To Catch a Thief

One of the exciting races in Formula One calendar is the Monaco Grand Prix. Located in the French Riviera, the race held in Monte-Carlo attracts crowd from all around the world. The famous Casino, along with the yacht parties which go on till the wee hours of morning are just some of the attractions that makes this race very exciting and a royal affair.
I had an opportunity to visit this place this summer and one of the first things that hit me as a Formula One buff is the pleasure to visit one of your favourite circuits, which is in fact built around the existing public roads of Monaco. Although, I missed the race by a good two months, it was a kick to make a lap around the circuit. The drive to Monaco from the Nice-Cannes highway reminded me of yet another favourite of mine, movies. One movie that instantly came to my mind was Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 thriller ‘To Catch a Thief’. 

The story goes this way; John Robie played by Cary Grant is a retired jewel thief who was famous for his cat burglary which earned him the name ‘The Cat’. After having served as an undercover for the French Government during the World War II, John Robie is a happy, relaxed leading a peaceful life in his vineyards along the French Riviera. This was until one day, he reads about a series of burglary committed and police suspects him to be the one, as the jewel thefts were reminiscent of John Robie in his hey days. 
John Robie ‘The Cat’
High on the list is an American Millionaire, Jessie Stevens (Jessie Royce Landis) who along with her beautiful daughter Frances Stevens (Grace Kelly) is on a tour of Europe to search a suitable husband for Frances. To prove his innocence, John must become a jewel thief and he takes the help of Frances and the insurance agent of Lloyds, Mr. H.H. Hughson to catch the thief, the real thief who had committed a series of thefts in a typical John Robie manner. 
Jessie Stevens with her daughter Frances
During the course of the movie there is a famous car scene (Car scene is an important part of all the four collaborations of Hitchcock and Cary Grant) where Grace Kelly (incidentally, on the very same road that, years later, would lead to her death) drives Grant down the famous and winding Three Corniches along the Cote d’Azur. They are on their way to the picnic grounds which is the backdrop of the most famous scene of this movie- Grace Kelly offers him a choice of breast or thigh from her basket of goodies and he in his own charismatic style responds “The choice is yours”. 

The famous car scene 
In the end, John Robie manages to catch the copy cat who turns out to be a young girl (Danielle) played by Brigitte Auber, daughter of one of his former colleagues. This movie opened with mixed reviews because of the delay in releasing and went on to be the biggest hit of the first half of the 1950’s. 

Brigitte Auber as ‘Danielle’
With the failure (not to the standards of Cary Grant of 1940’s) of many of his movies in early 50’s, Cary Grant had decided to retire himself from the movies. With his age being 50, he felt the movie industry had moved on with the emergence of youth like Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift. He spent some good time with his wife Betsy Drake, who was half his age before making a comeback when he heard the script of ‘To Catch a Thief’. Much to the displeasure of Betsy Drake, he went ahead and started shooting this movie at the French Riviera. Betsy Drake accompanied him to the shoot, as she was less than thrilled of him doing love scenes with Grace Kelly. 

One of the many romantic scenes in the movie
This movie mirrors Cary Grant’s real life in many aspects. In the film, the so-called cat burglar insists he is retired, moved on something which the police authorities have troubles believing in and took the role of a thief to catch the real thief. In real-life, Cary Grant had previously announced his retirement from films twice and yet he was out there shooting for this movie.

In the movie, Robie is attracted to a beautiful blonde who is half his age, in real life he was married to a beautiful blonde, Betsy Drake who was half his age. In the film, Robie in order to prove his innocence participated in one last robbery to prove his innocence and in real life, he came out of retirement to make one last movie to prove he was still the star of the highest order. 

Grace Kelly playing the role of a beautiful blonde
In his usual style of making cameos, the director Alfred Hitchcock about 10 minutes into the movie is seen sitting next to John Robie in a bus. The movie was nominated for four Oscars (Best Cinematography Colour, Best Art Direction, Best Set Decoration Colour and Best Costume Design Colour) and won a single Oscar for Best Cinematography Colour (Robert Burks). 


 Cary Grant (L) and Alfred Hitchcock (R)
Produced by Paramount Pictures, the story for the movie was inspired by the David Dodge’s novel of the same name. Set in the picturesque French Riviera, this was the last Grace Kelly movie for Alfred Hitchcock (previous being, Dial M for Murder and Rear Window). She later married Prince Rainier of Monaco and became Princess of Monaco till her death in 1982 due to a car accident.

Released in 1955, To Catch a Thief was a sort of ‘comeback’ movie for Cary Grant who went on to act for few more years till he finally retired in 1966 at the age of sixty-two. 

My Favourite Wife

Marilyn Monroe took the role in ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ to extreme heights before bidding a farewell to everyone from this world. Doris Day similarly in ‘Move over Darling’ was charming and did justice to her role. While one of the movies had to be abandoned the other was seen as a good remake of this 1940 movie.

My Favourite Wife is the one in discussion which gave the source to the aforementioned movies while the same being inspired by Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “Enoch Arden”. This movie had a pre-cursor, plot-wise in the silent era most notably D W Griffith’s epic ‘Enoch Arden’ in two parts made in 1911.Ellen Arden (Irene Dunne) is supposedly killed in a ship wreck seven years ago. Her husband Nick Arden (Cary Grant) after having hoped all these years to see his wife come back decides to have her issued dead in the court. This was a move so that he could marry Bianca (Gail Patrick) legally. Nick has two kids from Ellen. Nick and Bianca get married and are on their way to honeymoon.Twist in the tale as Ellen appears after having rescued by a ship from a distant island. She comes home and gets to know about Nick’s wedding and feels sad about him moving on with life. She decides to surprise him and goes to the hotel where the new wed couples have booked their honeymoon suite. The expression on the face of Nick upon seeing Ellen is a treat for audiences. He feels guilty upon the fact that he cannot embrace his long lost wife with the same compassion. At the same time, he cannot think about his newly wed status with Bianca.
Hesitation to come out with the truth to Bianca, he escapes from confrontation and the scenes have been shot well portraying Nick’s denial to face the truth.Nick is jealous about the fact that Ellen had spent the last seven years with a guy on that island. He was curious to know who that guy was. Ellen tries to camouflage this fact by introducing a dumb guy so that Nick doesn’t have an issue to get back at her. Incidentally Nick, driven by jealousy decides to find who that guy was. It turns out to be quite a handsome guy. Unable to bear this, he expresses his irritation to Ellen. In the meantime, Bianca is confused as to why she isn’t been able to live with Nick and keeps wondering what’s going on Nick’s mind. He tends to avoid her whenever she tries to get close to him or when she is a mood to make love.
Out of two wives, Nick has to make a choice. He chooses his favourite wife and that being Ellen. One can sympathise with Bianca as I feel she has been wronged here. But, since this being a movie on the lines of screwball comedy, one can imagine having characters like Bianca. Irene Dunne and Cary Grant match up to their previous success on a husband wife theme, The Awful Truth. Irene Dunne in particular looks fresh and one cannot believe she was older to Cary Grant in real life. The scenes involving the hotel manager and the judge are mind blowing-ly funny. Randolph Scott plays the role of Steve Burkett, as the guy who accompanied Ellen on the deserted island.Directed by Garson Kanin, this movie was initially slated to be directed by Leo MaCarey. A freak accident prevented him to direct and hired Garson Kanin to do the honours. The movie was a success and managed to receive three Oscar nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Music – Original Score and Best Writing – Original Story (looks like by altering story and some of its elements from another play are considered original)

Only Angels Have Wings

Baranca a small stop in South America where Dutchman owns an air mail service is the place where Bonnie (Jean Arthur), makes a stop. She encounters a group of mail pilots in a social shack. The head of these mail comrades being Geoff Carter (Cary Grant) who comes across as a tough guy who has ample amount of confidence, yet retains the charm and sophistication. It isn’t surprising Bonnie falling for him. The work of these mail pilots is quite a tricky one, as the natural mountain slides coupled with tropical weather is always a recipe for an aviation disaster, main being the plan crash. Geoff ventures to flying only under difficult circumstances. Bonnie, amazed by Geoff is constantly shut off whenever she tried getting to know Geoff better. It is evident, Geoff is cynical towards woman, and vows not to take any favours from them. Each choice has a history behind it. His daring lifestyle didn’t go well with his ex and as a result she left him. It had a very deep effect on his way of thinking. He became more tough, a touch more than what he was.
In the sub-plot, a couple come down to Baranca. They both have a connection to Geoff and the group of mail pilots. Bat Macpherson (Richard Barthelmess) is seen as a villain in the eyes of all the pilots. He once jumped out of the plane leaving behind the mechanic moments before the plane crash. This didn’t go well with the team and more so with Kid, who lost his brother in that crash. The agency was in look out for more pilots and Bat was looking for a new challenge.
Bat’s wife Judy (Rita Hayworth) was Geoff’s ex. Her presence made Geoff a bit tougher on him and made it difficult to forget the past. One of the best scenes is when Judy gets drunk and has a word with Geoff, in some ways clarity was given as to why things happened and the way it unfolded in the past.Not a man to live in his emotions, Geoff is in serious need of work force in order to get the contract from the Government. He offers the job to Bat, as he realises there is none better than him to weather the storm. In a mission to deliver the cylinders, Bat is accompanied by Kid. Not in good terms, while flying they encounter the storm as they try to deliver the goods. Flying across Andes Mountains during a storm isn’t an easy task, and while Bat is trying his best to reach the destination, a bird hits the plane and it catches fire. Bat battles it out and lands the plane amidst the fire on it. Kid is badly injured and he dies not before he tells Geoff about Bat’s bravery.Bonnie unable to get the attention from Geoff decides to leave Baranca. – “I am hard to get Geoff, All you have to do is ask me”. Geoff offers her a coin. Heads – she stays and Tails – she leaves. Before starts to toss the coin the clouds clear and Geoff runs down to the flight for his next mission. Bonnie waits as she decides not to leave in a hurried manner and hopes to toss the coin with heads being on both sides.
I was amazed by Jean Arthur’s character and her beauty in general. This was my first movie of hers and I was fascinated by her charm and no wonder she is one among my favourites actresses. Beauty, brains and a wonderful actor, that’s Jean Arthur to sum it up.On the other hand, it was another scintillating performance by Cary Grant who puts his coat of sophistication to perfection. Rita Hayworth was provided with the acting platform to play main stream roles and achieve fame for many years to come.
Directed by Howard Hawks, this 1939 classic was nominated for two Oscars under the categories of Best Cinematography (B/W) and Best Special effects (Audio and Visual)

Holiday

We live in a world where numbers form a majority. How much ever an individual tries to be different, he or she often encounters majority, be it in the form of opinions, values or the way things need to be handled and the best of all is, the way to lead one’s life. Wish it was as simple as to follow a book of code written by one individual. The point is not to berate or deride the opinions made by the person who shared his views on leading life; the mistake is to believe that is the only way to lead a life.
Holiday epitomises such kind of mood through various protagonists who dare to question the status quo. Johnny Case (Cary Grant) a charming young business man who goes by his inner voice. One can see in the way he goes about his life and the view he holds for his life.
He is in love with Julia Seton (Doris Nolan) and proposes her to marry him. She agrees. How often we marry the person we love and also say we share each other’s vision for life? Are we complacent that we can cajole the other partner to make them to come terms with our expectations?
Well to make love, it isn’t. To marry, it becomes the talking point. The free spirit that often embodies the lovers is majorly narrowed when the talk of marriage do the rounds. What is it that marriage continues to hold a different view? Marriage involves society to a larger extent and this has continued through ages and will continue. One can fall in love and that’s acceptable but can we marry the same in all situations ? Often society comes to picture and in the larger interest I believe it’s a form of excuse unless it is a belief of the individual.


Johnny is surprised to know the wealthy status of Julia. He meets Linda (Katherine Hepburn), Julia’s free spirited sister and Ned (Lew Ayres) who both feel bottled up under their father’s authoritarian behaviour. The movie has a kid’s playroom which is analogous and quite a contrast to the outer world which calls for increased sophistication and hypocrisy. Linda is in love with Johnny as she finds him to be the right guy who would respect and also complement her free spiritedness. Although Johnny is in love with Julia, he can’t deny the fact that he is intellectually connected to Linda.Irrespective of her being rich, he is keen holding on to his dreams. Julia on the other hand is convinced about Johnny accepting her dad’s proposal of working and earning money. Johnny while asking the hand of Julia speaks his heart to her dad, which surprises Julia. The idea of Johnny working for few years and then taking a holiday to discover his life doesn’t fit the bill of pragmatism as per Julia and her dad. Although he couldn’t convince Julia; Johnny with his straight mind convinced Linda without having to actually convince her.
The movie isn’t a serious one, it has well written dialogues and is more of a romantic comical drama. The child playroom is often seen as a metaphor to allow the kid in us to be in healthy state even while we are growing each day.



Directed by George Cukor, this movie brings out the best of Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant and the chemistry they share on screen is something that’s been talked by many over the years. The storyline isn’t out of the box, but a simple reflection on the society we live in. The playroom scenes of tricycles, puppets and other horse saddling reminds us, each individual has a child which is fearless inside us and loves to enjoy irrespective of what other think in its own fashion. This certainly is one among my favourite Cary Grant movies. Released in 1938, Holiday is a remake of the 1930 movie of the same title. With the affluent sets being used, Holiday managed to get a Oscar nomination under the category of Best Art direction.

Suzy

This is a story where one has love, marriage, accusations of murder, falling in love with another man, World war and reuniting with ex-lover. In fact on second glance it is indeed a movie that contains lot of themes tied by a heavy screenplay and we have George Fitzmaurice’s drama ‘Suzy’.
Title protagonist Jean Harlow is an entertainer who dreams big of marrying a rich guy. Luck has it; she falls in love with an inventor Terry (Franchot Tone) in London. This was the time when the World War I was in progress. Early days of marriage, Suzy’s husband discovers her employer to be a German spy and is killed by Madame Eyrelle (Benita Hume) after he becomes aware of her true identity (spy). The blame is put on Suzy and to avoid imprisonment, she flees to Paris.

Part two of the story takes place when she encounters Andre (Cary Grant), French aviator and a famous playboy. Suzy falls in love with Andre and they both decide to get married. Love is a strange thing and the reciprocations didn’t seem to be present, although they both seem to like each other a lot. Expectations I suppose. Andre was the son of a rich French celebrated hero. Palatial place to live, often Suzy is found alone in Andre’s absence. Andre’s father ensures Suzy is well taken care and very soon they become quite good pals. She writes letters under the pretext of Andre to keep the old man going. Part Three of the movie – Surprise, Surprise. Terry is alive (he was severely wounded not killed) and more so he is a buddy of Andre. Terry is livid to hear about Suzy and he blames her nature of being a gold digger. He questions her decision to leave him and flee. She takes it as a sponge would soak water without disclosing the accusations she had to bear for his supposedly murder.
Part Four shows – Once a playboy, you remain one throughout. Andre’s fascination and slip for women is exploited by Madame Eyrelle, now in need to know more on the war plans through Andre. Surprisingly Terry and Madame do not recognise each other when they bump into each other. Damage had been done before Madame Eyrelle’s true identity is revealed to Andre. He is killed and Terry dons the plane of Andre’s and fights it out ensuring enemies have none of it.

Part five – A celebrity burial is provided to Andre as Suzy strongly believed, any disclosure of the truth would hurt the sentiments of Andre’s father. Andre is seen as a war hero who sacrificed his life for his country, where in fact his behaviour was close to being detrimental to his country. Suzy and Terry re unite and there ends this drama.The movie has a song “Did I remember” which was nominated for Best Original song Oscar which otherwise is tailor made for Jean Harlow.
Released in 1936, the war flying scenes from this movie were actually the out takes from the 1930 super hit Howard Hughes movie ‘Hells Angels’. The screenplay written by four writers is infact inspired by Herbert Gorman ‘s write up on the newspaper.

Gunga Din

Inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s poem, the movie is set in mid 1800’s when British regiment had made a settlement in India. With resistance coming from all quarters; there were quite a few rebellious groups formed in order to eliminate the British rule. This movie had one such group who revered Goddess Kali (an important deity in Hindu mythology, Goddess of Blood) dedicated their lives to destroy the British army.
The movie is about a Hindu water carrier called ‘Gunga Din’. Since childhood he always wanted to be in the army. He was not allowed and this fact never bothered as he learnt the tricks of army by observing the soldiers carefully. He gets friendly with Sgt Cutter and also tells him about the gold which can be taken back from a Kali temple. Parallely, there is an uprising of a religious group under the leadership of Swami, played by Eduardo Ciannelli.
The group had previously attacked many such regiments at different villages and now they had made arrangements to eliminate the British army in that area.

I am not comfortable to use the technical word for such groups. Although, in English and in the movie they are referred to as ‘Thuggees’, I am not going to use the word. Its a perception and since it was during the British rule, often such groups were branded as enemies and not seen as patriots.
From a movie’s point of view, I can only talk about performances on screen. The movie talks about three army sergeants and the rapport they shared working together. Sgt Archibald Cutter (Cary Grant), Sgt Mac Chesney (Victor Mc Laglen) and Sgt Ballantine (Douglas Fairbank Jr) are fun loving army personnel who love going on adventures together. All was fine until one of them decides to leave the service in order to get married. In what is called as a final mission, the two trick the soon to be groom to be a part of the troop.
In search of gold, Sgt Cutter and Gunga Din get trapped in a huge gathering of the religious group. As a part of the plan, Sgt Cutter surrenders to the group while instructing Gunga Din to inform his army troop about the place and situation. Call it mis-communication; the two friends along with Gunga Din turn up at the temple. All are caught and Gunga Din is branded as a traitor for helping the British. While in temple, the three musketeers get to know the master plan of the rebellion to eliminate the entire British army. The last part of the movie talks about the gallantry of Gunga Din who risks his life in order to warn the British troops and manages to convey the message of the traps set by the rebellion. On the other hand, it talks about the patriotism of Swami and his men, who are fighting for their freedom, for their country. Although, the methods employed are violent, it wasn’t for fun. They had a purpose and they went about in their own way.

George Stevens in a periodic movie to some extent displays his taste for humour showcases army staff enjoying a good laugh as they went about waging wars. Joan Fontaine plays the sole female in few scenes and fails to capture the audience in a bland role. Sam Jaffe in the title role impresses with his tailor made acting of a Hindu water carrier.
“Tho’ I’ve belted you and flayed you, by the livin’ Gawd that made you, you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!” – Rudyard Kipling, last line of his highly acclaimed poem of the same name.
Released in 1939, RKO productions made this movie which was the costliest at that time. Considering the war scenes and sets resembling rural India the movie was aptly nominated for and Oscar in the Best Cinematography Black and White category.

The Bishop’s Wife

If there is one particular theme I like in movies, it is the theme of Christmas. Movies with such a theme instill a sense of belief and gives a lot of people some hope. A hope to lead life. If it wasn’t through life, it was through movies, people found hope and even today, movies is widely considered to be a medium where people find hope.

After a long gap, Loretta Young (The Bishop’s Wife) is sharing the screen space with Cary Grant (Dudley). To be precise, their last movie together was Born to be bad released in 1934. David Niven plays the role of a bishop whose role is mainly limited to ambiguity between the funds for the new cathedral, family and his principles.



Why is this movie special? Is it because, it has Cary Grant playing one of the most refreshing roles of his life?

Cary Grant in his role as Dudley plays the character of an angel. An angel who sometimes resembles our inner voice. In this chaotic world, one hardly listens to our inner voice; since its an opinion or a thought restricted to ourselves. But when a feel good thought comes as a suggestion from others, we normally pick it up and on a higher percentage scale apply them. In short, people who are optimistic about lives listen to such suggestions and go about leading their lives catalysed by such thoughts or ideas.
Even if it is for a short time, it is the jump start one needs to refresh and get out of cross roads. Professor, The bishop’s wife, Mrs Hamilton and few others are the ones who had lost hopes in their respective lives and the same were restored by an angel. Dudley says, “Angel can be anyone on the street. Someone you dont know but can bring in a lot of change in the way we would like to lead our lives.”

The other side of the coin, cynicism exists as displayed by the Bishop, who refuses to believe in miracles, though being the mortal messenger of the almighty. He was so adamant in building the cathedral, he even went to the extent of compromising his principles to raise the funds.

His true prayers (raising funds) were finally answered; though not in a way he wanted. But who would question the method of an angel? He certainly did, but did’nt succeed to over power the methods. Dudley, the angel spends most of his time with Julia, the Bishop’s wife and their kid Debby, yet manages to answer the prayers of the Bishop. Strange method indeed. The problem of funds were never looked in, and this movie epitomises the true human nature emphasising the importance to win over someone’s heart in order to get what we truely want. Dudley won the heart of Mrs Hamilton, who finally relented to the angel’s advice and decided to shed her ego. Donating her money, she helps the Bishop to build his dream, the cathedral, a place which would provide shelter to the needy.



Dudley had to leave once the prayers were answered but it was tough as he was attached to bishop’s wife, cursed himself for being an angel; as he realised being an immortal it was impossible to beat a mortal to win over a mortal’s heart.

Directed by Henry Koster, this 1947 movie was nominated in five different categories including Best Picture and it did manage to win one for the Best Sound Recording.

That Touch of Mink

Philip Shayne, a wealthy business man is a guy who possesses a lot of charm. This charm made Cathy Timberlake, an old fashioned country girl to go mad. She has found the man of his dreams and cannot think of any other guy apart from him. Philip Shayne, played by Cary Grant meets Cathy when his Rolls Royce splashes mud on her dress and later calls her up to apologise.
After apologising in the office, he is quite impressed by her honest heart. He decides to take her for his meetings, wherein she intervenes and to his surprise manages to convince the other members to successfully negotiate a deal.
Philip takes her out to a baseball match at the Yankees stadium. He owns a part of the team. We actually get to see baseball stars like ‘Yogi Berra’, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris playing themselves getting thrown out for violating the rules.
Although, Philip is very much interested in her, he has no plans of getting married and there comes a clash because of her background. She believes in the traditional norms of getting married and start family. While he is just looking for an affair.

After much persuasion, she finally agrees to go on a holiday trip to Bermuda with him. She develops a psychosomatic rash on her body much to her disappointment and his frustration.
To overcome the disappointment, she wants to repeat the Bermuda trip and hence reaches earlier than Philip. She drinks in order to calm her nerves, ends up drinking lots. When Philip arrives, he finds her in drunken state and she makes a fool of herself and to such an extent that she falls from the window. Dressed in pyjamas, she orders the hotel servicemen to take her to his room, while others her have a good laugh about it.
In the end, she finally manages to convince him to get married and funnily in their honeymoon, he develops a rash.
This movie also happens to be the last movie, where Cary Grant persuades a girl. In his next movie, Charade, Audrey Hepburn persuades him, as per Grant’s request because of 25- year age difference.
Released in 1962, That Touch of Mink was directed by Delbert Mann, was nominated for three Oscars in Best Art Direction, Best Sound and Best Screenplay & Writing – directly for the screen categories.

Father Goose

Walter Christopher Eckland played by Cary Grant is a vagrant who is living on a beach. During WWII, he is persuaded by the British Authorities spy on the planes passing on the island. Reluctantly, he goes about his job. Commander Frank Houghton being an old friend of Mr. Eckland, it was a matter of obligation to be deserted in an island and spy.
During his stay in the island, he encounters a school teacher Catherine Frenau, played by Leslie Caron to be stranded in the island along with few children. They have managed to escape from the Japanese and thus seek shelter by taking Mr. Eckland’s help.
Mr. Eckland, as a result of a lady and kids finds himself to be out of the house and finds shelter in his boat, which is semi-damaged.
The story involves a series of comical incidents between Mr. Eckland and Catherine over many issues. With time, they get each other’s perspective and starts appreciating. Also, change of attitude towards children is seen in Mr. Eckland as he takes up the responsibility of Catherine and the children.


He builds his boat so that, it could be used to escape when Japanese invade the island. Catherine and Mr. Eckland fall in love with each other and also get married with minister playing the role of priest, perform the rituals via radio transmitter. Japanese airplanes strike the island right after the wedding ritual.

While they wait for the submarine from the Navy to arrive, Japanese invade the island. Mr. Eckland manages to distract the Japanese and escape safely.

Released in 1964, Father Goose was a romantic comedy directed by Ralph Nelson. It was nominated for three Oscars and won one Oscar for Best Screenplay, Writing. Other categories include Best Sound and Best Film Editing.

 

Topper

George Kerby, a wealthy businessman played by Cary Grant has a way to enjoy his life. His lifestyles are complimented by his wife Marion Kerby played by Constance Bennett. This life is a contrast to that of Cosmo Topper played by Roland Young who leads a much planned and scheduled life. He is the chairman of a bank of which George is one of the board members.
Controlled mostly by his wife Clara, Cosmo Topper leads a life of mechanical routine, something he cannot change and is forced by his wife to dictate matters in each and every matter of his life.
George and Marion fuelled by the energetic adrenaline, die in a car accident. To enter the passage of heaven, they must do some good deeds. So they are turned into ‘transparent ghosts’. Topper upset to hear the news of Kerby’s death. He buys the car of the Kerby’s and meets with an accident when excited by its speed loses control of the car. The Kerby couple introduce themselves to Cosmo. Cosmo Topper becomes a target in order to gain entry to heaven. Marion looks set to change Cosmo’s life.

A lot of laughs in the subsequent part of the story which tells about the mess Cosmo Topper gets into because of the pranks played by Marion and George. As a result of his new found spontaneity, Cosmo’s popularity increases and thus attract a lot of social invitations.
The comical scenes are well shot throughout the movie. The hotel scene, lip stick mark on Cosmo’s cheek, Clara Topper getting annoyed with Cosmo’s new found lifestyle, Marion tempting Cosmo, Jealous George wanting to settle scores with Marion and Cosmo, the dog and house detective scene, car being driven with no driver and many more.
The movie culminates when Cosmo is getting treated in hospital after he meets with an accident. Clara promises him to be not dominant in the future. Releasing the good work, the Kerby’s bid a goodbye to Topper as they head towards the gates of heaven.
Released in 1937, Topper was originally adapted from a novel by ‘Thorne Smith’, directed by Norman Z McLeod. This was the first black and white movie to be ‘colorized’ in 1985.
It earned two Oscar nominations – Roland Young for Best Supporting Actor and for Best Sound Recording.