This is the third feature film which Hal Roach has produced from the strikingly original ideas and characters conceived by Thorne Smith in his use of astral bodies to motivate the hilarious and nonsensical actions of living persons. Roland Young again appears as Topper, the mild-mannered suburbanite whose quiet way of life is rudely upset by his strange affinity for spirits that lead him into weird complications. Billie Burke is his flighty wife, and the newcomers are Joan Blondell and Carole Landis.

This is the third feature film which Hal Roach has produced from the strikingly original ideas and characters conceived by Thorne Smith in his use of astral bodies to motivate the hilarious and nonsensical actions of living persons. Roland Young again appears as Topper, the mild-mannered suburbanite whose quiet way of life is rudely upset by his strange affinity for spirits that lead him into weird complications. Billie Burke is his flighty wife, and the newcomers are Joan Blondell and Carole Landis.

This time the innocent Young is dragged into the midst of a murder mystery, in the solving of which he has able and amusing assistance from Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, who just about steals the picture from the other players.

Blondell is murdered by a hooded mysterious character, having been mistaken for her friend, the blonde Landis. Thereupon, Blondell, in shadowy form, appeals to Young for aid in capturing the villain and saving the life of the intended victim. Film begins to miss out when the story veers from its own premise to the level of a conventional mystery farce. Direction by Roy Del Ruth is uneven and lacking in improvisations.

Topper Returns

Production

Roach/United Artists. Director Roy Del Ruth; Producer Hal Roach; Screenplay Jonathan Latimer, Gordon Douglas, Paul Gerard Smith; Camera Norbert Brodine; Editor James Newcom; Music Werner R. Heymann; Art Director Nicolai Remisoff

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1941. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Joan Blondell Roland Young Carole Landis Billie Burke Dennis O'Keefe Patsy Kelly
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