|11.09.05||DVR||This Screening is part of event: DVRfest 2005|
One of Hitch's movies that I haven't seen yet, Topaz impressed me as being kind of a departure. It's a straight-up spy movie! Not only that, but it's a historical fiction spy movie! telling a story behind the scenes of the cuban missile crisis. It's also really long for a Hitchcock film, something like two hours fifteen minutes and imdb says that even that was cut down and there's more footage on the DVD. It's also nearing the end of Hitch's life/career so it's feeling less and less like the classic Hitch movie from the 40s and 50s that I tend to associate with him. So I guess there are lots of things that kind of stand out with this film...
Frederick Stafford's French accent comes and goes throughout the course of the film, and it's really odd to see John Vernon play Cuban in a Hitchcock film... I mean, he was in I'm Gonna Get You Sucka... and worked with Hitchcock. How is that possible? Anyway, maybe it's just because it was the last real spy film that I've seen but i was reminded of The Venetian Affair more than once while watching this. I guess, now that I think about it, spy stuff has always been close to Hitch's forte but it's usually just a wrapper for sequences that build suspense. Hitchcock films usually work like timepieces, filled with intricate gears and mechanisms all working together to create tension, but this movie is more like a Clancy novel without all the military detail or maybe even a Bond movie without the arrogance or novelty. It's more about political intrigue and plot than finding yourself holding your breath. That doesn't make it bad of course... I personally think those scenes kind of fractured Torn Curtain, which became less about a complete movie and more about the one death scene in particular. So cool, an interesting espionage flick to take me into the middle of the night.