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Customer reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Topaz [Blu-ray] [1969] [Region Free]
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on 19 September 2017
Excellent as all old Hitchcock movies are.
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on 12 April 2017
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on 17 January 2014
Was it to save money, or avoid the odd conflict with a star? Hitchcock made this film without stars (still with good actors). For me the result was that I can't forget a second of this film, it's real and true as a documentary, and it's the story of an exemplary man who gives the priority to his personal convictions as against the interest of his country, the former Soviet Union, which he leaves. Done in a very realistic way, you feel it's true and it did happen really (as it did many times whenever a man fled a dictatorial regime).
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on 14 November 2017
Oh, dear. What a disappointment. It made "Torn Curtain" look masterful. The script and acting were below standard, and the convoluted plot was difficult to follow. The theme of the Russian / Cuban / American / French aspects of the Cold War could have been so much more exciting. Definitely not one of the better films by the genius of suspense. Fortunately I did not pay too much for it, and shall I ever be watching it again?
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Topaz is widely regarded as one of Hitchcock's worst films, but while certainly problematic there's still a lot to admire in this spy thriller set against the Cuban missile crisis. Unfortunately, rather than the original theatrical version (to date only released on laserdisc in the 90s and on Blu-ray in Germany), the version on video and this DVD is of a longer preview version before the film was trimmed down to size. For the most part the `additions' are fairly minor - the Russian defector being coerced to give information, a party scene, possibly a longer version of a scene between Frederick Stafford and Dany Robin - although the only one that makes a real difference is the addition of the best of the three alternate endings (of one character wryly waving goodbye at the airport having got away with it). Unfortunately, aside from drawing matters out even more, it still has the same structural problems as before: the plot is all over the place, and the film is really over once it leaves Cuba, seeming to spend an inordinate amount of time tying up loose ends although in reality introducing a new plot that should have been there from the very beginning. And there's a lot of Hitchcock's technical laziness - Frederick Stafford doesn't convince in his last, poorly staged scenes, and Hitchcock doesn't help him, while the photograph on his desk is shoddy enough to be a kindergarten cut-and-paste for show-and-tell. Yet it's still an intriguing film despite its flaws, with a few strikingly memorable scenes, especially those played without dialogue - watching the New York hotel from the florist's shop, the dead woman's dress unfolding like the petals of a flower as she falls to the ground, the grim almost-silent tableaux where a torture victim whispers a name. It's just a shame that the terrific filmmaking of key scenes in the first two thirds evaporates before the end, but there are certainly worse Hitchcock films out there.

Universal's DVD offers a fine package of extras - a documentary, three alternative endings (one of them, involving a duel in a football stadium, plain absurd), storyboards, production photographs and theatrical trailer.
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on 29 February 2016
A Hitchcock Spy Thriller in the Mold of 'North by Northwest' but without the finesse and subtle humor.

This film suddenly appeared on television and as it was directed by Alfred Hitchcock decided to see it in spite of the mainly poor reviews. I am glad I did as it was an entertaining 120 minutes but compared poorly to the brilliant 'North by Northwest' with Cary Grant, James Mason and Eve Marie Saint. It was not that the cast with Frederick Stafford acted badly, they did not and all the cast put in good performances. It just lacked that bite and finesse of some of his earlier productions.

The plot has been well documented so will say no more other than to say I found it interesting and it kept my attention to the end. The film did not deserve some of the severe criticism heaped upon it as there were some magic Hitchcock moments in the film and just for that it is worth a viewing.
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on 15 April 2015
Positive points:

* Realistic/plausible Coldwar thriller

* Great historical shots of the world circa late 1960's

* Excellent directing/photography/good lighting - see below for caveat

* Respectable international cast (despite absence of Hollywood ‘stars’)

* Above-average STVD restoration by Universal with superb Technicolor colouring - nothing useful lost with Pan and Scan - full screen.

* ‘Slow’ editing for full appreciation of the scene construction and characters

* Interesting and informative extra with Leonard Maltin


* Realistic, but weakish ending (discussed at some length by Maltin)

* Two very wobbly zooms (look to be hand-manipulated - Hitchcock must have wet his pants about this)


Worthy of any film buff’s collection
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 October 2013
This expensive and long spy thriller was much better than I was led to imagine. Despite some rather "clunky" acting from several actors whose first language clearly wasn't English, the plot is fascinating and I never lost interest. Some remarkable Hitchcockian set pieces pepper this piece and the Master ensures a fast paced and intriguing plot. With virtually nothing in common with his other films "Topaz" is admittedly a novelty and it certainly won't appeal to everyone - but this splendid blu ray transfer will at least let you see the film in the best format available. The fact there are three alternative endings ( available on the disc too) does indicate a production process alien to that undertaken by the normally very "economical" Hitch who planned his projects with meticulous care and virtually never strayed from the detailed storyboards he had created. Not one of these endings totally work but the one chosen for this new restoration is probably the best - although it is undoubtedly a little awkward too. Still the film is certainly worth a viewing by fans as it does provide an interesting new perspective on the Master's output. Extras are interesting and give some further insights into, what is unfairly regarded as, Hitchcock's worse film.
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on 16 December 2011
Hitchcock himself loathed this and wanted to make a movie about a serial killer in 60's New York called Kaliedoscope. Just think of how that would have turned out? Instead the studio forced Hitch into this political movie, with dire results.
This coming from a fan of Hitchcock who has almost all of his films.

True there are some wonderful scenes here, the telephone exchange, the death of the woman late on in the movie and the first twenty or so mins are quite a treat.

Try as I might to like this film, I simply cannot and I have asked myself that if this was not a Hitchcock movie would it really be remembered today? I think not. The master has made at least 30 brilliant movies, this is simply not one of them. The movie gets two stars largely due to Hitch's direction.
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on 16 December 2014
A classic Hitcock film, one that I was pleased to have received as a gift. None of the modern spy stuff in this (geeky gadgets and so on), just a classic 60s spy thriller. Not one to be missed if this is a genre that you enjoy.
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