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SARDONIC MATTHAU AND SOPHISTICATED JACKSON
on April 17, 2003
HOPSCOTCH (Criterion) from 1980 is a light-weight, cynical but entertaining take on Cold War shenanigans. Walter Matthau is at the top of his form as Miles Kendig, a sardonic CIA agent who, suddenly relegated to a desk job in an agency power play, announces plans to get even by publishing a tell-all book. Ned Beatty is Matthau's arrogant, crude, boss who is increasingly desperate to off Matthau before the book gets out. (By a fluke, there was just such a book that made big news after this film went into production!)
Sunny, globe trotting locations from Atlanta to Berlin to Vienna and laid back direction from Ronald Neame are a big plus, but what makes this a worthy consideration for your digital library is the classy chemistry between Matthau and Glenda Jackson, who plays Matthau's Viennese lover. Remember their near-perfect pairing in 1978's House Calls? It's as good if not better here. The widescreen transfer is super crisp and there's a fun interview with Neame and author Brian Garfield.