Topper Returns (1941)

“It isn’t every day a girl gets murdered!”

Topper Returns Poster

When the friend (Joan Blondell) of an heiress (Carole Landis) is accidentally murdered, her ghost enlists the help of Cosmo Topper (Roland Young) in identifying the killer.


Roy Del Ruth directed this final installment in the inexplicably popular Topper trilogy, which banks on much of what made the first two so successful: plenty of ghostly special effects and tedious slapstick humor. While it’s no masterpiece, the presence of Joan Blondell as the ghost de jeur (replacing Constance Bennett’s “Mrs. Kirby”) adds a much-needed touch of sass and vigor to the proceedings, and the Old Dark House “whodunit” plot at least provides viewers with a welcome narrative hook (I’ll admit the ending caught me by surprise). Best of all: Billie Burke as Cosmo’s airhead wife is given mercifully few scenes!

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Joan Blondell as Gail
    Topper Returns Blondell

Must See?
No. As noted previously, the Topper sequels are certainly not must-see viewing — though Blondell makes this one more bearable than its predecessors.


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