Topper (1937)

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Topper (1937) is an American comedy film starring Constance Bennett and Cary Grant which tells the story of a stuffy, stuck-in-his-ways man, Cosmo Topper (Roland Young) who is haunted by the ghosts of a fun-loving married couple.

The film was adapted by Eric Hatch, Jack Jevne and Eddie Moran from the novel by Thorne Smith. The movie was directed by Norman Z. McLeod, produced by Hal Roach, and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The supporting cast includes Billie Burke and Eugene Pallette. Topper was a huge hit with film audiences in the summer of 1937; since Cary Grant had a percentage deal on the film, he made quite a bit of money on the film's success.

Topper was followed by the sequels Topper Takes a Trip (1938) and Topper Returns (1941). There was a television series, which premiered in 1953 and ran for two seasons, starring Leo G. Carroll, Robert Sterling and Anne Jeffreys. In 1973, a television pilot for a proposed new series Topper Returns (1973) was produced, starring Roddy McDowall, Stefanie Powers and John Fink. A TV movie remake, Topper (1979) was also produced starring Kate Jackson, Jack Warden and Andrew Stevens. Nearly Departed, a short-lived American TV series of the 1980s starring Eric Idle of Monty Python fame, was based on the same premise.

In 1985, Topper was one of the first black-and-white films to be re-released in a colorized version, produced by Hal Roach Studios and Colorization Inc.

Topper was a box-office hit, and gave a boost to the careers of all the lead actors, in particular Cary Grant, who moved from this film into a series of classic screwball comedies such as The Awful Truth (1937), Bringing Up Baby (1938), and Holiday (1938). Constance Bennett - who has previously been known as more of a "clothes-horse" than an actress - received very good notices, and Roach reunited her with director McLeod and screenwriters Jevne and Moran - was well as Billie Burke and Alan Mowbray - for 1938's Merrily We Live.