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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Video introduction featuring interviews with director Ronald Neame and novelist and screenwriter Brian Garfield
  • Original theatrical trailer and teaser
  • The original television audio track, remixed for family viewing, presented as an alternate audio track

Hopscotch


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Ronald Neame
Starring: Walter Matthau, Glenda Jackson, Sam Waterston, Ned Beatty, Herbert Lom
1980 | 105 Minutes | Licensor: Studio Canal

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #163 | Out of print
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: August 20, 2002
Review Date: September 4, 2010

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SYNOPSIS

Miles Kendig knows too much. One of the CIA's top international operatives, he suddenly finds himself relegated to a desk job in an agency power play. Unwilling to go quietly, Kendig, with the aid of a chic Viennese widow, puts himself back in the game by writing a memoir exposing the innermost secrets of every major intelligence agency in the world. The CIA wants Kendig dead, but he refuses to cooperate-he's having too much fun. Based on Brian Garfield's best-selling novel, and starring the inimitable comic team of Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson, Ronald Neame's Hopscotch is a smart and stylish tale of international intrigue and a cat-and-mouse comedy.

Forum members rate this film 6.5/10

 

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PICTURE

Criterion presents Ronald Neameís 1980 comedy/thriller Hopscotch in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this dual-layer disc. The image has been enhanced for widescreen televisions.

A lower-tier edition of a rather odd title to include in the collection, Criterion has still done a commendable if not spectacular job on the presentation. Despite a few popping reds here and there throughout the film the colours are drab and lack any real life, the film looking to be faded a bit. The print is littered with plenty of marks and debris, and stains can also be visible in the corners during some sequences. Edges can look faded but a good portion of the film remains sharp with a decent level of detail. The transfer does present some visible noise, not handling the filmís grain structure all that well.

It looks okay but itís about what Iíd expect from just about any other DVD label.

6/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The disc comes with two Dolby Digital 1.0 mono tracks; the original theatrical version and a ďTVĒ version that cuts out all of the foul language (mostly spoken by Ned Beatty.) Both are of about the same quality, loud enough and clean, but lacking any real punch, the music even coming off bland on occasion. Fine but nothing special.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Not a feature packed edition but I donít know what else I could possibly expect.

First is probably one of the more bizarre features Criterion has ever included on a release, the previously mentioned alternate broadcast television audio track, which cuts out all of the foul language and makes the film more family friendly (if it wasnít for the F-bombs dropped by Beatty, this would easily be a G-rated picture, PG at worst.) I got a kick out of the dubbed sections but I canít see this feature being all that popular except with maybe the incredibly prudish, though dropping Beattyís swearing actually changes his character substantially. Interesting in the end but not much else.

The one true feature is a 22-minute interview with director Ronal Neame and author Brian Garfield. Itís an okay interview with a few interesting tidbits, like how casting of the main character somehow morphed from Warren Beatty to Walter Matthau, and the real reason behind Matthau apparently only agreeing to do the film as long as Neame would do it, Neame having turned down the film a number of times before accepting. The two, recorded separately, go over the general production history of the film, Garfield even explaining how the film was a more pleasing project than other films based on his work (he hints at a displeasure of the film Death Wish, based on another one of his novels, but doesnít get into great detail.) There are some amusing anecdotes, and interesting facts, but they concentrate too much time on certain sequences in the film (specifically the Oktoberfest opening) and not other more interesting ones. A decent interview, but not required viewing.

The disc then concludes with an obnoxious teaser trailer and an even more obnoxious theatrical trailer.

A 3-page insert also includes an essay by Bruce Eder. Though a decent read I sort of feel he gives the film a little too much credit, but he obviously enjoys the film.

4/10

CLOSING

It receives a lot of unfair flack but it is a bit of a bizarre inclusion into the collection and I think peope are reacting more to that than the film itself. Iíll defend it in saying itís a fun little spy film but I canít really call it much more than that and in the end it is maybe just a notch or two above ďmediocre.Ē Still, Criterionís presentation is pretty good if not one of their strongest ones. Still, I can only recommend it to those that like the film, and only if they can find it for a good price. Even at the lower tier $29.99 price point, itís still a little expensive.


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