Oscar Movies: Topper Takes a Trip (1938)

Topper Takes a Trip, the 1939 sequel to the hugely popular Topper contains a few clips from the 1937 feature, and its star, Cary Grant, is very much missed.

Even so, Grant’s reliable co-stars. Constance Bennett, Roland Young, Billie Burke and Alan Mobray are all back in the second segment of what would become a trilogy.

Picking up where the first film left off, it centers on the mild-mannered banker Cosmo Topper (Roland Young) who is being sued for divorce by his wife Clara (Billie Burke), due to his strange and questionable behavior while in the company of the mischievous ghosts George and Marion Kerby (Grant and Bennett).

The ghosts wanted to “liberate” Topper from his stuffy existence, thereby performing a good deed that would allow them entree into Heaven. George Kirby was permitted to ascend to the Choir Invisible, but for some obscure reasons, the spirit of Marion was left behind. For her part, she thinks that the only way she’ll be allowed past the Pearly Gates is to reunite Mr. and Mrs. Topper.

To accomplish her goal, she follows Clara to Paris and Monte Carlo. This time, Marion is joined in her mission by Skippy, a ghostly pooch that can appear and disappear at will.

As in the earlier Topper film, Roy Seawright’s special effects gte the most attention, assisted by the performance by Roland Young as the ever-flustered Cosmo Topper.

Equally entertaining are some of the supporting players, including Veree Teasdale, Franklin Pangborn, and Alex D’Arcy, each given some witty lines.

The second of producer Hal Roach’s Topper films (based on the novels by Thorne Smith), Topper Takes a Trip was followed in 1941 by Topper Returns, and then by the TV series of the 1950s.

Oscar Nominations:
Special Effects: Roy Seawright

Oscar Context:
The winner of the Special Effects Oscar was “The Rains Came.”