics at the time, I'm glad it starred reasonably unknown actors for a change. The lunch scene towards the end of the film was quite good as was the 'florist' scene but these are all just echos from a director who just wasn't as great towards his later films.
May 16, 2011
SirPant

Super Reviewer

For the most part this movie is incredibly dull, and deals with politics, war, and spies. Although Hitchcock has done spy movies before, none were ever as boring as this one. And where did he find his cast? I don't think I've heard of anyone in this cast list before. It was an interesting idea to not use the same stars he'd been using before, but none of them really stand out as great actors you'd like to see again. The story too is unknown, I mean we do find out what Topaz is, but then we don't get a very clear ending, and we wonder why everything we saw happen happened. Overall, not a good movie, but it could've been worse, at least there were a few action packed scenes.
December 15, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

    1. Boris Kusenov: He would never take it from an American. Now that I have given you this information, what are you going to do with it?
    – Submitted by George P (7 months ago)
    1. American Official: Does he hate American money?
    – Submitted by George P (7 months ago)
    1. Michael Nordstrom: He hates Americans. His son was killed at The Bay of Pigs.
    – Submitted by George P (7 months ago)
    1. Boris Kusenov: I have used him. But he is of no use to you.
    – Submitted by George P (7 months ago)
    1. Boris Kusenov: He is a security risk.
    – Submitted by George P (7 months ago)
    1. Boris Kusenov: Ah! You have become smart.
    – Submitted by George P (7 months ago)
View all quotes (8)

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Foreign Titles

  • Topas (DE)
  • Topaz (UK)
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