filmed in 1980, celebrated
director Ronald Neames
caper Hopscotch finally comes to DVD.
And it is every bit as humorous and
enjoyable today as it was nearly thirty
years ago. Now thats film-making!
FACED WITH A DESK JOB HE DOESN'T WANT when new boss Myerson (Ned Beatty)
sidelines him, veteran CIA agent Miles Kendig (the marvellous Walter Matthau)
decides to write an exposť about the world's top intelligence agencies
and he disappears with his former lover and retired spy Isobel (much-acclaimed
actress Glenda Jackson).
Having sent teaser samples of his manuscript out to antagonise his former colleagues
and adversaries, Kendig leads both the Americans and the Russians led
by Yaskov (the brilliant Herbert Lom) on a merry dance across the globe
as they try to stop the publication of Hopscotch, his memoirs.
Foiling his pursuers from the CIA, FBI and KGB at every turn gives Kendig plenty
of scope for comedy as he runs rings around them all, using every available
mode of transport whether trucks, cars, planes, sea planes or hovercraft. And
at one stage Myerson feels the heat a little too close to home!
Very funny and very clever, even by today's standards, Hopscotch is an
enjoyable chase across Europe, America and the Caribbean and has hilarious and
touching moments as Kendig tries to keep one step ahead of the CIA's best. Isobel
bemoans the spying game: "Today you need a scorecard to work out what's going
on!" But Kendig appears to easily outwit fellow CIA agents Joe Cutter (Sam Waterston)
and Leonard Ross (David Matthau Walter's son) until he makes a
Matthau was nominated for a Golden Globe for his starring role in this hilarious
comedy, released for the first time on DVD courtesy of Second Sight.
Hopscotch was originally written by Brian Garfield as a conventional espionage
story but he adapted it for the big screen along with Bryan Forbes as a superb
cloak-and-dagger escapade. Beautifully filmed on location in Munich, West Germany;
Salzburg, Austria; London, England; and Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, USA,
this golden oldie has stars that can act and don't need a mass of computer-generated
special effects to entertain their audience.
Available now on DVD (released 21 April,
2008), Hopscotch carries a 12 certificate and is priced at £15.99. Special
Feature: Introduction by director Ronald Neame and writer Brian Garfield.
"Walter Matthau is unforgettable" Filmcritic.com
"Some splendid performances" Radio Times
"Matthau is utterly convincing as the spy gone AWOL. Very funny and very clever,
Hopscotch is a compellingly entertaining catch-me-if-you-can story"