Topper Takes a Trip Blu-ray Review

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Ghostly Travels

A romantic melee fills this easy going sequel. Topper Takes a Trip loses Cary Grant from the first Topper – Grant’s good deeds landed him a spot in heaven – but Constance Bennett does return. Her good deed will be getting Topper (Roland Young) and his wife (Billie Burke) back together amid divorce proceedings.

The hook is opposing forces. Bennett pushes Topper toward his wife; his wife’s divorce lawyer (Veree Teasdale) keeps them apart. It’s an awfully small give-and-take story, even for 80-minutes. Everything in Topper Takes a Trip revolves around the humor, sluggish in spots where the story stalls to lure in some reactionary laughs. But, it is funny, goofy and wild, and promiscuously suggestive for the late ‘30s.

For a bit of late Depression-era fun, Topper Takes a Trip deals in mild escapism

For a bit of late Depression-era fun, Topper Takes a Trip deals in mild escapism. A ghostly spirit getting the best of snobbish hotel owners is the Topper series at its peak. Bennett’s perky, enthusiastic performance counts for a lot; the drier, more reserved Roland Young then is an appropriate counterweight.

Topper Take a Trip’s structure isn’t inventive. Topper enters a scene, Bennett’s invisibility intrudes, Topper gets in trouble, next scene. Creative uses for Bennett’s abilities create the needed screwball awkwardness. Topper needs to explain why he eats two dinners and why he needs two beds. He’s a quick thinker, even if the explanations baffle various hotel staff. Of course they think he’s a kook, but the gentler customer service attitudes of the day require extreme professionalism.

Post-Hays code, there’s a work-around for the sexual antics. A man loses his swim trunks when buried in sand, leading to a series of shots where he’s forced to stay down while a giant beach ball runs him over. Topper himself is caught in the arms of another woman – a hotel maid – after her dress in inadvertently torn off. The point is clear, the comedy is still rich, and the innocence is adorable in the modern era.

Harmless fluff defines this sequel. A change in location to the French Rivera doesn’t amount to much outside of language mishaps. Characters hardly develop from where they begin. Yet, it’s a story of doing the right thing, even if getting there disrupts a number of lives. It’s too kind-natured to care.

Video

VCI issues this second sequel third on Blu-ray, after Topper Returns. That’s confusing. Regardless, it’s worth the wait. The print shows minimal damage, a handful of intrusive scratches notwithstanding.

Grain is clean and maintained. Some compression (mosquito noise) is noted, but likely only to those on larger screens. Otherwise, precision of grain replication keeps Topper Takes a Trip appearing natural to a film-based source.

The scan keeps resolution high and consistent. Reasonable sharpness produces pleasing detail. Exterior shots of the hotel capture the small touches in the architecture. Textural elements stay in view, and close-ups define minutiae.

Gray scale is the only whiff, leaving Topper Takes a Trip with a flat spectrum lacking in density. Black isn’t a factor at any stage and whites miss their peak. Without that density, depth sags.

Audio

There’s a small amount of hiss in the audio, but keeping that as part of this PCM mono presentation is natural. Left lean and thin by age, the minor score keeps enough fidelity and remains clean. All of this exists in a suitable mid-range and thankfully free of any damage.

All of the dialog is intelligible, with a natural stage echo.

Extras

Just a trailer, sadly.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Topper Takes a Trip
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

Trying to stop a divorce, Topper Takes a Trip finds the returning Constance Bennett trying to reunite the title character in a thin story.

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