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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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I saw the last 75% of this on TV and immediately knew I needed to buy it.

Being somewhat cautious of old films transferred to DVD, on delivery I set aside a few minutes to check the quality. Over two hours later, after also viewing the excellent 'making of' feature, I realised I had missed an important appointment. On ringing up to apologise and explain, ruffled feathers were instantly soothed when they knew it was Hopscotch that had distracted me.

It is light and warm, villains are suitably discomforted, but there is no violence, and almost no bad language either apart from the bad guy - Ned Beatty's 'Myerson', the CIA boss Matthau dislikes so much.

There are numerous subtle deft touches that one might miss on a first viewing; it is beautifully made, and superbly lit and composed.

The 'special feature' gives one a lot of background about making the film, and is well worth viewing.

If you have a wet afternoon to pass, and there is nothing on TV, and reading a book is too much like hard work, and you are feeling a little down, then there is nothing better to restore you than Hopscotch.

The sound is very good, albeit mono. The picture is excellent, 2.35:1 in 16:9 frame, and, after the first few minutes where there are some minor specks to reassure you it really is film, clean and steady. This 2008 UK edition is also a region 0 DVD.
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on 14 April 2008
This was Matthau and Jackson's second pairing in a comedy. Not as witty as their previous film together (House Calls) but they still strike sparks off each other. Matthau's CIA agent is about to quit and write an expose of the intelligence world. This really hacks off his boss (Beatty), British intelligence and even Lom's head of the KGB so the three co-operate in an attempt to silence him permanently. With the help of his girl friend (Jackson) he stays ahead of them all and even rents his boss's country house for a few days. Beatty's face when he sees what his gorillas have done to it is a real picture! The plot is a bit weak at times, which is why this review doesn't give the maximum score, but Matthau is at his comedic best given the material he has to work with. Of course Jackson is always good value for money with impeccable comic timing. Not the best concept, but plenty of laughs.
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on 7 January 2004
Miles Kendig (played Walter Matthau) is a CIA agent who is used to doing things his way. When his new chief, the abusive and bombastic G.P. Myerson (Ned Beatty), decides to retire him behind a desk, Kendig decides that the CIA needs a house cleaning--and that his memoirs would make the perfect broom. Now Kendig is on the run from the Agency: sending out new chapters, playing hide-and-seek with old associates. It's all a game, a game of hopscotch, and Kendig needs to keep one step ahead. Will he succeed? [Color, released in 1980, with a running time of 1 hour, 44 minutes.]
I have loved this movie since it came out in 1980! It is just the perfect mix of adventure and humor. Humorous, but not a comedy movie--it's an adventure story with a sense of humor. And now for the bad news: to make his character more dislikable, Ned Beatty swears incessantly in this movie, which makes it a little much to watch in front of small children (I have two). That said, though, I do not know why this movie deserved its R rating. There is no nudity, and practically no violence. And I must add, the swearing is not too much for adult viewers; I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't break into uproarious laughter when Myerson angrily gives his opinion of what FBI stands for!
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VINE VOICEon 3 April 2005
This is one of Walter Matthau's best movies, and as with all of his movies there is a great background musical score. They picked just the right actor for each character. I was impressed when he asked the man behind the counter if he knew German (not if he spoke German).
Talk about nepotism David Matthau plays Ross and someone needs their eyes checked in the credits. The seaplane pilot was defiantly female (suppose to be his doughtier-in-law)
Walter Matthau plays a top CIA agent who's being confined by office politics (Myerson) to a desk job for not taking out the Russian agent Yaskov played by Herbert Lom. The disgruntled Matthau quits the service and heads to Austria, where he links up with former lover (a fellow ex-agent) Glenda Jackson. All goes smoothly until Matthau acts on the advice of Yaskov, who suggests that Matthau, his memoirs (his life in the CIA.) Spitefully, Matthau sends out copies of his first chapter to the heads of the spy agencies throughout the world--and from that point on, he and Jackson don't have a moment's peace. This delights Matthau: now that all of his former colleagues are chasing after him, he has a reason to get up in the morning. As written by Brian Garfield, Hopscotch was a conventionally serious espionage novel. As adapted for the big screen by Garfield and Bryan Forbes, Hopscotch is a lively exercise in cloak-and-dagger comedy, even when the pursuit of Matthau turns surprising towards the end. There were several different angle takes and depending on your copy you may see Sam Waterston's face when he is standing on the cliff. Other versions show his shadow only.
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on 10 December 2014
I do like Walter Matthau's dry humour in all of his films, he is unflappable and totally in control throughout. I think I would like to watch it twice to really get the gist of the reasons for some of the storylines and locations, but a friend has borrowed it, so I'll have to wait, but I did find it really interesting to watch some of the extra features, which shed light on where and when and what and why and even who...and it's lovely to hear the personal choices of who and how the actors were cast.

There was a lot of country and continent hopping, double dealings and as another reviewer mentioned, absolutely no-one got hurt, which is pretty amazing when you see the amount of CIA agents dashing around with guns and whatnot.

Glenda Jackson, well what can I say, she's just great and perfect to play opposite Walter Matthau. Think of her in A Touch of Class and that's what you get!

The other great performances are by Sam Waterston, Ned Beatty, Herbert Lom, David Matthau, George Baker and Alan Cuthbertson - what more can you ask for. Very entertaining and fun, with shots of 1980s English villages...that takes me back a bit!
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Hopscotch is one of those comedies that isn't particularly funny for much of its running time but is such an enjoyable cat-and-mouse caper it really doesn't matter. At times seeming like a playful variation on Charley Varrick (it even ends with a biplane being chased) with an intentional complete absence of violence - no-one gets hurt at all in the film - Walter Matthau is the veteran spy who gets demoted by Ned Beatty's vindictive and foul-mouthed boss and decides to get his own back by writing his memoirs and mailing it to the CIA, KGB and MI5 a chapter at a time while his erstwhile employers try to catch up with him as he flits between Austria, London, Bermuda and Beatty's own summerhouse. While Matthau shares surprisingly little screen time with romantic foil Glenda Jackson (much of their relationship is carried out long distance), his dry humor is so perfectly suited to the part it's a surprise that author Brian Garfield and co-writer (and original director before he dropped out for scheduling reasons) Bryan Forbes intended Warren Beatty to play the lead. Ronald Neame's unobtrusive direction keeps things ticking along nicely while giving the cast enough room to breathe, while Sam Waterston and Herbert Lom are good value in the supporting cast.

Unfortunately the UK DVD uses the TV soundtrack that censors and redubs all of Ned Beatty's colourful vocabulary that provided many of the original version's laughs, a particular problem with a character who can barely last a sentence without swearing, though Criterion's US DVD includes both the uncensored and TV soundtracks as well as a couple of trailers (though the picture quality isn't quite as good as the UK release). Both releases are 2.35:1 widescreen transfers that include a good 19-minute interview with director Ronald Neame and writer Brian Garfield.
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on 13 November 2003
This is one of my favourite films of all time. Walter Matthau an aging spy, is about to retire and publish his memoirs, His old department try to stop him so he enlists the help of an old flame Glenda Jackson. Matthau and Jackson despite their age and wrinkles run gentle rings round the incompetent juniors. A wonderful, enjoyable romp. It’s great fun, both the stars shine. Matthau with his Craggy smile and Jackson with her dry wit. Don’t miss it if it ever comes out again.
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on 30 December 2003
This is an extraordinary movie full of suspens and fun. The inconformist Walter Mathau drives us through his adventure escaping from those who see everything and know everything... i.e. the best information agencies in the world (CIA & KGB).
Very simple and light this really is to be seen !
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on 8 May 2015
Of all the Walter Matthau films I've seen, this has been the one that has given me most pleasure. From what I've seen, the professional critics don't seem to rate it particularly highly, which to my mind, says more about them than about the film.

Matthau's character is Miles Kendig, an experienced, clever, and practical CIA field agent working in Germany. Unfortunately for him, his boss, Myerson, is a new broom who neither understands nor appreciates the way Kendig goes about his job, and tries to tie him to a desk. Kendig takes exception to this and goes on the run – initially to Isobel (Glenda Jackson), an ex-colleague who retired, married, and now runs the German vineyard once owned by her late husband. Left slightly at a loss what to do with the rest of his life, he decides to write his memoirs and send them out, chapter by chapter, to the CIA MI6, KGB, Deuxième Bureau . . . . Kendig knows where an awful lot of bodies are buried, and in no time, Myerson, aided and abetted by M.I.6 and the Russians, are after him, in most enjoyably incompetent fashion.

There is no sex no violence, and almost no bad language, and there are some lovely touches. For example, Kendig actually rents Myerson's mother's house to write one of the chapters, and there is a photo of Myerson there – keep an eye on it!

I found the film a joy to watch, sheer fun from start to finish. Highly recommended.
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on 14 April 2016
Veteran CIA agent Matthau gets pulled from front line Vienna during the Cold War and is consigned to an office desk by his dip-stick boss (you will recognise the type). So he shreds his own personnel file, goes off to see his old flame (Glenda Jackson MP) and announces to embassies west and east that he is going to write his memoirs.

Daft but great fun.
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