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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "I Like Money")

 

Directed by Peter Sellers
UK 1961

 

Peter Sellers directs and stars in this bittersweet comedy, based on a Marcel Pagnol play and chosen by the British public in 2016 to be digitized by the BFI. Described by Sellers biographer Roger Lewis as a lost classic, Mr. Topaze marked the actor's directional feature debut and teamed him with his The Ladykillers cohort and future Pink Panther comic foil Herbert Lom, in a stellar cast that also features Nadia Gray, Leo McKern, Billie Whitelaw and John Le Mesurier.

Playing the eponymous Mr. Topaze, a poor, provincial French schoolteacher slowly corrupted by big business, Sellers is at the peak of his powers. This melancholy character comedy , rarely seen since its release and available here for the first time on Blu-ray and DVD, is essential viewing for fans of Sellers' unique genius.

***

Honest French teacher Auguste Topaze (Peter Sellers) is fired after refusing to alter the bad grades of a baroness' grandson. Sensing an opportunity, actress Suzy (Nadia Gray) convinces her lover, corrupt city council member Castel Benac (Herbert Lom), to hire Topaze as a managing director for one of his businesses, arguing that Topaze's well-known honesty will protect the company from suspicion. When Topaze learns he is being used, he decides to swindle his manipulators. 

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 31st, 1961

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:37:00.875        
Video

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,871,891,687 bytes

Feature: 24,165,083,136 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Peter Sellers at the NFT:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
BFI

 

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,871,891,687 bytes

Feature: 24,165,083,136 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Let's Go Crazy (1951, 33:20): a nightclub-set madcap variety show featuring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan
The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film (1960, 11:14): Richard Lester and Peter Sellers' Goonish comic short, featuring Sellers, Spike Milligan and Leo McKern
Film Star: Peter Sellers (1967,37:10): a profile of the actor and comedian
Maurice Woodruff Interview (1967, 19:09): Peter Sellers' favourite clairvoyant interviewed by Bernard Braden for a TV series, Now and Then that was never made
John Boulting Interview (1967, 21:09): the director discusses his relationship with Sellers in an unbroadcast Now and Then interview with Bernard Braden
Peter Sellers at the NFT (1960, 97 mins, audio only): the actor addresses an enthusiastic throng of fans
Abigail McKern Interview (2019, 20:15): the daughter of Leo McKern discusses the great actor's life and career
The Poetry of Realism (2019, 13:16): journalist Kast Ellinger's video essay on Marcel Pagnol, the writer of the film's theatrical source, Topaze
Stills Gallery (6:28)

DVD
**FIRST PRESSING ONLY** Fully illustrated booklet with new writing on the film by BFI's Vic Pratt and full film credits


Blu-ray Release Date:
April 15th, 2019
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

BFI have transferred Peter Sellers' Mr. Topaze to a new Blu-ray package. It's on a dual-layered Blu-ray in 1080P. Like The Ladykillers it can look pink or sepia-leaning and slightly bleached, or faded, in most scenes. It is in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and looks clean in-motion with only a few vertical scratches. It has blocky textures. Contrast, or the source density, may have been compromised over the years. It looked fine though on my system and some primary colors (reds shift to maroon) have a rich appearance despite much of the image being de-saturated. 

NOTE: From James in FB: "The transfer is from a rare theatrical print and as BFI says "Unfortunately this rare element has suffered from cyan and yellow layer fading which has led to a magenta bias in the colour palette. Every effort has been made to minimise the magenta bias but unfortunately the image inevitably has a somewhat desaturated appearance." It still looks good, but the colors are not intentional." (Thanks James!)

Mr. Topaze is transferred via a linear PCM mono (24-bit) track and there are no intensive effects - dialogue is clear and audible. The film features a score by Georges Van Parys (The Earrings of Madame De..., Casque D'Or, Le Million, L'Age D'Or, Madame de..., French Cancan, Les diaboliques, 1958's Les Misérables) - some will also note George Martin's I Like Money. The audio quality for the music is clear with occasional depth. There are optional English subtitles on this Region 'B' Blu-ray.

BFI include 'Peter Sellers at the NFT' from 1960 - an audio only piece that runs during the entire feature film where the actor addresses an enthusiastic throng of fans. It is fun and informative. Let's Go Crazy is a restored, 1951, 1/2 hour video with a nightclub-set madcap variety show featuring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film has Richard Lester and Peter Sellers' Goonish comic short, featuring Sellers, Spike Milligan and Leo McKern from 1960, running about 11-minutes. Film Star: Peter Sellers runs 37-minutes and is a profile of the actor and comedian from 1967. Also from that year is a 20-minute Maurice Woodruff interview with Peter Sellers' favorite clairvoyant questioned by Bernard Braden for a TV series episode of Now and Then that was never produced. There is a John Boulting interview running 20-minutes, also from 67; where the director discusses his relationship with Sellers in an unbroadcast Now and Then interview with Bernard Braden. New is a 20-minute piece with Abigail McKern: the daughter of Leo McKern who discusses the great actor's life and career. The Poetry of Realism is also new and has journalist Kat Ellinger's video essay on Marcel Pagnol, the writer of the film's theatrical source, Topaze. This is excellent and appreciated. There is a lengthy stills gallery, a second disc DVD and for the first pressing, purchasers get a fully illustrated booklet with new writing on the film by BFI's Vic Pratt and full film credits.

Mr. Topaze is an amusing comedy. Peter Sellers, Billie Whitelaw, Nadia Gray, Herbert Lom, Leo McKern, John Neville are wonderful. It is lacking in some areas but driven by the fun characters. I'm happy to have seen it for the first time in my life. There is plenty to like here with the endless supplements. Sellers' fans will get the most out of this BFI
Blu-ray.

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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