Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Topper (1937)

A mediocre ghost comedy, made sporadically funny by Cary Grant and Constance Bennett as newly-minted ghosts. The special effects, which are good for the day, are overplayed and get to be tiresome. This was hugely popular. Cary Grant got a percentage deal on this film and made a ton of money, which is maybe why he opted out of the sequels.

Quick note on ghost movies. They only work (at least for me) when the rules work. In this movie, the ghosts are just not ghostly enough. They can eat and drink, and when they feel like it, people can see them. I had the same problem in Truly, Madly, Deeply: Alan Rickman just wasn't enough of a ghost. Why was Juliet Stevenson so sad when she still had her husband around the house? Ghost is pretty good, until the very end, when Patrick Swayze can suddenly have a fistfight with Tony Goldwyn. The best ghost comedy of recent years is Ghost Town with Ricky Gervais, a nearly perfect little comedy, and the rules of the ghosts are rigidly followed.


  1. The third dorkiest thing I have done this week might be replying to your post about ghost comedies. I just wanted to say that I think "Ghost"'s rules were actually pretty stringent, and that the fight at the end went along with what was established before. I mean if he could learn to move objects from the weird looking guy in the subway, why couldn't he have used the same power to learn to punch someone? That being said, "Ghost Town" has got to go through some sort of critical re-evaluation at some point, its so much better than people give it credit for. And also, you are definitely right, though, "Topper" is a pretty lame comedy, even when taking when it came out into consideration.

  2. I actually loved the Topper movies when I was a kid. They would come on the Disney Channel and my mom would make popcorn and we would watch and laugh. I don't know if my adult self would like them though, it's been a while!