“MR. TOPAZE” (“I LIKE MONEY”)— Peter Sellars Directs


Peter Sellars Directs

Amos Lassen

Albert Topaze (Peter Sellers) is a poor but proud French schoolmaster who loses his job after he refuses to change the failing grades of one of his students. Actress Suzy Courtois (Nadia Gray) convinces her lover, the corrupt city council member Castel Benac (Herbert Lom), to hire Topaze as a managing director for one of his shady businesses since he has already proven his honesty in the grades case. However, Mr. Topaze soon takes to a life of crime when he is hired and soon becomes a greedy, crooked financier.

We meet Sellers as a well-meaning provincial teacher desperate to do the right thing and marry his love Ernestine (Billie Whitelaw). He prides himself on his integrity but refuses to give higher marks to the grandson of a wealthy baroness (Martita Hunt). He is fired as a result, and then led astray by, Castel Benac, who with his mistress Suzy intends to set up a dodgy financial business using Topaze  as the managing director. Topaze discovers that money is power.

The film’s success is in its happy ending that confirms that it’s not the money that makes you happy but the freedom it offers. When Topaze is asked “Has money bought you happiness? he answers “I’m  buying it now!”.


  • Let’s Go Crazy (1951) – a madcap short film starring Peter Sellers and his Goon Show co-star Spike Milligan
  • The Poetry of Realism (2019) – Kat Ellinger video essay on auteur Marcel Pagnol, the playwright of Topaze
  • Abigail McKern Interview (2019) – Leo McKern’s daughter discusses her father’s life and career
  • 24-page booklet with notes on the film’s rediscovery by BFI curator Vic Pratt and a new essay by Roger Lewis, author of The Life and Death of Peter Sellers 

About Film Movement

 Founded in 2002, Film Movement is a North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films based in New York City. It has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide including the Oscar-nominated films Theeb (2016) and Corpus Christi (2020). Film Movement’s theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign art house titles. Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. In 2015, Film Movement launched its reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano, Arturo Ripstein, King Hu, Sergio Corbucci, Ettore Scola and Luchino Visconti. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com. Visit www.filmmovementplus.com for more information about Film Movement Plus, the new subscription streaming service from Film Movement.

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