Hopscotch (1980)

R | 105 mins | Comedy | 1980

Director:

Ronald Neame

Producers:

Edie Landau, Ely Landau

Cinematographer:

Arthur Ibbetson

Editor:

Carl Kress

Production Designer:

William Creber

Production Company:

Edie and Ely Landau Inc.
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HISTORY


       In production notes found at the AMPAS Library, Hopscotch author Brian Garfield said the name of his book came from the children’s game wherein a player has to retrieve “an elusive object” while hopping on a sidewalk from space to space. One false step or clumsy move could mean falling and landing on one’s backside. Garfield’s work, a bestseller, foreshadowed the real-life story of a CIA agent who quit the agency and wrote a controversial tell-all book.
       A 1 Oct 1979 LAHExam article reported that Warren Beatty was originally attached to an earlier Hopscotch script with Bryan Forbes as director for Warner Bros. But when negotiations for Beatty’s production deal with Warners collapsed, so did his participation in the film. At one point, George C. Scott was in talks for the starring role and Cliff Robertson was considered but it was determined he didn’t have enough box-office clout to carry the picture. According to a 14 Oct 1979 LAT article, Forbes rewrote the action to take place in California when Beatty was attached and expanded the woman’s part for Jane Fonda, with whom Beatty wanted to co-star.
According to the LAT , Walter Matthau later struck a deal with director Ronald Neame and agreed to appear in the film if Neame hired Matthau’s stepdaughter, Lucy Saroyan, for a cameo role and his son, David Matthau, for a role as a CIA agent.
       According to a 29 Aug 1980 HR article, Matthau was responsible for the scene in which he and Glenda Jackson shared wine and witty repartee at an open-air café. He also wrote ... More Less


       In production notes found at the AMPAS Library, Hopscotch author Brian Garfield said the name of his book came from the children’s game wherein a player has to retrieve “an elusive object” while hopping on a sidewalk from space to space. One false step or clumsy move could mean falling and landing on one’s backside. Garfield’s work, a bestseller, foreshadowed the real-life story of a CIA agent who quit the agency and wrote a controversial tell-all book.
       A 1 Oct 1979 LAHExam article reported that Warren Beatty was originally attached to an earlier Hopscotch script with Bryan Forbes as director for Warner Bros. But when negotiations for Beatty’s production deal with Warners collapsed, so did his participation in the film. At one point, George C. Scott was in talks for the starring role and Cliff Robertson was considered but it was determined he didn’t have enough box-office clout to carry the picture. According to a 14 Oct 1979 LAT article, Forbes rewrote the action to take place in California when Beatty was attached and expanded the woman’s part for Jane Fonda, with whom Beatty wanted to co-star.
According to the LAT , Walter Matthau later struck a deal with director Ronald Neame and agreed to appear in the film if Neame hired Matthau’s stepdaughter, Lucy Saroyan, for a cameo role and his son, David Matthau, for a role as a CIA agent.
       According to a 29 Aug 1980 HR article, Matthau was responsible for the scene in which he and Glenda Jackson shared wine and witty repartee at an open-air café. He also wrote the last scene in which he was disguised as an Indian in an English bookstore. Neame said Matthau’s contribution was significant enough to merit a writing credit on the film but it was not pursued.
       Production notes stated that the movie filmed on location in Marseilles, France; Bermuda; and Washington, D.C. The Mirabell Platz, a formal garden that leads to an eighteenth-century palace, was one of the locations used in Salzburg. Other cities used during filming included Savannah, Georgia; Atlanta, Georgia; London, United Kingdom and Munich, Germany. A 24 Sep 1979 DV news item stated that the film’s producers were able to get permission to film at Munich’s Oktoberfest by using eight cameras hidden in strategic locations at the Munich fairgrounds. According to production notes, the Industry and Trade Building in Atlanta, served as the film’s CIA headquarters and Atlanta’s microfilm center doubled as the location where the CIA’s top secret-files were stored.
       Also, Matthau was issued “several authentic passports” by the State Department under the aliases his character assumed when he traveled between several countries. The documents were filmed in tight close ups and due to their sensitive nature were locked up in a production company safe when not in use. At the end of filming, the passports were returned by hand to the State Department in Washington, D.C.
       According to a 7 Nov 1979 DV news item, the film was the first investment by International Film Investors (IFI) a limited partnership that claimed to be the first production company, operating under “a Small Business Administration license.” IFI was set up with a $40 million line of investment capital. The company amassed its bankroll by raising $10 million from the sale of “limited partnership units” and $30 million from its “three-to-one borrowing agreement with the Small Business Administration.”
       A 24 Oct 1979 ^Var article announced that Avco Embassy Pictures Corp. assumed domestic distribution after the budget jumped from $8 million to $9.5 million and the producers found themselves short on cash. It was reported that Avco contributed $2 to $3 million to the budget in exchange for those distribution rights.
       A 1 May 1980 DV article stated the film’s producers, Ely and Edie Landau, used “direct distribution” to release the film, which bypassed traditional methods. Their strategy called for “prelicensing features to theatre owners,” who then became “profit participants” in “subsequent nontheatrical revenues.” It was also reported in a 10 Mar 1980 Box article that the Landaus signed on “154 theatres with advance payments” and lined up the “overseas distribution rights in a number of foreign territories.” The National Broadcasting Company bought the television rights to the film for $4 million with a provision that the fee would increase if the film was a box-office hit.
       In a 10 Sep 1980 article, LAT stated that Walter Matthau was cited by The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) for making a promotional appearance for the film that was in violation of a guild strike that began 21 Jul 1980. Matthau was asked to appear before a union committee to explain his actions. If found guilty, Matthau was in danger of having his SAG membership revoked, or suspended, or he would be fined. A 13 Sep 1980 LAT follow-up article stated that Ely Landau Productions had signed a three-year interim agreement with the guild that gave permission for promotional activity during the strike. However, it wasn’t immediately clear the agreement was in place because the paperwork was under a different company name. All charges against Matthau were dismissed.
       A 25 Feb 1982 HR news item reported that the film’s producers had teamed up with Ted Bergmann Productions to develop an hour-long “primetime TV series” based on their successful 1980 theatrical release. Per the 7 Oct 1980 ^HR , the film earned $6.1 million in “its first ten days of release.”

      The following note precedes the film’s below-the-line production credits: "The producers and director would like to offer special thanks to the crew whose names appear below."

       End credits also contain the following written statement: "Filmed on location in Munich, West Germany; Salzburg, Austria; London, England; Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A." Also in the end credits, the producers offer a “special thanks” to the Georgia Film Commission." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Mar 1980.
---
Daily Variety
24 Sep 1979
p. 1, 18.
Daily Variety
7 Nov 1979.
---
Daily Variety
1 May 1980
p. 1, 7.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 1980
p. 3, 20.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Oct 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 1982.
---
LAHExam
1 Oct 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
26 Sep 1980
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
14 Oct 1979
Calendar, p. 28.
Los Angeles Times
10 Sep 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Sep 1980.
---
New York Times
26 Sep 1980
p. 6.
Variety
24 Sep 1979.
---
Variety
23 Jul 1980
p. 20, 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Edie and Ely Landau present
International Film Investors, Inc.
A Ronald Neame film
An Edie and Ely Landau Inc. production of a Ronald Neame film
Connelly Associates; Joseph Harris and Robert Tofel
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st cam asst
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
2d cam asst
Key grip
Cam grip
Gaffer
Gaffer
Still photog
Still photog
Aerial photog team
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Prop buyer
Const mgr
Const mgr
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Ward master
Ward master
MUSIC
Mus adpt and cond by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Boom op
Boom op
Re-rec
Re-rec
Sd ed
ADR ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Prod controller
Loc mgr, Austria + Germany
Loc mgr, England
Loc mgr, United States
Scr supv
Transportation coord
Supv accountant
Accountant
Accountant
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Unit pub
Unit pub
Prod coord
Prod asst
Loc assistance
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod secy
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stuntman
Stuntman
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Hopscotch by Brian Garfield (New York, 1975).
SONGS
"Non Pui Andrai," sung by Hermann Prey, written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon and Polygram Classics
"Un Bel di Vedremo," written by Giacomo Puccini, from "Madame Butterfly" by Puccini, an original recording of Discos Columbia S.A. Spain
"Largo Al Factotum," sung by Tito Gobbi, written by Gioacchino Antonio Rossini, from "The Barber of Seville" by Rossini, courtesy of Capitol-Angel Records and EMI Records Ltd.
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SONGS
"Non Pui Andrai," sung by Hermann Prey, written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon and Polygram Classics
"Un Bel di Vedremo," written by Giacomo Puccini, from "Madame Butterfly" by Puccini, an original recording of Discos Columbia S.A. Spain
"Largo Al Factotum," sung by Tito Gobbi, written by Gioacchino Antonio Rossini, from "The Barber of Seville" by Rossini, courtesy of Capitol-Angel Records and EMI Records Ltd.
"Once A Night," written by Jackie English and Beverly Bremers.
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DETAILS
Release Date:
1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 26 September 1980
Copyright Claimant:
Edie and Ely Landau, Inc.
Copyright Date:
11 September 1980
Copyright Number:
PA88996
Physical Properties:
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Prints
Color prints by Movielab, Inc.
Duration(in mins):
105
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At a crowded beer garden in Munich, Germany, CIA agent Miles Kendig observes a cigarette package hiding microfilm exchanging hands through a series of seemingly ordinary people and he documents the chain of events with his telephoto camera. Finally, the package ends up in the hands of Mikail Yaskov, the head of Russia’s top spy agency, the KGB. Kendig stops Yaskov as he leaves the beer garden and diplomatically asks him to hand over the package. Their exchange is based on a mutual respect and friendship working as spies for opposing governments for many decades. Yaskov hands over the package to Kendig and they part. Joe Cutter, another CIA agent, tells Kendig at the airport that his superiors are angry that Yaskov got away. Kendig explains that eliminating Yaskov would be detrimental since it would take years to build up the same trust with another agent. CIA bureau chief G.P. Myerson doesn’t believe Kendig’s logic and demotes him to file clerk. Cutter is assigned Kendig’s caseload, and two days later, a staff member informs Myerson that Kendig has not reported to work since his change in status. The only clue they have to his whereabouts is a call that he placed to Salzburg, Austria. At an open-air Austrian café, Kendig reunites with Isobel Von Schmidt, an old friend. Isobel, who retired from the CIA to marry a wealthy businessman, learns that Kendig also has retired without telling the agency and wants to stay with her until he can figure out a plan. At Isobel’s house, he discovers a bottle of vodka left for him by Yaskov, with a note requesting a meeting. Yaskov knows that ... +


At a crowded beer garden in Munich, Germany, CIA agent Miles Kendig observes a cigarette package hiding microfilm exchanging hands through a series of seemingly ordinary people and he documents the chain of events with his telephoto camera. Finally, the package ends up in the hands of Mikail Yaskov, the head of Russia’s top spy agency, the KGB. Kendig stops Yaskov as he leaves the beer garden and diplomatically asks him to hand over the package. Their exchange is based on a mutual respect and friendship working as spies for opposing governments for many decades. Yaskov hands over the package to Kendig and they part. Joe Cutter, another CIA agent, tells Kendig at the airport that his superiors are angry that Yaskov got away. Kendig explains that eliminating Yaskov would be detrimental since it would take years to build up the same trust with another agent. CIA bureau chief G.P. Myerson doesn’t believe Kendig’s logic and demotes him to file clerk. Cutter is assigned Kendig’s caseload, and two days later, a staff member informs Myerson that Kendig has not reported to work since his change in status. The only clue they have to his whereabouts is a call that he placed to Salzburg, Austria. At an open-air Austrian café, Kendig reunites with Isobel Von Schmidt, an old friend. Isobel, who retired from the CIA to marry a wealthy businessman, learns that Kendig also has retired without telling the agency and wants to stay with her until he can figure out a plan. At Isobel’s house, he discovers a bottle of vodka left for him by Yaskov, with a note requesting a meeting. Yaskov knows that protecting him has cost Kendig his job. As he and Kendig talk, Yaskov notes that an American agent is photographing them. The Russian encourages Kendig to write his memoirs, prompting Kendig to borrow Isobel’s typewriter and begin the task. When she reads what Kendig has written, she concludes that Kendig has revealed too much and the agency will kill him to protect its interests. Later, Myerson shows Cutter the photo of Kendig and Yaskov’s meeting and orders Cutter to spy on Kendig even though Cutter says his friend’s actions are harmless. As Isobel mails several chapters of Kendig’s book to major cities around the world, Myerson worries that Kendig’s memoirs could greatly damage the agency. Learning that the former agent has crossed the border into Switzerland,
Myerson orders Kendig’s capture. After an antique dealer and counterfeiter provides Kendig with three fake passports, drivers’ licenses and credit cards, Kendig boards a plane to Washington, D.C., while Cutter and another agent, Leonard Ross, track his movements. Kendig phones the CIA and tells Cutter that he will send out one chapter of his memoir at a time, leaving the best parts for the end. A phone trace shows them that Kendig’s call is local. Meanwhile, Isobel is being followed by CIA agent Follett, who tries to pry information out of her. At a real estate office, Kendig buys a home owned by Myerson and sets up his typewriter on the porch right next to a portrait of Myerson. Kendig’s next move is to charter a seaplane to be flown to Martinique. Tracing a call made by Kendig to Isobel, Myerson is furious to learn that Kendig’s call originated from Myerson’s own home. When Kendig sees Myerson and other agents approach the house, he plays opera music and lights a fuse. As several fire crackers go off, the agents open fire. Myerson shouts for a ceasefire but no one listens to him. Kendig captures agent Ross, grabs his gun, and they drive away in dilapidated pickup truck that dumps oil on the road, causing the other agents’ cars to skid out of control. Kendig takes Ross’ passport and orders him out of the truck, then drives to the dock where the seaplane meets him as planned; however, they fly to Bermuda instead of Martinique. Kendig modifies Ross’s passport with his own photo. Speaking with Myerson, Cutter suggests a trip to Salzburg to talk to Isobel, while Kendig is on his way to London. In Salzburg, Cutter tells Isobel that sooner or later Kendig is going to make a costly mistake, and that he should surrender if he wants to stay alive. She says she’ll give him the message but he won’t stop what he’s doing. Cutter then meets with Yaskov, who tells him that Kendig is in London, using Leonard Ross as his alias. After buying a WW II training airplane,
Kendig visits an aeronautic shop and asks Alfie Booker to make some alterations to his aircraft. Myerson meets with Sir Giles, a British Intelligence officer, asking him to collaborate in Kendig’s capture. Sir Giles agrees to station spies at ports of exit and question Britain’s big publishers. Isobel tells her shadow, agent Follett, that Kendig is tired of running and will phone the house in fifteen minutes to speak to him. She offers Follett a drink and walks out to refill the ice bucket. Next, Follett sees Isobel’s car leave the driveway but cannot follow as Isobel’s Doberman Pinscher blocks his way. Kendig gives Westlake, a British publisher, the last chapter of his memoir, and explains that he will keep a low profile once the book is published. Myerson and Cutter show up at Westlake’s office, issuing threats to make him hand over the manuscript. However, the publisher says that if he is killed, copies of the book exist in safe places, only Kendig can stop the book’s publication. Westlake tells them the name and location of the hotel where Kendig is staying, and there, the agents meet Yaskov in the lobby. Finding Kendig’s hotel room unlocked. Cutter locates a tape machine and they listen to Kendig’s message, in which he says he will not leave the country by the usual ports of exit. Kendig has also left copies of the last chapter of his book for everyone to read. That night, as Cutter prepares for bed, Kendig appears pointing a gun at the agent. He gags and binds Cutter to the chair, then rings Isobel and tells her to meet him at a nearby church. When Kendig discovers that his rental car has a flat and no spare tire, he is stranded. The local police drive Kendig to the station, where he asks to hire a taxi to get to his destination. The police chief notices Kendig’s resemblance to a photo of an American fugitive wanted for questioning. Causing a fuse to blow so the station loses power, Kendig manages to escape in a police car. Isobel’s car arrives at the designated location. Meanwhile, a helicopter carrying Myerson, Cutter, Ross and Yaskov circles overhead, as Kendig runs toward a decoy plane then switches course and appears to take off in the WW II fighter. The helicopter follows Kendig, while, on the ground, Kendig uses remote controls to blow up the fighter. After convincing the agents that he’s dead, Kendig makes his way back to Isobel’s car, and they drive to the south of France. With Kendig’s book in stores, he shows up disguised as an Arab and asks the clerk about the book’s success. Isobel warns Kendig that his flamboyant behavior will only make it easier for the CIA to find him, saying that if he doesn’t stop, she will ruin his cover for him. She suggests that they go and play gin. He agrees as long as he can place bets and the two walk out of the store arm in arm.
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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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