Topaze (1933)

78 or 80 mins | Comedy-drama | 24 February 1933

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HISTORY

According to the Var review, Paramount bought the screen rights to Pagnol's play, but, feeling the story was not "appropriate for American audiences," gave up the American rights to RKO, preferring to make a version in French for foreign distribution only. According to a Var news item, Robert Benchley was to "adapt the dialog" on the production, but his contribution to the final film has not been confirmed. Myrna Loy was on loan from M-G-M for this production. Although Frank Morgan played the title role in the Broadway production of Topaze and was under contract at RKO at the time of filming, he was passed over for the part, according to Var . A FD news item announced that Paul Porcasi and Raymond Borzage were cast in the film, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed.
       Inter-office RKO memos indicate that Topaze grossed a record-breaking $93,000 in its one-week run at the Radio City Music Hall. According to the MPPA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Topaze was rejected and denied re-issue certification by the PCA in 1936. The film was selected as one of the National Board of Review's ten best films of 1933. Pagnol's play has been filmed many times, including the 1932 Paramount French production, directed by Louis Gasnier and starring Louis Jouvet; a 1933 Egyptian production called Yacout Effendl ; a 1936 French version, directed and written by Pagnol and starring Arnaudy; and a 1961 British production, I Like Money ( Mr. Topaze ), directed by and starring Peter ... More Less

According to the Var review, Paramount bought the screen rights to Pagnol's play, but, feeling the story was not "appropriate for American audiences," gave up the American rights to RKO, preferring to make a version in French for foreign distribution only. According to a Var news item, Robert Benchley was to "adapt the dialog" on the production, but his contribution to the final film has not been confirmed. Myrna Loy was on loan from M-G-M for this production. Although Frank Morgan played the title role in the Broadway production of Topaze and was under contract at RKO at the time of filming, he was passed over for the part, according to Var . A FD news item announced that Paul Porcasi and Raymond Borzage were cast in the film, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed.
       Inter-office RKO memos indicate that Topaze grossed a record-breaking $93,000 in its one-week run at the Radio City Music Hall. According to the MPPA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Topaze was rejected and denied re-issue certification by the PCA in 1936. The film was selected as one of the National Board of Review's ten best films of 1933. Pagnol's play has been filmed many times, including the 1932 Paramount French production, directed by Louis Gasnier and starring Louis Jouvet; a 1933 Egyptian production called Yacout Effendl ; a 1936 French version, directed and written by Pagnol and starring Arnaudy; and a 1961 British production, I Like Money ( Mr. Topaze ), directed by and starring Peter Sellers. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
22 Dec 32
p. 2.
Film Daily
30 Dec 32
p. 11.
Film Daily
23 Jan 33
p. 6.
Film Daily
10 Feb 33
p. 7.
HF
14 Jan 33
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 33
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
11 Feb 33
p. 30.
New York Times
10 Feb 33
p. 12.
Variety
14 Feb 33
p. 21.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Interiors by
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Topaze by Marcel Pagnol (Paris, 9 Oct 1928).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 February 1933
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 8 February 1933
Production Date:
began 21 December 1932
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
24 February 1933
Copyright Number:
LP3724
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor Recording System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
78 or 80
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Professor Albert A. Topaze, an honest, naive chemist and schoolteacher at the Stegg Academy in Paris, loses his job when he refuses to alter the grades of Charlemagne de La Tour-La Tour, a bratty baron's son. On the same day, Friday the 13th, Topaze calls on Coco, the baron's mistress, who is shopping for a tutor for her sister's child and has gotten Topaze's name from La Tour. Upon meeting and listening to the sincere remarks of Topaze, the baron, who is the head of the La Tour Chemical Works, decides to employ him as a scientific dupe for his phony curative water. Unaware that the water, "Sparkling Topaze," which is being sold all over Paris, does not contain the medicinal formula he invented for it, Topaze is shocked when a blackmailing colleague, Dr. Bomb, accuses him of being a thief and a fraud. After confirming that "Sparkling Topaze" is in fact phony, a dazed Topaze returns to Coco's apartment ready to be arrested. Instead, however, he is awarded the Academic Palms prize by a corrupt government committee. His naivete thoroughly destroyed, Topaze decides to fight back by becoming more corrupt than his mentors. With Bomb as his assistant, he opens his own office, where he makes dignitaries wait to see him and then blackmails the baron into a partnership in his company. Because of his newfound prestige, Topaze, who has also garnered the romantic attention of Coco, is asked to speak at the Stegg Academy graduation. Instead of giving Charlemagne his ill-gotten class prize, Topaze, suddenly re-inspired by his own philosophical placards, makes a speech about life's pitfalls and awards ... +


Professor Albert A. Topaze, an honest, naive chemist and schoolteacher at the Stegg Academy in Paris, loses his job when he refuses to alter the grades of Charlemagne de La Tour-La Tour, a bratty baron's son. On the same day, Friday the 13th, Topaze calls on Coco, the baron's mistress, who is shopping for a tutor for her sister's child and has gotten Topaze's name from La Tour. Upon meeting and listening to the sincere remarks of Topaze, the baron, who is the head of the La Tour Chemical Works, decides to employ him as a scientific dupe for his phony curative water. Unaware that the water, "Sparkling Topaze," which is being sold all over Paris, does not contain the medicinal formula he invented for it, Topaze is shocked when a blackmailing colleague, Dr. Bomb, accuses him of being a thief and a fraud. After confirming that "Sparkling Topaze" is in fact phony, a dazed Topaze returns to Coco's apartment ready to be arrested. Instead, however, he is awarded the Academic Palms prize by a corrupt government committee. His naivete thoroughly destroyed, Topaze decides to fight back by becoming more corrupt than his mentors. With Bomb as his assistant, he opens his own office, where he makes dignitaries wait to see him and then blackmails the baron into a partnership in his company. Because of his newfound prestige, Topaze, who has also garnered the romantic attention of Coco, is asked to speak at the Stegg Academy graduation. Instead of giving Charlemagne his ill-gotten class prize, Topaze, suddenly re-inspired by his own philosophical placards, makes a speech about life's pitfalls and awards the prize to the entire class, admonishing them to remember the importance of ethics and honesty. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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