Topaze (1933) - full transcript

An honest and naive schoolteacher gets a lesson in how the world works outside the classroom, when a rich Baron and his mistress use the teacher's name and outstanding reputation in a ...

[ Telephone ]

Don't answer it.

Hello .. oh, hello.

No, I haven't asked him yet.
I will now. Wait a minute.

Darling, you've got to help me.
Sister wants a tutor for Alphonse.

What, that brat?

Well .. it's a waste of education.

Tell your dear sister she's throwing
money out of the window.

Oh, now ..

Give me that.

Hello .. oh Philippe has
a marvelous tutor.

Professor "Topaze".

P'Arcy 3564.

Oh .. oh, I'll get him myself tomorrow.

Yes. Well that's alright. How are you?

Kiss Alphonse for me.


[ Alarm sound ]


What's wrong?
─ I have to go.

You don't love me anymore.

Darling, I adore you.

But you know as well as I do,
that I must get home to my wife.


Good evening, my sweet.

Where have you been?

Exhausted, darling. I'm exhausted.

I've had the most tiring day.

As it was, I had to leave before
the conference was over.

Did you miss me?
─ Oh ..

I've been almost out of
my mind waiting for you.

Hortense, I draw the line at sleeping
with Max. Now, he has his own bed.

Oh, you leave him alone. He's nervous.

Oh, Philippe.

I don't know how to begin to tell you.
─ What?

Promise me you'll control yourself.
─ Darling, I'll be as stoic as a turtle.

Something dreadful has
happened to our son.

He'll outgrow it.

Philippe de La Tour La Tour,
I'm talking to you.

Come here at once.

This is what the
State Academy thinks of ..

Your son.

"Charlemagne de La Tour."

"Geography. Zero."

"Mathematics. Zero."

"Chemistry. Zero."

"History. Zero."

"General knowledge. 30."

"Signed: Auguste A. Topaze."

Ha .. a fascinating record.

Must have had on off month.

It's a plot against our child.

A plot fostered by that
creature, whatshisname ..?


Topaze or not Topaze.

That is the question.


This is no time for joking.

Has he been eating well?

I demand that you see the
Minister of Education.

Darling, I doubt if he could
spare the time for tutoring.

You will drive me mad with your levity.

Did I hear you call me, Mama?
─ Yes, darling.

How do you, my fine scholar?

I've just been looking over
your astonishing record.

Philippe, don't make the child cry.

I won't cry, Mama.
─ Oh, darling.

Now tell your father what you told me.

Well, I'm not the idiot that
old Professor Topaze is.

He ..

Go on, dearest. Don't falter.

Well ..

He's a communist and I can prove it.
─ What?

Yes, Papa. He's against the rich. He
doesn't like me because I'm a La Tour.

You should try to win him over.

But he'll try to win me
over if he's so smart.

Come here, darling.

Now you must stop fretting.

Philippe .. I want this
Topaze removed at once.

Thanks, Mama.
─ Ah, darling.

Does this monster ever beat you?

Yes .. all the time.

Is that so? Where?

Oh .. oh, my poor boy!

Oh you .. you heartless father.

Oh, my baby.

Perhaps we'd all be more comfortable
if I used the bed in the other wing?

Philippe, your place is here.

Darling, I must get some sleep.
I have to be up very early.

Good morning.
─ Good morning, Professor Topaze.

That's a very fine odor you're
giving the countryside, sir.

You will have to excuse me.
Tomorrow, perhaps.

Good morning Dr Stegg.
─ Just a moment, Dr Topaze.

I have some good news for you.

Is it .. is it about my raise in salary?

Oh, much better.

I am pleased to report that
owing to my tireless efforts.

The highest honors that can be bestowed
on a teacher are now within your grasp.

You don't mean the Academic Palms?
─ Yes.

Oh, Dr Stegg.

Not so fast, Dr Topaze.

Twelve members of the Academy have now
read your "First Steps In Chemistry."

And are favorably disposed.

There remain but eight members, which
is three members less than last year.

Then .. I shan't be mentioned
in this year's list?

Ah .. yes, and no.

Colonel Lepping informs me that you have
been awarded the Academic Palms

In a spiritual, but not
in a political sense.

That is to say .. morally.


Well, that's something, isn't it.

It's very nice .. it give me great hope.

Have you done the potassium lesson?
─ I should say not.

You'd better look at it.
It's pretty hard.

Here it is on page 86.

This is what I think of the lesson.

Professor Topaze.

Will you pardon me? I'm a very
happy man and thank you very much.

Just a moment, Dr Topaze.

You left the electric light burning
in your classroom all last night.

Oh, I'm sorry.

How could I have done that?
─ Carelessness.

We'll have to deduct 7 francs
from your monthly stipend.

7 francs?

What a pity.

Monsieur Duval.

You have again neglected your
duties towards the calendar.

I am annoyed.

This is your third offense.

I regret I am forced to
remove it from your charge.

Monsieur Durand.

In recognition of your good marks.

The calendar is entrusted to your care.

Monsieur Le Grand,
kindly leave the room.

Morals and deportment.


Let this be a lesson to you
that Professor Topaze ..

Has eyes in the back of his head.

You may return to your seat.
─ Thank you, sir.

Before we go any further, gentlemen.

I wish to appeal to a boy.

Who has been annoying
our class for several days.

I willingly forgive him
for his past offenses.

But I must appeal to his moral sense.

To discontinue his inopportune
and undesirable melodies.

I know I shall not appeal
to his moral sense .. in vain.

[ Squeaking noise ]

Very well.

Dishonorable miscreant,
you have bearded the lion.


Gentlemen, I ask you to ignore
these and other future noises.

Act as if they did not exist.

Today we are not going to concern
ourselves with chemical equations.

Geographical questions or
matters of historical import.

We are going to consider things
of a deep and fundamental nature.

I refer to the question
of good and evil.

We are going to dwell on the habits ..

Of civilized peoples.

[ Squeaking noise ]

Let us ..

Let us take examples from daily life.

Question number one.

What must one be to succeed in life?

Monsieur Tranche Mauville

To succeed in life one must be ..

Hon .. hon ..
─ Honest.

Honest. Correct.

Eminently correct.

One must be honest. But what else?

Honest. But what more?

Monsieur Durand.

He must be honest, and ..?

Ki .. ki ..

─ Honest and kind.

Now gentlemen, let us presume.

That by some freak of nature.

A dishonest man becomes wealthy.

Well .. he is well-dressed.

He lives in a very fine room.

He has servants .. and an automobile.

Yet ..

Has this man any friends?

Monsieur La Tour La Tour.

Yes, lots.

Ah .. so ..

You think this man has friends?

I know he has.

And pray, why has he friends?

To ride in his automobile.

No, my dear Monsieur La Tour La Tour.

Those are not friends.

Such people, if they existed ..

Would be merely vile parasites.

The man we are
describing has no friends.

The people who knew him before.

Learning that his fortune
was not legitimate.

Would flee from him, as from a plague.

What does he do?

He moves into another mansion.


But .. may I ask?

Would he ..

Would he be any happier in his ..

Shall we say, mansion?

Yes. If it's a nice neighborhood.

No, my dear sir.

He would be happier in no neighborhood.

This dishonest man.

Wherever he goes.

Whatever he does.

Will be inevitably tortured.

By the disapproval.

Of his ..

I know, I know. I know.

A moment please, gentlemen.

I will give you an opportunity ..

To redeem yourself
Monsieur La Tour La Tour.

The disapproval of his con ..

Con ..


Monsieur La Tour La Tour.

I choose to think that idiotic reply
was not a weak attempt at humor.

But a definite lack of intelligence.


This dishonest man.

Would be troubled by the
disapproval of his own conscience.

And so worries, night and day.




In order to find peace at last.

He distributes .. among
the poor, his entire fortune.

As a sign that he has
at last understood.


Ill-gotten gains are not worth while.


Money does not bring happiness.


[ Squeaking noises ]

Now let us turn to a brighter picture.

What is the fate of the honest man?

Monsieur Tellinont

What is the state of the
honest man's mind ..

At the end of his day's work?

He's exhausted.

Have you forgotten what I have
so often taught you in this class?

Is work tiring?

Monsieur Cordiere

No, sir. Work tires nobody.
Only laziness is tiring.

Laziness is the mother of all vice.


Monsieur Cordiere.
You will have a hundred.

[ Squeaking noises ]

Permit me gentlemen, to elucidate.

Let us presume our honest
man is a businessman.

He will refuse to
misrepresent his product.

He will scorn unmerited profit.

And be rewarded by the
esteem of all who know him.

If a war breaks out, and he has
the good fortune to be wounded.

He will be instantly
awarded a decoration.

By his government.



You were foolish enough to mistake
my kindness for weakness.

My patience for blindness.

My young friend, the velvet
glove conceals a hand of steel.

You see that hand?

If you resist it, it will break you.

[ Squeaking noises ]

Monsieur La Tour La Tour.

Stand with your back in the corner.

Your back to the class.

[ Squeaking noises ]

You are now an object of derision
and shame to your comrades.

[ Squeaking noises ]


Do not be unduly depressed
by this painful incident.

I ..

Shall go on with the class
as if nothing has happened.

As for you, Monsieur La Tour La Tour.

I will not yet pronounce sentence.

I condemn you to a state of uncertainty.

Doctor Topaze.
─ What is it?

Bring your report card to
Doctor Stegg's office at once.

Does Doctor Stegg know I'm
in the middle of my class?

At once.

Gentlemen, I wish you to take
advantage of my absence.

By discussing among yourselves.

This question of good and evil.

And the problems of civilization.

[ Door knocks ]

Come in.

Close the door.

You have the records?

Yes, sir. I brought them as you asked.

I was in the middle of my class ..
─ Silence!

Ha .. hmm .. ha ..

Seven zeros.

Madame, I'm dumbfounded.

Proceed, Dr Stegg.

You've been with us
a long time, Dr Topaze.

So I am willing to give you
the benefit of the doubt.

I am not blaming you for
this error, but your secretary.

I hope you understand me.

I have no secretary, sir.

I myself gave Monsieur
La Tour La Tour those marks.

You can see that is my handwriting.

Ha! Do you want me and
the Baroness to believe ..

That this descendent of an illustrious
line of statesmen and heroes is an idiot?

The Baroness?

How do you do, Madame.

You see, I ..

I don't consider your son an idiot.

For I marked him ..

30 for general knowledge.

That is because I have decided ..

That he knows things that perhaps
he is unable to communicate to me.

Also, I have taken into
consideration the fact ..

That he is able to find his way
to school and home again.

However ..
─ Proceed, Dr Stegg.

Permit me to explain Dr Stegg
the meaning of those zeros.

You see, the child is totally
unconcerned with education.

He confuses himself by playing music ..

On a .. miserable little instrument.

He throws .. if you will pardon me ..

Stink bombs.

And .. whatnot.

That is what I call the active state.


On the other hand he will look at me
with a kind of thick, myopic expression.

And although he is apparently
listening intently ..

And his eyes are wide open.

He is asleep, Madame.

And if I speak to him suddenly.

He falls off his seat.

That is what I call, the passive state.

Sir, you've said enough.

You've convinced me that Madame is
right in every one of her accusations.

Doctor Topaze, you've
been guilty of favoritism.

Sir, I have been honest.


Either this creature is dismissed ..

Or I withdraw my son.

And bring the forces of
the government to bear.

Madame, I beg you listen.

Sir, you are a vile radical.


My sympathies are entirely
with the capitalists.

Topaze, you're a fool.

Go back to your class.

Pack your belongings and leave
the faculty you've dishonored.

You are no longer a
member of my academy.

Where do you think he's going?
─ I don't know.


I wish to ..

Assign you your lessons for tomorrow.

You ..

You will come prepared to go further ..

And more exhaustively.

Into the subject ..

Of good and evil.

This will be ..

Your course of inquiry.

On these ..

Noble philosophies.

The class.

Is adjourned.

For a brief recess.

Coco, after leaving you yesterday,
I investigated this man, Topaze.

I strongly recommend
against his employment.

Oh, but he's coming this afternoon.

Well, give him his bus-fare and tell
him that Alphonse has the measles.

Better make it scarlet-fever.

Is the Baron in?

Doctor Bomb to see the Baron.

Please, no business this evening.

My dear, that is the chemist
from our bottling works.

I'm naming a new water after him.

"Sparkling Bomb".
Send him in.

I must be nice to him, Coco.

Doctor Bomb lends his name
to this concoction of ours.

And makes it possible for
the public to believe in it.

If he baptizes the water, so to speak.

Madame, good evening.

Baron, good evening.
─ Doctor, good evening.

Sit down, doctor.

Baron, I have come here to make one
last appeal to your better nature.

You mean, you have something
unpleasant to say? ─ Very.

I am not going to allow my name
to be placed on the water ..

We are inflicting on our public schools.

Point number one:

You obtained the concession
by bribery and corruption. Eh?

Point number two: this liquid
has no value of any sort.

It teems with microbes.

Baron, I cannot lend my
scientific integrity to a swindle.

My conscience refuses.

You are being paid handsomely
for that spiritual discomfort.

As long as you confine your
deception to reasonable limits.

I was willing to condone
matters .. but now ..

In other words, you're not an
honest man but a nervous one.

Sir .. I am a normal citizen.

─ I ask you to reconsider ..

This swindle against the
schools of the nation.

You are also asking me to throw away
some millions of francs, my dear doctor.

As a sop to your cowardice.

I grant you, we are
misrepresenting our product.

And that it is a liquid totally
unbeneficial to its consumers.

On the other hand, our advertizing will
convince people that it is good for them.

And once being convinced, they will
be improved by its consumption.


Baron. I resign!

I will not allow my name to
become a symbol of corruption.

My dear doctor, I hope you
won't regret your sacrifice.

Never .. Madame, good evening.

Baron, good evening. I leave
this house an honest man.

Ah, well let me be the
first to congratulate you.

I don't think you handled that so well.

I could have induced him stay in
a minute by offering to double his ..

Thirty pieces of silver.

Why didn't you?

You can't sell the water without some
sort of scientific endorsement, can you?

I dislike and distrust men who are
always offering to resell their honor.

Bomb is a fool.

But you said that was the
sort of man you wanted.

I was wrong.
What I want, is an idiot.

Either a thorough scoundrel
or a complete idiot.

And I don't like scoundrels.
They are too competitive.

But idiots are hard
to find, I should think.

Oh no. Not in the scientific world.

Do let us pray darling, that
providence sends us an idiot.

Mademoiselle d'Estaing?

Whom shall I announce?
─ Professor Topaze.

Professor Topaze wishes to be announced.

I am seventeen minutes late.
And I apologise.

Professor Topaze,
the Baron La Tour La Tour.

Professor, I'm sorry
to tell you that my ..

How do you do, sir?

I have the honor of having
your son in my class.

Until this morning.
─ Did you expel him?

On the contrary it was
I who was expelled.

I take it you were dismissed for
refusing to improve his marks?

That does seem to have
been the chief trouble.

It .. it's been a day of misund ..

Of misunderstandings.

I must confess I'm ..

I'm a little confused.

Sit down doctor Topaze.

Will you have a cocktail?

You say?
─ A cocktail.

Well, I'm not a drinking man.

But .. this being somewhat
of an occasion.

I should be glad to.
Thanks very much.

Now tell me. Are you particularly
anxious to go on teaching?


Why yes, of course.
That's my profession.

May I ask, what do you hope to earn
by giving lessons as a freelance?

I know of one freelance tutor.

Who earns as much as 1,200 francs.

A week?
─ A week?

No, Mademoiselle. A month unfortunately.

Professor Topaze.

Our talk has convinced me that you have
been a victim of excessive mother-love.

I ..?

My wife was unjust to you.

I wish to repair her offense.

I have an offer to make you.

I manufacture a curative water.

My firm desires to improve
upon its medical formula.

And at this very moment we happen
to be looking for a scientist.

Whose name and whose brain we can use.

Do you think you could rise
to such an opportunity?

I am sir, the author ..

Of "First Steps In Chemistry".

Will you be good enough
to read the introduction?

Permit me, Madame .. Mademoiselle.

Begin there .. on page 3.

A biscuit, sir?

A biscuit?

This is splendid.

Ah, Professor Topaze.

Before we talk business, I'd
like to ask you a few questions.

Indeed, sir.

Now, to begin with.
Have you a family?

Alas, no.

I'm quite alone in the world.

And women. What about women?


I mean, have you some .. wife?

Or whatnot?

No. No sir. No wife.

And no whatnot, I assure you.

Very good, yes.

Well, then with whom do
you usually associate?

I sometimes see an old army friend.

He ..

He's become a waiter in
the café now, poor chap.


Providence sent you here.
I'll not take "no" for an answer.

I engage you.

Your salary will be ..

4,000 francs to start with.

4,000 francs .. a month?

Monsieur Le Baron de La Tour La Tour.

I see through your little plan.


You can't take me in, in this fashion.

I may be a simple man.
But I am not blind.

I refuse your offer.
─ May I ask why?

Because it is not in my nature, sir.

To accept charity.

My dear Professor. Charity is
the furthest thing from my mind.

You see, not only will I
derive a handsome profit ..

From the medical formula
you invent and endorse.

But I shall also, be using
your name as a slogan.

The beverage shall be known
as "Sparkling Topaze."

Ah, splendid. Now, no
more nonsense, Professor.

You are my consulting chemist and
head of the La Tour Chemical Works.

This unaccustomed drink has
made me a little bit dizzy.

We will draw up a contract immediately.

The war.

The war interrupted my researches.

You will be able to resume them now.

Yes, we expect a fine,
medicinal formula from you.

Have you ..?

Have you any particular disease in mind?


Just a general laxative and health tonic
for the school children of the republic.

Ah, that is something worthwhile.

A few hours ago.

I was a complete failure.

And now .. I'm a consulting
chemist at 4,000 francs a month.

And creator of "Sparkling Topaze".

"Sparkling Topaze".

Doesn't he know you have been
selling tap water to the whole nation?

Under his name, and
with his endorsement.

He fancies we're distributing a
sparkling water invented by him.

He's in there now. Pottering around
with improvements on his formula.

Here's his latest creation.

Is it any good?

Topaze assures me it does amazing things
to the kidneys and other vital organs.


It should be.
It costs 40 francs a bottle.


Yes, I'm glad you like it. Of course, I
prefer our Sparkling Topaze at 2 francs.

Come and see his playground.
It's a veritable inferno.

Professor Topaze. This is my
friend, Henri de Fairville.

He's a very prominent politician.

How do you do, sir?
─ Ah, Professor.

I .. I've never met any politicians.

But I've always admired them from afar.

You've seen them at their best.

Why don't you two go
outside where you belong?

We were quite happy without you.

Permit me, sir.

To show you a drop of the water
formerly manufactured for the Baron.

Thank you.

Will you .. look through there, sir?

Notice the abundance of animal life.

There are masses of the little devils.

Seven million in every drop.

Now here, is a drop of the "new" water.

Distilled three times ..

Containing phosphates,
iron and innumerable vitamins.

Like a diamond.

Thank you, sir.

I will now give you an
even more fascinating proof.

I have here .. some
pieces of prepared paper.

Now .. watch me, gentlemen.

I will dip one in ordinary water.

You notice it turns purple.

And exudes .. a most unfortunate odor.

That is due to its acid imperfection.

Now, observe.

I dip the other in our
new grade .. of sparkling ..

Sparkling Topaze.

It remains totally unaffected.

─ Thank you, sir.

I will now show you. Pardon me.

I will now show you the
improvements I have made.

On the new germicide.

[ Explosion! ]

What a pity. That was unexpected.

Are you hurt?

That was my fault.

I left some acid in the jar.

Pardon me.

Your coat, sir.


Excuse me, please. Your hat?

Baron, we have a table for you.

Sit down. Here is the table.

Oh .. may I?


Philippe .. tell him about The Palms.

The Palms?

But Coco, I was hoping
to keep it a surprise.

Well, Topaze.

Next week you will be
awarded the Academic Palms.

Oh, it's impossible.
─ Nothing's impossible. You're a genius.

The Palms will be in
your lapel by Friday.

Next Friday.

Next Friday.

Well, there is Philippe.
─ Where, my dear?

Do you know that woman?

Who? I .. no.

Madame, Monsieur.

Would you like to see the music?

No. Philippe shall face the music.

To the Academic Palms.


Well, Philippe.
You seem so much surprised.

At what? I'm delighted.

This is an unexpected pleasure.

Permit me. My wife.

Doctor Topaze and Madame Topaze.

Madame Topaze. Delightful.

What did you say?
─ My wife, Professor.

How do you do?


The name sounds familiar.

Haven't I seen you somewhere before?

Doctor Topaze is head of my laboratory.

You saw his picture in the
paper this morning, my dear.

Oh, of course. Of course.

Pardon the intrusion.

Delighted to have
met you, Professor, sir.

And you too, Madame Topaze.

You have a very talented husband.

Dinner at 8, Philippe.
─ At 8, my love.

She didn't recognize me.

Excuse me.
─ Please, my dear.

What's the matter?

Baron, I'm afraid you hurt her feelings.

You shouldn't have called her
Madame Topaze. Even in jest.

Goodbye my dear Professor.
Let's go now.

We must lunch together again soon.

Hello Maxie, darling.

Mademoiselle, I am so sorry.
You must overlook it.

I can't.

Nobody looking at you would think for
a moment you were Madame Topaze.

It's ridiculous.

Where are we going?

You know .. it was a dubious jest.

Calling you "Madame Topaze".
And I sympathize with you.

There are times when I
myself have almost wept.

To be called "Monsieur Topaze".

Please. Please stop it.

But you're crying. I must do something.

You are really out of your head.


Yes, you're insane. Completely insane.

I think you misjudge me a little.

Do you want to know why I left the
table? You had nothing to do with it.

Good heavens, I wasn't
even thinking of you.

Now, you're just being kind.

Oh, stop babbling like a child.

I'm as sensible as ever.

Professor. You're deaf, dumb and blind.

The Baron introduced me to
his wife as "Madame Topaze" ..

Because he was
frightened out of his wits.

Of what?

Of her finding out. Of her
even suspecting something.

The way he turned pale
and shivered in his boots.

Palming me off as Madame Topaze.

Shivers in his boots?

May I ask why he should do that?

Because he's my lover.

Oh yes.

You are jesting.

About what, for heaven's sake?

About your ..

Your relations.

With the Baron.

Do you mean to tell me you hadn't known?

What's the matter?

Nothing. Nothing.

You must forgive me .. I ..

It's not your fault ..

That I had some ..

Curious .. misconception of you.


I wish I could do something about it.

Oh, look!

You're no longer a little schoolmaster.

You're a great man now.

I don't feel like a great man.

─ Yes, sir?

Did you telephone the hairdressers?
─ Yes, sir. ─ Well?

Madame has not been there.

I'll have a whiskey and soda.

And are you staying for dinner, sir?
─ I'm staying until she comes home.

Very good, sir.

Good evening, Joseph.
─ Good evening, Madame.

─ You here?

Where have you been?
─ With Professor Topaze.

Just a moment, Topaze.

You seem a trifle nervous, Monsieur.

I am.
─ Sit down.

Well, sit up .. why are you
looking at me like that?

What have you been doing?


Topaze, until this moment,
you seemed an honorable man.

What's changed you?

I will be frank.
─ I thought so.

And you could do a thing to me like
this after what I've done for you?

I've done nothing.

Now, you wish to deny it.

Out with it, Topaze. Where
have you been with Coco?

To the cinema.

─ Yes. ─ What!

Very pretty.

May I ask what picture you saw?

Why, yes.

It was entitled: "Women Of Passion".

You know, I never imagined that people
comported themselves in that manner.

Although innocent of any wrong-doing ..

She was driven into the street,
where the Argentine was waiting.

Now, quite unaware
that he'd made this bet.

She foolishly accompanied him.

Forgive me, Professor.
You belong in a fable.


Monsieur de Fairville, and Dr Bomb, sir.

Philippe, you must do
something or we are ruined.

Ruined? I doubt it.

Take your hat off, Henri.

It will quiet you. And sit down.

Doctor Bomb .. be seated.

Will you excuse us for a
few moments, Dr Topaze?


So you are doctor Topaze, eh?

Let me have a look at you,
you scientific Judas!

Dr Bomb, you're drunk.

Whiskers and all, eh? Perfect.

Who? Who is he?

I'll tell you who I am.
I am an honest man.

Come to see the back of you ..
─ Ha?

Sit down.

Baron, is he ..?

Shall we send for the Police?

Listen who's talking about
the Police .. you swindler.

You must deal with him, Philippe.
He's going to expose us.

Be quiet, Henri and sit down.

Doctor Topaze .. this is my affair.

I demand you leave.

Oh no, sir. I wouldn't leave
you at such a moment.

Doctor Bomb. State your case.

Baron, I'll be brief.

One hundred thousand francs in cash.

Or I expose your dishwater.

What .. what dishwater?


This plague-ridden
concoction, you swindler!

Is he mad?
─ Gentlemen, please be seated.

May I trouble you, Henri?

Dial 3, draw 12.

Your visit Dr Bomb is not
entirely unexpected.

So you would like a
hundred thousand francs?

For your goodwill?
─ Yes.

Here, my foolish fellow are what
in melodrama are known as ..

The papers.

I am in no mood for jokes.

Allow me. It is my turn to be objectionable.

In 1924 one Emile Winkleman was employed
at the charity hospital at Marseilles.

A short, squat, peculiar-looking fellow
with what is known as an Assyrian beard.

Are you listening, Dr Bomb?

Don't go.

I'll be brief.

We skip to page 8.

And we find, December the 4th 1925.

The same Emile Winkleman, beard and all,
vanishes from the charity hospital.

And with him, a magnificent sum
of money belonging to the state.

There is a great hue and cry, but
Emile is never seen or heard of again.

However, on September 22nd 1927.

There arrives in Paris a short,
squat smooth-shaven fellow.

With a pigmentary mole
on his right cheek.

Who soon finds employment as a chemist.

And under the name of ..

So you intend to blackmail me, huh?

With the greatest of reluctance
and only in self-defense.

Baron, you are the most impudent
scoundrel I've ever known.

Doctor Bomb, I'm impervious to flattery.

As for you, you sanctimonious swindler!

Enjoy your ill-gotten gains.

While you can.

But the world knows what you are.

A fake .. a thief!
Topaze is a thief!

Put up a new sign.

Topaze is a thief!

Topaze is a thief!



One moment, sir.

[ French language ]

[ Doorbell ]

Good morning.
─ Oh, it's you.

Yes, it's always me.

A gorgeous day.

The sun is shining.
The birds are twittering.

Almost like a day in May.

Where is he?

Did you find out anything?
─ Nothing. But he'll come back.

Did you sleep well?

Philippe .. something
has happened to him.

My dear, you are carrying
on like an ingenue.

I assure you nothing
has happened to him.

There is a special providence
that looks after simpletons.

Oh, you make me sick.
─ My darling, I'm sorry.

─ Uhuh?

Philippe. We must find Topaze.

I kept thinking all night of that
look in his eyes when he left.

What sort of nonsense is this?

Why, I swear you're crying.

I've never heard of such a thing.

My darling.
─ No. Don't touch me. I can't.

Not with him lying dead
somewhere, surrounded by cats.


Good morning, sir.

Auguste .. you're hurt.

Why, you poor man.
Where have you been?

Look at the mud.
And look at your clothes.

Topaze, you're behaving like a child.

Take that absurd expression
off your face and sit down.

I came back .. to pay for my crime.

Oh, Auguste. Don't be silly.
You've done nothing.



It would be a little difficult
to believe in my innocence.

I don't believe in it myself.

They will say.

Nobody can be as great a fool as ..

As Topaze.

It ..

Would be straining the
credulity of the court.

What court?

The court before which we must stand
and be convicted for what we are.


Some people to see Dr Topaze.
─ Who?

Quite a delegation, sir.
Some are in uniform.

The Police.

Tell them.

Tell them I'm ready.

Just a moment. I'll see them.


Here we are.

Bonjour mon Colonel.


So you came back to share our fate.


You silly creature.

You're so foolish, you make me ashamed.

Well, my fine criminal.
Are you ready for the Police?

I am.


Professor Auguste Topaze.

The representatives of The Republic.

Professor Topaze.

I've been delegated to confer on you ..

All too tardily ..

The honor which you have merited
by your work in the field of science.

The Academic Palms.

The .. Palms?

The Palms.

But just a moment, gentlemen.

Gentlemen .. Dr Topaze is
a man of deeds, not words.

He is overcome.

Out of respect for his feelings, will you
make the ceremony as brief as possible.

What's the matter with him?
─ He's drunk. Hurry up.

Professor Auguste E Topaze.

Teacher, scholar, scientist and author.

For your diligence, for your learning.

For your humanitarian labor.

As head of La Tour Chemical Works.

I, Henri de Fairville, in
the name of The Republic.

Confer on you the insignia
of the Academic Palms.

Count de l'Espinàz, First Assistant of
the Bureau of Awards and Merits.

Professor Henri Buoyan, Second Assistant
of the Bureau of Awards and Merits.

Monsieur Etienne Cannet, Third Assistant
of the Bureau of Awards and Merits.

Colonel Robert de Chapette.

Colonel DeMorian. Colonel Rochefort.

Assistant Commissioners of
Scholastic Awards and Merits.

Congratulations, my dear Professor.


You are the Republic of France?

I am a member of the
government, Professor.

And you gentlemen ..

Are friends of the Baron?

We're not only friends, my dear Topaze.

But .. business associates.

Oh, I see.

I understand.

I think you'd better thank them.

Thank you, gentlemen.

Thank you very much.

Speech .. speech .. speech .. speech!

I .. can merely say.

I have dreamed for many years.

Of this honor.

I always thought.

It .. would be the happiest
moment of my life.

When it came.

If it ever did come.

In fact.

I wrote out a speech .. long ago.

It's in my laboratory now.

Expressing my true feelings.

But ..

It wouldn't fit.

It would sound too humorous.

I ..

I am afraid I have
outgrown that oration.

In the last .. few moments.

So you will forgive me.

If I'm not ..

Speaking it.

I would rather say merely ..

Thank you, gentlemen.

It is more than I deserve.

Bravo, bravo!

Come gentlemen.
We'll adjourn to the library.


You are a great man.

Without them.


Now I am what they call a great man.

I am not "Topaze".

"Topaze" lies dead.

In an alley.


Can't you see how different I am?

I am a distinguished scientist.

I am a man of honor.

I have been decorated by The Republic.

I wear the Palms.


Do you know of a good barber?

Very becoming, Auguste.

Do you .. do you like it?




Is the back snug?
─ Like a glove.

It's .. for the races. Look.

It has a double-breasted waistcoat.

I trust you are comfortable, sir?
─ You do, eh.

Dr Topaze sends word. He will
contact you in 5 minutes.

Well, I'm honored.

Now listen, you incarnate prickly heat.

Ask Topaze what he means
by making me wait 25 minutes.

The man has delusions of grandeur.

Ah, Dr Stegg?
─ Yes.

It is now a matter of
20 minutes, to half an hour.

Tell him we are quite comfortable.

Thank you.



Oh dear, I've been
waiting here 35 minutes.

I've been here over an hour.

What a busy man.

Oh no. I just pretend I'm busy.

I'm flopping in and out
constantly, and keep barking.

Do you know, if one has
time to listen to people ..

They have no respect for one.

One must be ..


I've kept Dr Stegg waiting
20 minutes already.

In another half hour, he'll
be in complete awe of me.

Dr Stegg? Isn't that the wretch who ..
─ Who threw me out of this school?

It is .. now he want me to honor him.

By attending his graduation
exercises this afternoon.

And distributing the
prizes among his pupils.


Would you like to come along?

Oh, that would be fun.

But you might have called for me.

Instead of summoning
me here like a tyrant.

It's better manners.

My dear Coco, in a crisis ..

One omits a bow or two.

You are in a crisis?
─ Well, not yet.

But in a few minutes.

I'd .. I'd love to share
a crisis with you.

Do you mind if I sit here?

It .. it makes me feel more effective.

Do be effective.

Send the Baron de La Tour
La Tour in, please.


What are you up to?

The most frightful villainy.


I'm sorry to have kept you waiting.

I don't mind humoring you
Topaze, but don't overdo it.

Oh, what are you doing here?
─ Visiting.

I sent for her.

I have a matter of grave
importance to take up, sir.

Ha, what a man.

Always bringing matters of
grave importance to my head.

Coco, do you mind sitting
over there so I can't see you?

Certainly not.

Is this the crisis?

It begins now.

So, what sort of charades are these?

I am just .. trying to think.

How to begin the matter.

A disciple of mine should always
come to the point. Immediately.

Thank you, sir.

I am receiving 8,000 francs a month.

As Chief of the La Tour Chemical Works.

We both know they are non-existent.


Really, if I took my job seriously,
I should have nothing to do at all.

So I have decided I should
be more honestly employed ..

As ..

─ No, thanks.

As a partner.
─ What?

What are you raving about?

I am asking you, sir.

For a third interest in
this thriving concern.

Topaze, you delight me.

Such effrontery is refreshing.

I am very much afraid, sir.

That you underestimate me.

I repeat my request.

─ Ominously?

Topaze. Do you realize how much a
third interest in the business would be?

To a fraction, sir.

Coco, I'm disappointed
in our little Professor.

He's had a relapse.
He's as absurd as ever.

I see there is nothing
to be gained by ..

By words.

Dr Bomb.
─ "Yes, sir?"

Drawer 12, file 12.

Coming up.


I am about to be very objectionable.

Here, as they say in
melodrama, are the papers.

You will find, written out here.

A complete report.

Of your relations with Coco.

Dates .. sayings .. and doings.


Your stock in this firm
is in your wife's name.

And your wife, if I may say so.

Is a very formidable woman.

When she reads this fascinating data.

Her subsequent antics
are easy to imagine.

You are the most impudent
scoundrel I've ever known.


I am impervious to flattery.

To think that I nursed and reared
that Frankenstein under my own roof.

Philippe, is that all you have to say?

Are you going to give in?

A difficult situation.

Allow him to adjust himself.

Coco .. this would ruin me.

What can I do?

Softly and silently, vanish away.

I .. have taken the liberty.

Of drawing up a partnership contract.


A pen, sir.

Gentlemen of the Stegg Academy.

And you my dear parents.

We are singularly honored today
in having with us an old friend.

I'm sure we can all call you a friend.

An old friend whom I've asked to return
to the scene of his first success.

Silence, if you please.


Nobody realizes more than I that
this is a great day of your lives.

I announce that in addition to prizes
awarded to the individual students ..

For their diligence and
brilliance in individual subjects.

The Academy this year, has
selected for it's Banner Pupil ..

It's model of intellectual youth.

None other than Monsieur
Charlemagne de La Tour La Tour.

And now the moment arrives
which you've all been waiting for.

I have the privilege and honor to bring
to you the distributor of the prizes.

The beloved scientific
genius of The Republic.

My very good friend.

We welcome you back, Doctor Topaze.

Gentlemen .. dear ladies.

Doctor Stegg.

Members of the faculty.

Where is my pointer?

Thank you .. thank you very much.

Ah, now I feel more at home.

And ..

My glasses.

These .. glasses have seen a
great deal of service in this room.

So, gentlemen.

I suppose you are saying to
yourselves, that can't be Dr Topaze.

My, how different he
looks in his new suit.

And without his ..

His whiskers.

Well, gentlemen.

Since that day you saw me last,
I have been out in the great world.

And I have learned a great deal.

You have noticed gentlemen,
that I have changed.

But it pleases me to see that
here, nothing has altered.

The mottoes, they are all the same.

Like yourselves,
I studied them a long time.

And I learned to know them well.

But my dear children.

I have something rather sad to tell you.

It will surprise you to know, that unlike
the lessons you have learned here.

In the outside world.

Honesty is not always rewarded.

It's very true, sir. Very true.

I can even say, Dr Stegg.

That villainy often receives
more applause .. than virtue.


The world that lies outside that door.

Is a most upside-down place.

You will be shocked someday when,
full of maxims, mottoes and education.

You behold injustice triumphant.

And wrongdoing receiving the rewards.

Which should be given
only to the virtuous.

Doctor, please. You forget yourself.

Doctor Stegg thinks I
am forgetting myself.

Alas, I remember myself too well.


Regardless of what the
world outside is like.

Within these walls which
are still dear to me.

Injustice shall not triumph.

Nor wrongdoers be rewarded.

I have been instructed.

To deliver the highest school honors.

For diligence, deportment and talent.

To one Charlemagne de La Tour La Tour.

Monsieur de La Tour La Tour.

Kindly step forward.

Monsieur La Tour La Tour.

I see by this report that you
are marked 95 in history.

May I ask you a question?

What can you tell me about
the three Punic wars?

There were three Punic wars.
During the first Punic war ..

The first Punic war .. war ..

Hmm .. you don't seem to know
much about the first Punic war.

What can you tell me about
the second Punic war?

After the first Punic war
came the second Punic war.

The second Punic war ..

Let us proceed to the third Punic war.

After the first Punic war came
the second Punic war ..

And after the second Punic war
came the third Punic war.

A very scintillate deduction.


During the third Punic war ..

They burnt Carthage.

They burnt Carthage!

They had a war.

Zero .. zero .. zero.

You will return to your seat.

Can anyone answer the extremely
complex question I have just asked.

Concerning the three Punic wars.

Are you sure you all know?

First Punic war: 264 BC.

Second Punic war: 218 BC.

Third Punic war: 14 ..




Thank you very much.

Have you the prize, Dr Stegg?

I award the symbol of learning.

To all of you.

I give it to you with the request.

That when you have entered the world.

And witnessed there ..

The strange evidences ..

Of amazing injustice.

You will remember that once, at least ..

Through the unworthy
hand of Professor Topaze ..

Virtue triumphed.

And honesty was rewarded.

As ..

Read the mottoes .. on these old walls.

Fancy that.

Come back at eleven.