Sunday, July 8, 2007

Topper (1937)

My Tivo's Cary Grant wish list picked this up. I sat right down to watch because it's a comedy and involves ghosts and Cary Grant - a really young CG.

First off CG looks great in this movie and it features special effects that I really have no idea how they achieved in that era. I really would like to know. They also had a really interesting rectangular-shape wipe transition early on in the film that must have been quite a feat at the time. Mainly, the ghosts disappear and reappear right on camera about four or five times which probably was a really big deal at the time. The equivalent of Transformers, probably.

CG and Constance Bennet play a dashing young couple - kind of an F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda at the height of their partying. They die in a fantasitc car wreck - you spend the first thirty minutes waiting for them to die in a car wreck cause you know that they will die and cause they drive everywhere like maniacs in this crazy cool car with a really weird fin on the back that I imagine was the 1930s equivalent of a DeLorean.

Anyway, after death they try to do a good deed by loosening up their stiff banker friend - Topper - who seems like he's not having any fun with his life and antics ensue.

The antics are alternately funny and not - hard to tell which gags might have been fresh at the time but are really old hat now. Like the invisible ghosts moving things causes all kinds of people to make surprised faces and rub their eyes - but in the days before Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie that might have been a laugh riot - who knows?

I like/hate the character played by Billie Burke - the prim proper and puritan patrician wife of the banker who just wants to be invited to a party by the Stuyvesants. But my FAVORITE character is the irritated butler who gets in the middle of the feuding husband and wife.

Cary Grant is really handsome and Constance Bennet is awesome as the playful, flirtatious, sexy but still totally good-hearted and somewhat innocent girl - the epitomy of who we all think we would have liked to have been in the 30s. She also has great hair and great outfits and gets to appear suddenly atop a ledge in a new outfit holding a bottle of champagne and get the better of a rude bellboy all in the same act and don't we all want to do that someday?

Three Stars. Would watch again.

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