Sunday, January 13, 2013

Topper (1937)

Wealthy socialites George and Marion Kerby (Cary Grant and Constance Bennett) die in an automobile crash and their ghosts don't pass to the other side. They figure that while they've never done a bad deed, they've never done a good one either. So, they set off to do a good deed. They decide to enrich the life of a stuffy and henpecked bank president, Cosmo Topper (Roland Young). Bubble Witch Billie Burke does the pecking.

I hate it when Netflix offers sequels to movies but not the first. In this case Topper Returns, the third and final in the series. TCM was gracious enough to broadcast this for my viewing pleasure. What we have here is a simple screwball comedy, not overly funny but never tedious. Certainly AMRU 3-ish but doesn't encourage me to watch the two sequels. Nothing much else to say here, so let's take a look at hot cadaver Constance Bennett.

Constance, the oldest of three Hollywood sisters, had a successful Hollywood career. She died young at age 60. Sis Barbara didn't act much and nothing of note, but was the mother of TV asshole Morton Downey Jr. She died younger at 51. Baby sis Joan worked quite a bit including Father of the Bride opposite Spencer Tracy, and Dark Shadows opposite a very non-glittery vampire. She lived to the ripish old age of 80. Between them they had twelve husbands.

Grant is always witty and charming, Young was good as the befuddled Topper, and Bennett was truly stunning, but the script lets them down. As this is the highest rated of the the three Topper films, I'll likely pass on the other two. AMRU 3. I wonder if the 50's TV series or the 1979 TV movie is any better.

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