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Hopscotch

By Jeff Shannon

Walter Matthau is in peak form in Hopscotch, a featherweight spy-game comedy in which he plays a CIA agent who's way smarter than his dimwitted superiors. That's the fantasy part--this amusing cat-and-mouse game is so lopsided that you can't take it seriously. The movie's charm is derived from the sardonic pleasure with which Matthau makes his pursuers look like idiots, after they've targeted him for "termination" for publishing a tell-all memoir about his tenure in "the Company." He's no stool pigeon, however; it's his boss (played with blustery thick-headedness by the great Ned Beatty) who's abusing his power, so Matthau recruits an old lover (Glenda Jackson) to join him in a globetrotting game of clandestine cleverness. Under Ronald Neame's too-casual direction, this is a not-so-wild goose chase, but Matthau and Jackson (reuniting after they had fun making the 1978 comedy House Calls) have an easygoing chemistry that's nicely balanced with Matthau's cantankerous shenanigans.

 

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"Hopscotch was probably the best spy movie ever made. Walter Matthau is a cunning CIA agent who goes up against a pompous, arrogant, know-it-all, new on the job, CIA Director. And, before it's over, has the secret service agents of the three superpowers looking for him to "stop" his book from reaching the public. Matthau opens up a whole new world of espionage style and "succeeds" in keeping you in suspense and laughter! I could watch this movie many times over. I have been looking for a copy of this movie for years."

--Beth Orr



 

FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Ronald Neame

Stars: Walter Matthau, Glenda Jackson, Ned Beatty, Sam Waterston, Herbert Lom

Released: October 10, 1980

Availability: DVD VHS


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