One of the CIA’s top international operatives, Miles Kendig suddenly finds himself relegated to a desk job in an agency power play. Unwilling to go quietly, Kendig writes a memoir exposing the innermost secrets of every major intelligence agency in the world.
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Only modestly entertaining espionage comedy from director Ronald Neame is too easy-going to work as a spy thriller, and the humor is too slight to really work as a comedy. Walter Matthau is always entertaining, and he's backed by a great supporting cast that includes Glenda Jackson, Ned Beatty, Sam Waterston, and Herbert Lom - the cast manages to make it watchable, but not really memorable.
God, I love Walter Matthau in this. Between his performance and the constant needling of Ned Beatty's character through a series of hilarious screw-jobs Hopscotch is an unsung classic. It would be one of those underwhelmingly dull and actionless old man spy movies, but the comedic element really brought it to life.
A sort of screwball spy spoof. Matthau has one of the great faces of cinema and its a delight to see him in this. A trifle to be sure but a nice palate cleanser before jumping back into the typically less lightweight fare one finds on Mubi. As Roger Ebert wrote "Hopscotch is a shaggy-dog thriller that never really thrills us very much, but leaves a nice feeling when it's over." Indeed.
I'd love to see a slightly more intense but contemporary version of this sort of spy thriller spoof, if only today's naive western viewers could catch a true glimpse of the absurd reality of the spy biz. A little too lightweight at times toward the middle, Hopscotch nonetheless has lots of charm due mainly to Matthau's (and Jackson's) understated brilliance, as well as a solid supporting cast.
A very enjoyable, whimsical spy story. It only occasionally delves into the destabilizing and bumbling history of the CIA, but it does so enough to provide some tension and remind us of the very real stakes involved. The pacing is on-point, and the execution of Kendig's schemes fit the light-hearted theme just fine. Rounded up to 5 because it superbly told the story it wanted to tell, while being delightfully fun!