Review: ‘Topper’

With the assistance of Norman McLeod, as director, Hal Roach has produced a weird and baffling tale of spiritualism. It is entitled Topper, from the novel by Thorne Smith. It is carefully made, excellently photographed, and adroitly employs mechanical illusions and trick sound effects.

With the assistance of Norman McLeod, as director, Hal Roach has produced a weird and baffling tale of spiritualism. It is entitled Topper, from the novel by Thorne Smith. It is carefully made, excellently photographed, and adroitly employs mechanical illusions and trick sound effects.

Story is about the adventures, among living persons, of a young married couple, George and Marion Kerby, who are killed in an automobile smashup as the climax of a wild night of drinking and carousing. Their astral bodies rise from the ruins, and they agree that until they have done someone a good deed they are likely to remain indefinitely in a state of double exposure.

Reviewing the possibilities for charitable action, they decide that their friend, Cosmo Topper, a hen-pecked bank president, who has lived a dull, routine life, shall have the benefit of their assistance.

Performances are usually good. Cary Grant and Constance Bennett, as the reincarnated Kerbys, do their assignments with great skill. Roland Young carries the brunt of the story and does it well. In the title role, he is the docile, good citizen until the transformation of his personality changes him into a dashing man about town.

1937: Nomination: Best Sound

Topper

Production

Roach/M-G-M. Director Norman Z. McLeod; Producer Milton H. Bren (assoc.); Screenplay Jack Jevne, Eric Hatch, Eddie Moran; Camera Norbert Brodine; Editor William Terhune; Music Arthur Morton (arr.); Art Director Arthur I. Royce

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1937. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Cary Grant Constance Bennett Roland Young Billie Burke Alan Mowbray Eugene Pallette
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