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Topper (MGM 1937, Cary Grant, Constance Bennett)

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Topper was one of the greatest delights of ’30s cinema. Happy-go-lucky married couple Cary Grant and Constance Bennett fritter away their time and considerable wealth with parties, driving fast cars, and annoying stuffy banker Roland Young with their inattention to important matters such as boring board meetings.

When they run their roadster into a tree, their consternation at being only halfway to heaven turns to a conviction that they must liven up Young’s life. So the specters instigate parties, purchases of roadsters, and holidays at the shore. Young’s wife is outraged at his newfound zest until she starts to have fun too. Young could not be better as he reacts to his invisible visitors (the scene in which the ghosts help the drunken Young down hotel steps and through the lobby is priceless physical comedy). Followed by two sequels and a TV series.

Topper also has the dubious distinction of being the first feature film to be colorized. Turner Entertainment, owner of the film library of MGM, aggressively pursued an early colorization process.

Academy Award Nominations: Best Supporting Actor: Roland Young; Best Sound Recording.

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production details
USA | MGM | 97 minutes | 1937

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Script: Jack Jevne, Eddie Moran, Thorne Smith, Eric Hatch,

cast
Constance Bennett as Marion Kerby
Cary Grant as George Kerby
Roland Young as Cosmo Topper
Billie Burke as Mrs. Clara Topper
Alan Mowbray as Wilkins – Topper Butler
Lana Turner as Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Eugene Pallette as Casey – Seabreeze House Detective
Arthur Lake as Elevator Boy / Bellboy
Hedda Hopper as Mrs. Grace Stuyvesant
Virginia Sale as Miss Johnson – Mr. Topper’s Secretary
Theodore von Eltz as Seabreeze Hotel Manager
J. Farrell MacDonald as Policeman (as J. Farrell McDonald)
Elaine Shepard as Bank Secretary
Doodles Weaver as Rustic
Si Jenks as Rustic
Irving Bacon as Hotel Clerk (uncredited)
Billy Wayne as Taxicab Driver (uncredited)
Harry Wilson as Onlooker at Street Brawl (uncredited)
Walter Walker as Judge (uncredited)
Ward Bond as Eddie – Cab Driver Slugged by Topper (uncredited)
Grace Hayle as Outraged Heavy Woman (uncredited
Syd Saylor as Car Salesman (uncredited)
Shep Houghton as Waiter (uncredited)
Ruth Warren as Hen-Pecked Motorist’s Wife (uncredited)
Ernie Alexander as Reporter (uncredited)
Hoagy Carmichael as Hoagy – Piano Player (uncredited)
Lionel Belmore as Bank Guard (uncredited)
Clem Bevans as Board Member (uncredited)
Betty Blythe as Mrs. Goodrich (uncredited)
Claire Du Brey as Sales Clerk (uncredited)
Bess Flowers as Patron at Rainbow Club (uncredited)
Pat Gleason as Taxicab Driver (uncredited)
Kenneth Harlan as Hotel Manager (uncredited)
George Humbert as Tony – Nightclub Owner (uncredited)
Martha Tilton as Member of ‘Three Hits and a Miss’ (uncredited)
Russell Wade as Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Claire Windsor as Mrs. Simpkins (uncredited)
Marvin Bailey as Member of ‘Three Hits and a Miss’ (uncredited)
Davison Clark as Police Sergeant (uncredited)
Donna Dax as Hat-Check Girl (uncredited)
Vince Degen as Member of ‘Three Hits and a Miss’ (uncredited)
Eddie Fetherston as Courtroom Reporter (uncredited)
Tom Herbert as Hen-Pecked Motorist (uncredited)
William Irving as Policeman (uncredited)
Eddie Kane as Maitre d’ (uncredited)
Harold Miller as Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Frank O’Connor as Sea Breeze Hotel Doorman (uncredited)
Bill Seckler as Member of ‘Three Hits and a Miss’ (uncredited)

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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