Topaz (1969, USA) C-127m. ** D: Alfred Hitchcock. Starring Frederick Stafford, Dany Robin, Claude Jade, Michel Subor, Karin Dor, John Vernon, Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret, Roscoe Lee Browne, John Forsythe, Alfred Hitchcock. Plodding, talky spy drama from Hitchcock (based on a Leon Uris novel), which he considered a misfire himself. Stafford plays a suave French agent, who is hired by the Secret Service to find out details of Russian KGB officer who managed to escape to the West. It turns out that he knows about the Russian activities on Cuba (the film is set in 1962). Never fully involving, with only a handful of Hitch's typical directorial touches. Allegedly, Hitchcock shot two different versions (at least two alternative endings are in existence), the longer one running 143m.

© Ron Altman