Prague-Shot ‘The Catcher Was a Spy’ Premieres at Sundance

The Catcher Was a Spy, a WWII spy thriller that was shot on locations in and around Prague during early 2017, had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last night, but early reviews aren’t promising. 

The Ben Lewin-directed film takes on the fascinating true-life story of Moe Berg, a real-life baseball player who became an unlikely CIA spy following the United States’ involvement in the second World War. 

Berg covertly worked in locations in occupied Yugoslavia, Switzerland, and elsewhere in Europe throughout the war.

Prague and other sets throughout the Czech Republic were was used to stand in for the European locales. Other locations utilized for the film include Boston, Massachusetts. 

The excellent cast for the movie features Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) as Berg alongside Paul Giamatti, Jeff Daniels, Guy Pearce, Sienna Miller, Connie Nielsen, Mark Strong, Tom Wilkinson, Giancarlo Gianninni, Shea Whigham, and others. 

Director Ben Lewin previously made the acclaimed 2012 drama The Sessions, which scored an Oscar nomination for actress Helen Hunt. 

But initial reviews for The Catcher Was a Spy from Park City haven’t been hot. 

“There’s a curious lack of credibility and urgency in this big-screen adaptation,” notes Variety’s Dennis Harvey.

“[It’s] the kind of respectable near-miss that can happen when worthy talent apply themselves to a project they’re just not ideally suited for,” referring to director Lewin and star Rudd. 

“Paul Rudd’s WWII Drama Swings and Misses,” reads a headline from The Wrap

The Prague sets for The Catcher Was a Spy, however, at least garner a note of praise. 

“Shot in burnished tones by Andrij Parekh on attractive locations (many in the Czech Republic), ‘Catcher’ has the moody handsomeness of old-school espionage films,” writes Harvey.

An official trailer for the film has yet to make it online, but IMDb spoke with director Lewin and star Rudd at Sundance:


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at

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