Zach Davis

Directed by: Norman Z. McLeod

Starring:  Cary Grant, Constance Bennett, Roland Young, Billie Burke, and Hedda Hopper

Topper was made in the era of the screwball comedy, and it was a prime example that comedies as a medium had staying power in the film industry.  The success of Topper led to two sequels, Topper Takes a Trip and Topper Returns.  The story also was transcribed to television as a series in 1953.

Topper has the glitz and excess of a by-gone era.  A wealthy and madcap couple George (Cary Grant) and Marion (Constance Bennett) Kerby die in a car crash.  Their ghosts cannot pass on till they make amends for their excesses by doing a good deed.  They decide to teach the strait-laced Cosmo Topper (Roland Young), president of a bank to have fun.  Topper is a repressed party animal who secretly admires the Kerbys’ irresponsible lifestyle.  Topper is kept on a tight leash by his very proper and socially ambitious wife (Billie Burke).  With the ghostly Kerbys, Topper gets pulled into adventures that depart from his staid persona.

The film was a fun throwback to the easygoing times of the twenties and served as a good distraction for moviegoers during the depression.  Happy, fun movies were very important to the collective psyche of the downtrodden American people at this time.  Realism would not become popular in film until after World War II.   When it did take off, It became especially popular in Italian film.

Topper is fun to watch.  The film offers clever dialogue and enjoyable interplay between the actors.  Old souls will love the wardrobes and set designs that are throw-backs to the 1930s.  For old car enthusiasts, the classic Buick is enough to make the movie worthwhile.

Cary Grant is the perfect urbane George Kerby, and Constance Bennett has the beauty and sophistication to play Marion.  Roland Young does a great job as well as Cosmo Topper and was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. 

To enjoy Topper, join George and Marion for a martini.  This film is not quite a classic, but it does deserve a 0.03% rating.