The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

TOPAZ (1969) * ½

Alfred Hitchcock directed this boring as a dog’s ass spy flick about an American agent (John Forsythe) trying to bring down a global spy ring known only as “Topaz”.  The French also send an agent of their own (Frederick Stafford) to investigate and together with Forsythe; they get embroiled in some international intrigue with not only Russia, but Cuba as well.  Once Stafford figures everything out, he says:  “That’s the end of Topaz!”


You’ll wish he said it about an hour earlier.


I got pretty fed up with Topaz fairly quickly.  The opening scenes didn’t really draw me in to the movie and the comatose pacing sunk whatever chance the flick had to keep me engrossed in the story.  The plot is deliberately vague, which doesn’t help matters, and the international globe-hopping wasn’t nearly as interesting as it should’ve been.  By the time the movie was over, I just couldn’t find it in myself to give a shit about what the fuck was going on.


Usually Hitchcock films his movies with panache, but Topaz is flat and unremarkable.  The action doesn’t pop like it should and the flick on the whole just isn’t very suspenseful.  There are no memorable set pieces and none of The Master’s trademark touches are present.  (Save for his cameo at an airport.)  Of all of Hitchcock’s films I’ve seen, this one has to be the worst.


Forsythe (who was also in Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry) and Stafford make for two thoroughly bland leads that get lost in the shuffle of Hitchcock’s sprawling narrative.  Hitch would’ve been better off with two mannequins instead.  At least you get to ogle the sexy Karin (You Only Live Twice) Dor and have a little bit of fun seeing John (Animal House) Vernon as the Fidel Castro-esque Cuban leader.


After the failure of this film, Hitchcock retreated to his home turf of England to make his next picture, Frenzy. 

Tags: hitchcock, t, thriller
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