Topper Returns (1941), starring Joan Blondell, Roland Young, Carole Landis, Billie Burke, George Zucco, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson
Synopsis of Topper Returns
Topper Returns is possibly the best of the Topper trilogy. Thanks to the sassy presence of Joan Blondell. Hollywood’s favorite wisecracker who plays Gail Richards. She’s a woman accidentally murdered while staying at the home of her friend, Ann Carrington (Carole Landis). Enlisting the help of Cosmo Topper (Roland Young) Gail’s ghost sets out to find her killer.
Review of Topper Returns
Topper Returns is a very funny comedy. It begins with a murder — one young lady (Joan Blondell) is murdered by mistake when she switches bedrooms with her friend (Carole Lombard). Now a ghost, she wants to bring her murderer to justice. So, she goes to Topper (Roland Young), who’s befriended and helped ghosts in the previous two Topper movies. Although unwillingly.
Soon, it’s a spoof of the haunted house genre, with lots of humor, both verbal and physical. The interactions between the staid, middle-aged Topper and his ditzy, jealous wife (Billie Burke) are hilarious — and sweet. Eddie “Rochester’ Anderson is Topper’s chauffeur, and hilariously funny when he’s trying to not be frightened by the ghostly shenanigans. Which is most of the time. In fact, at the end of the movie:
Eddie, the Chauffeur: Doors closing by themselves. People talkin’ to nuthin’ and gettin’ answers. I’m going back.
Clara Topper: Back where?
Eddie, the Chauffeur: To Mr. Benny. Ain’t nuthin’ like this ever happened there.
The third in the Topper comedy- mystery series, Cosmo (Roland Young) is besieged by a wisecracking ghost (Joan Blondell) who demands that he help her find her killer. The story is set in Carrington Hall, a magnificent old haunted house, complete with a cloaked villain who comes and goes through walls. Falling chandeliers, secret passages, and a trap door with a chute that leads to an underground tunnel adds to the mystery. The cast of characters includes a malevolent butler, a straightlaced housekeeper, a frightfully playful seal, the disappearing body of Joan Blondell, and Topper’s chauffeur “Rochester” who is afraid of the invisible ghost’s antics. Excellent special effects and outstanding performances by an all-star cast provides delightful entertainment.
Cast of characters
- Joan Blondell (The Cincinnati Kid) … Gail Richards
- Roland Young (The Young in Heart) … Cosmo Topper
- Carole Landis (My Gal Sal) … Ann Carrington
- Billie Burke (Merrily We Live) … Mrs. Clara Topper
- Dennis O’Keefe (You’ll Find Out) … Bob
- Patsy Kelly (The Gorilla) … Topper’s Maid
- H.B. Warner (Five Star Final) … Mr. Carrington
- Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson (Broadway Rhythm) … Topper’s Chauffeur
- George Zucco (The Mad Monster) … Dr. Jeris
- Donald MacBride (Room Service) … Police Detective Roberts
- Rafaela Ottiano (The Devil-Doll) … Lillian – the Housekeeper
- Trevor Bardette (The Monolith Monsters) … Rama – the Butler