Friday, February 26, 2021

Mr. Topaze (1961)

AKA I Like Money

Peter Sellers' one and only directorial effort was this adaptation of a Marcel Pagnol play. Mr. Topaze (Sellers) is a mild-mannered and honest-to-a-fault schoolteacher who is fired for refusing to inflate a rich student's grade, then ends up getting sucked into a political fraud scheme by a crooked city official (Herbert Lom).

Sellers was reportedly so unhappy with the film, or at least the response to it, that he suppressed it after its brief theatrical release, and only a single copy was known to survive in the archives of the British Film Institute. 

It's beautifully shot -- a lavish CinemaScope affair produced by Fox in England. The muted color pallet of the restoration is supposedly a result of the condition of the film elements, but it created a pleasant effect regardless.

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