Topaz

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Released 1969

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Movie Summary

Director:
Alfred Hitchcock
Released:
1969
Rating:
PG

Topaz (1969) is a political thriller from master director Alfred Hitchcock inspired by a true story. In 1962, with the CIA getting ever more worried about the build-up of Soviet weapons on the island of Cuba, a defector to the West reveals that there exists within the highest echelons of NATO a Russian spy-ring known by the code-name "Topaz". French secret agent Andre Devereaux is perusaded by the CIA to go to Havana to investigate, with the assistance of Juanita de Cordoba, an aristocratic Cuban who would like to see Castro's downfall. Working with the Cuban underground, the two agents uncover the level of Russian missiles in Cuba's possession and Andre learns that Topaz is controlled from inside President De Gaulle's administration in Paris. As the Missile Crisis worsens, Andre finds that the spy ring's chief is even closer to home than that.

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    • TRIVIA (2)

      • Leon Uris, upon whose best-seller this film was very freely based, was highly critical of it, perhaps because a version of the screenplay he had written was not used.

      • Yves Montand and Simone Signoret (who were married to each other) were approached about playing the roles of Andre and Nicole Devereaux in the film, but declined.

    • QUOTES (1)

    • NOTES (1)

      • This film had an extremely troubled production history. The script was still being written as the filming went on, and the ending favoured by Hitchcock proved unpopular with preview audiences, who also felt the film was too long. Hitchcock's original cut (running 143 minutes - it was the longest of all his films) was trimmed by about a quarter of an hour, and he filmed a completely new ending only a short time before the film's opening. He was dissatisfied with this, and a third ending was hastily cobbled together in the editing room from existing footage, a solution which occasioned a number of criticisms from reviewers. The film's video release restored the second ending, but the first ending, Hitchcock's preferred one, was not seen until the film's DVD release, over twenty years after Hitchcock's death.

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    Themes

    Thrillers, Classics, Espionage