Topper [1937]

A classic screwball comedy with a supernatural twist, Topper stars the incomparable Cary Grant and sparkling Constance Bennett as George and Marion Kirby, a fun-loving couple who cap an evening of jazz and champagne by running their car into a tree. They return as ghosts with a mandate to liven up the straight-laced hen-pecked life of bank president Cosmo Topper (Roland Young), who's hungry for just such a shake-up. Before long he's boozing, dancing, and getting into fights, all of which gives him a rakish reputation--much to the consternation of his wife (Billie Burke, best known as Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz). The sequel replaces Grant and Bennett with Joan Blondell, who can't quite compare, but she's charming in her own way. Topper Returns is a rambunctious murder mystery with some gorgeous sets and elegant cinematography--the sequence of Blondell's death and ghostly rise is dazzling. --Bret Fetzer

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