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#29 Topaz

Another espionage thriller to add to his extensive catalogue, this film involves Cold War politics and events leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The first half of the film splices real footage of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara within the actual film showcasing Hitchcock’s magical touch for realism and authenticity. The second half of the film follows the unraveling of an International Russian spy ring in France, and the film as a whole is closely based on true events known in history as the 1962 Sapphire Affair. Together the film is too long and drawn out into such detail without reminding us why we care to begin with. Similar to Torn Curtain the characters are ultimately forgettable aside from supporting actors who get few minutes of screen time. The film does have an auspicious ending however, depending on what version you may have seen. The ending Hitchcock preferred involved the leader of the spy ring boarding a flight to Russia, insinuating his escape as our heroes board their flight to the United States. Unfortunately this ending never hit theatres as Hitchcock was pressured to have the villain take his life instead. Both endings, along with a third ‘twenty minutes longer’ ending consisting of an epic duel, are all easily accessible on DVD for your viewing pleasure.

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