Tuesday, April 28, 2015


How do I explain why I love this 1980 movie so much? I must have seen it when it first came out, but since then I haven’t gone looking for it, or even remembered it particularly. But a while ago I watched it, and then watched it again, and again, and then finally bought the DVD. 

I think one of the reasons I love it is that the hero, Miles Kendig, played by Walter Matthau, is always in control. There is never a moment in the film when he is outsmarted or thwarted or in danger. Another reason the movie is so appealing is takes place in some beautiful locations - Salzburg, London, the English countryside, Savannah, and Munich.

Kendig is a savvy ex-CIA agent who decides to write his memoirs when the agency demotes him to an office job. He reconnects with an old girlfriend, played by Glenda Jackson. They have one of the best on-screen relationships ever. They really understand and deeply love one another. 

The movie is fast-paced and funny and relaxing because we know that Matthau will come out on top. Now that I have the DVD, I watch it as often as I like, and I never, ever tire of it. The cast is excellent, and Matthau’s son and step-daughter are also in the film which makes for a little extra fun. 

David Matthau, Herbert Lom, Ned Beatty, Sam Waterston

Another treat is that Kendig is a Mozart fan so there is a lot of beautiful music. There’s a great deal of humor - some slapstick and some intellectual and I love it all. 

Here are a couple quotes from the movie that I found interesting. 

At one point there is a discussion about how many publishers are in London, and the answer was
A dozen or so major houses. Perhaps 30 or 40 small presses.
I wonder how many there are now. I’d guess a lot fewer.

And there's a funny line spoken by Isobel -
An American without ice in his drink is unthinkable, if not unconstitutional.
This is certainly true of all the Americans I know, but not this one. I never put ice in my cosmo. 

You may read a great review of Hopscotch here. And you may watch it on Hulu Plus.

If you buy the DVD, there is a wonderful conversation with the writer of the book, which won the Edgar Award in 1976, Brian Garfield and the director of the film Ronald Neame who says that Hopscotch "didn’t get very good reviews but it was tremendously popular."

Here is the trailer


  1. Thanks for that, Nan. Don't recall this being on general release in the UK but then I might be wrong. I have certainly never seen it, so will be looking for it now.

  2. I've never seen this movie. And look at how young all those actors are. Herbert Lom - never forget him in the Pink Panther movies.

  3. Nan, I can't thank you enough for telling me about this film!
    I have been in love with Salzburg since I was a kid and hey, you already know I love England and Georgia!
    I ADORE Walter Matthau, I think he was a fantastic actor! I know he didn't like Barbara Streisand in Hello Dolly but he hid it well, I love him in it. He also liked Elvis by the way, they were in the film KING CREOLE together!
    Hey, have I convinced you that I like Walter Matthau? HA!
    Thanks again for telling me about this movie!!

  4. Don't remember this movie at all, but seeing as we live near Savannah I may have to take a look at it.

  5. Never heard of it, but it sounds great!

  6. I think I have a faint recollection of watching this movie! Definitely worth checking out again. Have I told you how much I enjoy your blog? I don't know how I stumbled upon it, but I'm so glad I did. Such an enjoyable read!!

  7. I too have this movie on DVD and like you I love it. It was my husband's favourite movie - you've prompted me to play it tonight , but it's out on loan yet again! This is the most popular DVD in our collection. Don't Glenda Jackson and Walter Matthau have a wonderful chemistry?


  8. Thank you for the recommendation! I've never heard of it before but it sounds like one I'd love too.

  9. Thanks for the recommendation ... Sounds like one we could both enjoy ... In our tiny house that's kind of a big plus!

  10. Nan, thanks you so much.
    Just finished looking at this film from Netflex.
    I watch few films and so many times disappointed
    If sad or violence cannot watch.
    Like something that gives me a good feeling :)
    Some musicals and they do not make anymore.
    So good for me to sit still for 1 1/2 hours.
    Any in the future recommentions appreciated

  11. I watched this a while ago - and it made me want to see more of Glenda Jackson's films. But I've yet to enjoy Walter Matthau (and here was no exception - I just didn't take to his character or his screen presence). Your review at least lets me better understand why someone would like watching him here. And I agree, the locations are beautiful.


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