US / 105 minutes / color / International Film Investors, Sham, Connelly, AVCO Embassy Dir: Ronald Neame Pr: Edie Landau, Ely Landau Scr: Brian Garfield, Bryan Forbes Story: Hopscotch (1975) by Brian Garfield Cine: Arthur Ibbetson Cast: Walter Matthau, Glenda Jackson, Sam Waterston, Herbert Lom, Ned Beatty, David Matthau, George Baker, Ivor Roberts, Lucy Saroyan, Severn Darden, George Pravda, Jacquelyn Hyde, Mike Gwilym, Douglas Dirkson, Allan Cuthbertson, Ann Haney.
Hopscotch (1975) is widely regarded as one of the best novels by the incredibly talented Brian Garfield, who died at the end of December 2018, aged 79. The screen adaptation of that novel, even though co-written by Garfield, is a rather more light-hearted affair than its print original, although it shares very much the same plot (a notable difference is that the character of Isobel von Schönenburg is new) and the same fascination for the way one man’s twisted ingenuity can outwit the efforts of powerful but unimaginative institutions, no matter the resources they can bring to bear against him. It is, in short, a Trickster story, to use the terminology created by my old friend and colleague John Clute for The Encyclopedia of Fantasy.
Walter Matthau as Kendig.
After a successful operation in Munich, CIA veteran Miles Kendig (Walter Matthau) is berated by his self-important, blustering pig of a boss G.P. Myerson (Beatty) for not having taken the chance to bring in or eliminate Mikhail Yaskov (Lom), head of the KGB in Western Europe. Ignoring the valid reasons for Kendig having decided as he did, Myerson demotes him to a desk job.
Glenda Jackson as Isobel.
So Kendig walks away from the agency, without so much as a goodbye, to join his old flame Isobel von Schönenburg (Jackson) in Salzburg. There, following a jokey suggestion of hers, he begins to write his tell-all memoirs, mailing the manuscript one chapter at a time to Continue reading