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Topaze (RKO 1933, John Barrymore, Myrna Loy)

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The great John Barrymore becomes a mousy teacher in winning comedy Topaze. After being discharged from his position due to meddling from chemical magnate Reginald Mason’s wife, he applies for a job at Mason’s bottled-water company. Barrymore throws himself into his work and develops a sparkling, healthy water that becomes a hit with the public.

When he discovers that Mason is selling tap water instead of his concoction, Barrymore finds the man’s man within and challenges the tycoon. He winds up with a share of the business and Mason’s mistress, Myrna Loy. Ben Hecht adapted Pagnol’s play for its first English-language screen version.

In addition to this version, there are four other screen adaptations of Marcel Pagnol’s 1928 French play about a hoodwinked inventor: two (1936, 1951) directed by Pagnol himself, the 1932 French original, and a 1960’s British version starring Peter Sellers, Mr. Topaze.

production details
USA | RKO | 78 minutes | 1933
Director: Harry d’Abbadie d’Arrast
Script: Ben Hecht, Benn W. Levy, Marcel Pagnol,

cast
John Barrymore as Professor Auguste A. Topaze
Myrna Loy as Coco
Reginald Mason as Baron Philippe de La Tour-La Tour
Jobyna Howland as Baroness Hortense de La Tour-La Tour
Jackie Searl as Charlemagne de La Tour-La Tour
Albert Conti as Henri de Fairville
Frank Reicher as Dr. Stegg
Luis Alberni as Dr. Bomb
Lowden Adams as Joseph–Butler

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