Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


TOPPER TAKES A TRIP (1939) Director: Norman Z. McLeod.

The first sequel to Topper is a charming and amusing film in which Roland Young as the harried banker Topper discovers that lady ghost Constance Bennett is not quite through with him, taking him to the French Riviera to win back the delightfully befuddled Mrs. Topper (Billie Burke, pictured), who has decided to divorce her Cosmo. It seems that Mrs. Topper's “friend,” Mrs. Parkhurst (Verree Teasdale), is part of a group who match young gigolos with wealthy widows and divorcees, and there's a certain baron (Alexander D'arcy) who has his eye on Cosmo Topper's millions by way of his wife. [The baron asks Mrs. Parkhurst if Clara Topper is pretty. “Well, she has scads of money,” Parkhurst replies. “She's pretty,” says the baron.] Franklin Pangborn is his usual riot as the hotel manager who is an associate of the baron's and Teasdale's, and Alan Mowbray is as excellent as ever as the wise, long-suffering Topper butler. Burke, Young, and Bennett are all in top form as well. While the movie isn't full of belly-laughs as such, it is consistently entertaining and funny. The third and final movie in the series, Topper Returns, is also worthwhile and well-acted.
Verdict: Great fun! ***.

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