Newly restored from the last surviving 35mm prints, MR. TOPAZE is the lone directorial effort from comedy icon Peter Sellers.
Unwilling to sacrifice his principles, Albert Topaze (Peter Sellers), a poor but proud French schoolmaster, loses his job after he refuses to alter the failing grades of one of students. Seizing the opportunity to exploit his well-known honesty, actress Suzy Courtois (Nadia Gray) convinces her lover, the corrupt city council member Castel Benac (Herbert Lom), to hire Topaze as a managing director for one of his shady businesses. But when Topaze learns he is being used, he cunningly turns the tables on Benac and makes off with all the money.
Sellers’ first and only credited directorial feature, MR. TOPAZE displays the British comic genius at the peak of his powers alongside his future Pink Panther nemesis Herbert Lom and a stellar supporting cast that includes Nadia Gray, Leo McKern, Billie Whitelaw and Michael Gough. Long considered a “lost” classic, MR. TOPAZE was digitally restored at the request of the British public from the last known surviving 35mm prints held in the BFI National Archive.
1961. 97 minutes. Comedy/Drama/Classic. NR.
“Truly shines… Sellers imbues it all with a sense of fun that is right up there with his finest work of the period.”
“Its abiding bittersweetness, in fact — more than its flashes of familiarly dithering humor — is what has become this “lost” curio’s chief preservative. What stands out, unsurprisingly, is Sellers himself — if not his behind-the-scenes navigation, then what obviously mattered most to the ascending star: burnishing his versatility by adding Pagnol’s threadbare, dignified pedant with a blind spot to a growing repertoire of memorably amusing/hapless characters.”
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