Topper (1937)

Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Cary Grant, Arthur Lake, Lana Turner, Hoagy Carmichael
** CONTAINS SPOILERSSophisticated, fun-loving couple, GEORGE and MARION KERBY, drive to New York for the annual board meeting of the bank at which George is a stock-holder. Arriving the night before, George and Marion - always up to a good time - go out on the town, dancing and frolicking the night away. As dawn arrives, they pull up to the bank, catching a snooze in the car's front seat, startling the PASSERSBY...another wild night for the carefree, happy Kerbys!Meanwhile, COSMO TOPPER, the bank's chairman, begins another regimented day, plucked from the shower by his efficient, sarcastic butler, WILKINS, who guides Topper through his morning routine, announcing the time at intervals. Topper goes down to breakfast, joining wife CLARA, who monitors her husband's life closely, draining it of all spontaneity. A good sport thus far, Topper tolerates her meddlesome plans with a bemused sense of husbandly duty.The board meeting goes off as scheduled, even though George Kerby arrives in the nick of time, having awoken in the car at the last minute. Bored Marion shows up in Topper's office later, gently teasing Topper, who's clearly smitten with her bold, prankish style, even though he's too restrained to admit it. Later, as George and Marion race home from the meeting, George loses control of the car, and they crash. Crawling out of the rubble, George and Marion realize they are transparent...they're becoming spirits! But George wonders why there are no "trumpets," no formal prelude into heaven, and it's Marion who suspects that they might be expected to perform good deeds as a way of earning entrance through the pearly gates. Suddenly, George and Marion watch themselves as they vanish entirely, now genuine ghosts!Topper is depressed after the Kerbys' death, and wife Clara notices his mood. When the Kerbys' car is restored, purchased by Topper, he goes for a ride by himself, attracted by its speed and snazzy elegance. But suddenly Topper can hear the voices of George and Marion, and indeed they appear before the amazed banker, explaining that they have a short supply of ectoplasm and can therefore only appear for brief intervals. They ask the bewildered Topper to drive them to their penthouse, where Topper imbibes, blissfully free of his wife's control. When he passes out, Marion decides that Topper û whom she suspects is much more fun-loving than he appears -- is their way into heaven: If they can bring some joy and spontaneity to his life, perhaps they'll get through the pearly gates.The invisible Kerbys lead an inebriated Topper through the lobby, startling everyone they pass. When a melee develops in the street, Topper is arrested for being drunk and disorderly, brought before a JUDGE, who fines him one-hundred dollars. Clara reads about the incident in the paper. Horrified, she upbraids her husband for the whole affair, certain that their social life is ruined. On the contrary, Clara is later surprised when the incident inspires several social invitations, their friends delighted by the stuffy Topper's apparent new spontaneity.Topper goes to work, where everyone grins at him, delighted by his new image. Marion shows up in his office, gently teasing Topper and kissing him on the cheek, telling him she wants an ice cream soda. A delighted but embarrassed Topper escorts the invisible Marion from the office, startling his staff with the inexplicable appearance of lipstick on his cheek. When Topper takes Marion to a dress salon, she creates havoc, and Topper, embarrassed, sneaks away, leaving her behind. At home, Clara finds one of the lacey items Topper was going to buy for Marion, and she's jealous, leading to a fight. Topper decides to move out, packing his bags and leaving in the car.Marion appears in the car beside him, suggesting they head for the elegant Seabreeze Hotel. There, they check in, but the sight of a pen moving on its own draws the attention of a sour HOUSE DETECTIVE, who proceeds to monitor their every move. When he hears Marion's voice from Topper's room, the Detective alerts the MANAGER, but after searching Topper's suite, they can find no evidence of a woman, since Marion, delighted by the ruse, has vanished.Meanwhile, George Kerby arrives at Topper's house, looking for Marion. Annoyed with the whole affair, he chides Clara Topper for being so controlling of her husband, then sets out to find Marion. At the hotel nightclub, Topper decides he wants to dance with Marion, but when George shows up, he gets into a spat with his wife. The House Detective, observing all, confronts them, shocked when both George and Marion vanish. Their ghostly antics create mayhem on the dance floor.George and Marion make up, but Marion still wants to help Topper. After getting rid of the House Detective by distracting him with a dog, as well as eluding COPS, the trio take off, racing away in their car. Another crash ensues, and Topper, banged up as he is, assures the Kerbys that he has no intention of returning to his dreary, overly ritualized life with Clara. But Topper passes out, waking up at home, telling a NURSE that he wants to see Marion, even though the confused Nurse has no idea who Marion is. Outside, George and Marion prepare for heaven, hoping their good deed with Topper is sufficient for entrance. George has even stopped drinking. And indeed, a contrite Clara, happy that her husband is all right, holds him gently in his arms, determined to be a less controlling, more fun-filled wife. Topper is delighted by the change, and the Kerbys, waving goodbye from the window, prepare for the pearly gates...
  • 1937-07-16 Released:
  • N/A DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • N/A Writer:
  • Norman Z. McLeod Director:
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