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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Directed by Ronald Neame
Criterion Collection 1980 DVD/VHS Feature Film

Miles Kendig is a seasoned 30-year CIA operative who is demoted by Myerson, his new chief, for being soft on Communism. The agent shreds his file and takes off for Salzburg where he settles down for a while with an old lover and considers his options. Kendig decides to write an expose on the activities of the CIA and other espionage agencies around the world.

Most of Hopscotch is just that — scenes of Kendig hopping from one country to the next while being pursued by those who have the most to lose by the release of his memoir. Director Ronald Neame makes the best use of locations in Munich, Salzburg, Bermuda, London, and the Deep South as the ex-CIA wizard comes up with a delightful bag of tricks to elude his enemies.

The cast is superb: Walter Matthau's Kendig is a clever fellow whose wit is as sharp as his mind; Glenda Jackson is charming as his lover; Ned Beatty's portrayal of Myerson is a funny study of a by-the-book bureaucrat. Sam Waterson is just fine as Kendig's protégé; and Herbert Lom as a KGB agent is suave and self-seeking. Hopscotch offers a successful mix of adventure, comedy, and romance.


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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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