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The Times (27/Jan/1970) - The Times Diary: Topaz trio

(c) The Times (27/Jan/1970)

Topaz trio

People who disagree about a film often claim that they can't have seen the same one: in the case of Topaz, the latest Hitchcock, they may be right

This time Hitch the businessman has outdone Hitch the director in baffling the audience. For his already complicated spy thriller, taken from Leon Uris's novel which in turn was based on fact, he produced no fewer than three endings. He dropped the first, where the opposed French agents shot it out in a football stadium; after it was derided by an American preview audience. He then shot two alternatives, of which the London critics saw the first, with the Russians' Frenchman killing himself when exposed. Several critics disliked this and George Perry, of the Sunday Times Magazine rang his friend Hitch in Hollywood to say so.

"Right." said Hitch, "Well see if the public likes the other one." So at the Odeon, Leicester Square, audiences saw the third ending in which the Communist agent got off scot-free, as in the book and reality. But Universal had so many complaints that they reverted, with the director's approval, to the second, which has now gone out on release.