7 July 2007 | bkoganbing
Host To Said Ghosts
Roland Young's portrayal of stuffy banker Cosmo Topper was so well received that it spawned two sequel films and a television series during the Fifties. It's a great example of that genre that was done best in the Thirties, the screwball comedy.
Cary Grant and Constance Bennett are George and Marion Kerby, a pair of rich dizzy socialites for who life is a non-stop party. Every now and then we have to tend to business, such as Cary showing up for Board of Directors meeting of the bank where Roland Young is president.
One find day while driving at a high speed Cary totals his car and he and Constance wind up ectoplasm. Stuck between this world and the next Connie concludes that a good deed must be done if they're to gain entrance through the pearly gates. Who to bestow this good deed on, but Roland Young.
Though this is now classified as a Cary Grant film, Cary has a lot less to do here than either Bennett or Young. He has his moments, but it's really their show. Though physical consummation is impossible, Bennett and Young run off to a resort hotel for a wild fling. That sets the stage for a lot of physical type comedy which Bennett does well and Young is properly maintaining dignity at all costs.
Billie Burke plays Young's wife who doesn't quite know what to make of her husband's rebellion against their well ordered life. Butler Alan Mowbray is equally nonplussed. However the best performances here among the supporting cast are Eugene Palette as the house detective and Arthur Lake as a bellboy at that resort.
Topper is one of those films that probably could do with a remake. I can see Julia Roberts in Connie Bennett's part and possibly Tom Hanks in the Cary Grant role.
But they'd have to go some to beat this one.