Topaz – Alfred Hitchcock (1969)

Topaz is a 1969 American espionage thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Based on the 1967 Cold War novel Topaz by Leon Uris, the film is about a French intelligence agent who becomes entangled in the Cold War politics of the events leading up to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and later the breakup of an international Soviet spy ring in France. The story is closely based on the 1962 Sapphire Affair, which involved the head of French Intelligence SDECE in the United States, and spy Philippe Thyraud de Vosjoli—a friend of Leon Uris—who played an important role in ‘helping the U.S. discover the presence of Russian offensive missiles in Cuba’. The film stars Frederick Stafford, Dany Robin, John Vernon, Karin Dor, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret, Claude Jade, Michel Subor and John Forsythe. … Alfred Hitchcock first hired Leon Uris to adapt his own novel for the screen. Reportedly, the two differed on aspects of character development, with Hitchcock claiming that Uris hadn’t humanised the villains of the story. Uris also did not appreciate Hitchcock’s insistence on adding black humour. After a portion of the draft had been written, Uris left the film. Hitchcock attempted to hire Arthur Laurents to complete work on the screenplay, but he refused, leaving an unfinished draft and the shooting schedule rapidly approaching. Ultimately, Samuel A. Taylor, co-writer of Vertigo was hired, but the film began without a completed screenplay. … Some critics liked Topaz. New York Times critic Vincent Canby put the film on his year-end list of the ten best films of 1969, declaring it a ‘huge success, a quirky, episodic espionage tale made rich and suspenseful, not through conventional Hitchcockian narrative drive, but through odd, perverse Hitchcockian detail, economy of cinematic gesture, and an over-all point of view that can never for a moment be mistaken as belonging to anyone but Hitchcock.’ Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times also liked the film, writing that although there was a ‘loss of momentum’ at the climax because of the time it took to resolve the complex plot, the first three-quarters of the film were ‘bravura displays of the fabled Hitchcock technique, replete with dazzling camera movements and acute imagery.’ Thomas singled out the Harlem sequence as among ‘the best that Hitchcock has ever done.’ …”
Beginner’s Guide to Alfred Hitchcock: Topaz (1969)
The Hitchcock Zone
YouTube: Alfred Hitchcock – Topaz | Trailer, Clip *HD* Alfred Hitchcock

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