Thursday, January 19, 2012

Topper (1937)

“Oh, George, I can see right through you.”
“Say, that's funny. I can see through you, too.”
“George, look. You know something George? I think we're dead.”
“I think you're right. Funny; I don't feel any different.” 

            I have heard of Topper before and from the title I never really thought anything of it. Well that comes down to me never having read a description of the film all I knew was that Cary Grant was in it and that after finding out Constance Bennett was in it I definitely had to find it. The first time I actually read the description was when I went to play the film on my DVR. The plot sounded alright but from the moment Grant and Bennett came on the screen I was so hooked and laughing hysterically.
            Grant and Bennett play George and Marion Kerby. Their life is one constant party full of drinking and dancing only sleeping when the sun comes up. They head into the city to meet their friend Topper (Roland Young) the next morning at the bank they are stockholders in. The Kerbys do not even bother sleeping until the small hours of the morning after a wild night of drinking and at that they sleep in their car. In the meeting George does not even pay attention to what is going on he sits there and draws. Marion walks herself right into Topper’s office and plops down on his couch to sleep. Topper is not too happy because he is worried what that would look like.
            On the way home George is driving way too fast. George takes a curve too fast and they crash into a tree. Marion and George get up and sit on a log. She tells him he took the curve too fast and they argue a bit before they realize they can see through each other and they see their bodies in the wreck. Realizing they are dead they wonder if they are going to heaven. Marion points out that they never really did any good deeds in their lives nor did they ever do anything bad.
            Some time later Topper buys the Kerby’s newly fixed car. His stuffy wife Clara (Billie Burke) is not too happy about him buying something so dangerous and so flashy. All Clara worries about is their reputation in high society but after the Kerby’s death Topper thinks about how he has not lived his life to the fullest like they did even though they were a little too carefree. Topper takes the car for a drive. He sees that the car is a bit too much for him to handle. At one point he rounds the same corner the Kerby’s crashed at but he manages to keep the car and himself intact. When he gets out of the car he hears voices. George and Marion decide to take Topper on as their good deed and appear in physical form to him (they only appear when necessary so they do not waste too much of their ectoplasm).
            As the saying goes no good deed goes unpunished and boy does Topper get punished enough! The couple has their best intentions in mind but their best intentions get Topper into a world of trouble. They get the poor man into a drunken brawl and witnesses say they saw Marion as the woman who was with him. Clara is horrified thinking that her husband has been making a fool of himself and running around with another woman. All the trouble Topper gets into is because of Marion!
            Constance Bennett and Cary Grant were hysterical together. They were so good playing the breezy couple who only help their friend. Cary Grant was not in the film all the much, as you can see by the poster Constance Bennett was top billed so she was in it more. Before this I had never seen Bennett in a film. I loved her she was fantastic. She had a good sense of humor. I just loved how she drove Topper crazy and how carefree she was. I read that Bennett was a little aggressive with her acting and you can see that in a couple of her scenes. My favorite scene with Grant and Bennett was when they are at a hotel where Topper has taken off to. They create so much chaos at the hotel by knocking into things and people when they are invisible. They start a riot in the dining room and they run into a corner and she says that this is the best fight they ever got into and “What do you say we make out?” (It was only a little peck no making out like we think today) haha. Roland Young played a very good straight man who only wants to have some fun in his stuffy life. Billie Burke was not as flighty as she usually is in her films; in the end she is likeable.
            The special effect of the Kerbys disappearing was very well done. The best effect was when George and Marion are supposed to be invisibly taking Topper out of their apartment building after they get him drunk. I was dying from laughing when the elevator boy in their apartment building told Topper he thought the Kerbys were crazy so Marion paces back and forth all angry about it and when the boy comes back she slaps him in the face haha. George drives the car invisibly and makes another car crash.
            Topper is such a cute supernatural comedy. I did not stop laughing through the whole film. Everyone was so perfect in their parts and the situations they got into were not overdone they were just the right amount of silly and funny. 

1 comment:

  1. I think you would also enjoy the sequel "Topper Takes A Trip," which like the original is based on a Thorne Smith novel. Grant (by now a big star, thanks to this film, "The Awful Truth" and a few others) only appears in flashbacks here, but Connie Bennett returns as Marion, and she again is one sexy ghost, accompanied by "ghost dog" Mr. Atlas (portrayed by Skippy, the Asta of the "Thin Man" series). Roy Seawright, one of the best special effects men in the business, is back with his old camera tricks; discover how he worked the ectoplasm at