Author Topic: The Day of the Jackal (1973)  (Read 4258 times)

Offline Antares

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The Day of the Jackal (1973)
« on: July 27, 2010, 11:55:53 PM »
The Day of the Jackal





Year: 1973
Film Studio: Universal Pictures, Warwick Film Productions, Universal Productions France
Genre: Suspense/Thriller, Drama
Length: 143 Min.

Director
Fred Zinnemann (1907)

Writing
Frederick Forsyth (1938)...Book
Kenneth Ross...Screenplay

Producer
Julien Derode (1913)
David Deutsch (1926)
John Woolf (1913)

Cinematographer
Jean Tournier (1926)

Music
Georges Delerue (1925)...Composer

Stars
Edward Fox (1937) as The Jackal
Terence Alexander (1923) as Lloyd
Michel Auclair (1922) as Colonel Rolland
Alan Badel (1923) as The Minister
Tony Britton (1924) as Inspector Thomas
Denis Carey (1909) as Casson
Adrien Cayla-Legrand as The President
Cyril Cusack (1910) as The Gunsmith

Review

       One of the most intriguing things about Fred Zinneman’s classic thriller The Day of the Jackal is that before the movie is fifteen minutes old, you already know that the assassin is going to fail in his mission. As history tells us, there were many attempts on Charles de Gaulle’s life during his tenure as President of France, and he survived them all. Now you may ask, why would this be a good thing? Because simply, the intricacies and meticulous nature of the Jackal’s plan, juxtaposed against the efforts by the French and British police to unravel the mystery, makes for a nail-biting, suspenseful thriller.
   
       Edward Fox plays Charles Calthrop, or does he?... an international assassin who is hired by the OAS in France to assassinate Charles DeGaulle. The OAS has decided that DeGaulle has sold them out after the disastrous Algerian independence war and now they want to eliminate him and stage a coup d'état against the remnants of the Gaullist party. The film starts off with the unsuccessful attempt by the OAS to eliminate DeGaulle by OAS leader Jean Bastien-Thiry in 1962. After the failed attempt, DeGaulle’s security sweeps through France and practically cripples the para-military organization and its leaders flee the country to setup in exile in Italy. It is here in Italy where we first meet the Jackal, a famous assassin who has been responsible for a few of the high profile assassinations throughout the world. The Jackal explains that whoever is responsible for DeGaulle’s death will never be able to work again and he demands a rather hefty price for his services. The OAS acquiesces, and the rest of the film plays out as a cat and mouse game between not only the Jackal and the French government, but the efforts of Scotland Yard to uncover who the Jackal truly is.
   
       The Day of the Jackal is one of those films that are a product of its time. A film such as this would be hard pressed to sustain the attention span of modern day viewers, but when it was made, represented one of the finest examples of thrilling and intriguing storytelling. There is no need for gratuitous violence or mind numbing and physics defying special effects. The story plays it self out at a leisurely, yet suspenseful pace as the authorities slowly and methodically unravel the core elements of the Jackal’s plan. But what truly makes this film fly is the way the viewer is given witness to the meticulous planning of this professional mercenary gun for hire. One part James Bond to one part Lon Chaney, the Jackal creates alter identities to help him find his way across borders and to track his quarry.

       From viewing the level of his planning, the viewer comes to understand how and why he has built a reputation throughout the world as the best in his field. But does his ego, in the end, lead to his undoing? When the French authorities kidnap and torture an OAS officer, who is acting as a go-between for the Jackal and the OAS, he reveals the code name used by the assassin. He is alerted to this breach of security through the efforts of a spy who has been planted in the cabinet addressed with unearthing the details of the plot. Instead of instantly canceling his mission, he decides to continue with the operation. And it is in this first mistake, that events will transpire that will lead the Jackal down a path to his own destruction. His narcissistic belief in his own abilities will now trigger a domino effect of mistakes that eventually lead to his premature end. If you’re tired of action thrillers that insult your intelligence, then do give this film a look see. You will be pleasantly rewarded with two hours of exceptional storytelling and intelligent drama and suspense.


Review Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 11:47:29 PM by Antares »

hal9g

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Re: The Day of the Jackal (1973)
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2010, 01:01:53 AM »
Yup, this is an excellent movie.  You've rekindled my interest in watching this again.

Actually, I just checked and I don't even own this DVD.  Guess I need to fix that ASAP!

Najemikon

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Re: The Day of the Jackal (1973)
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2010, 01:03:00 AM »
I really enjoy this film, but it has an beguiling oddity about it too!

Offline Antares

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Re: The Day of the Jackal (1973)
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2010, 01:06:12 AM »
Yup, this is an excellent movie.  You've rekindled my interest in watching this again.

Actually, I just checked and I don't even own this DVD.  Guess I need to fix that ASAP!

That's OK, as long as you don't own that horrible remake with Bruce Willis and Richard Gere. (Insert vomiting smiley here)

Offline Antares

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Re: The Day of the Jackal (1973)
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2010, 01:07:00 AM »
I really enjoy this film, but it has an beguiling oddity about it too!

Could you elaborate this thought a little please.  :hmmmm:  :headscratch:

Najemikon

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Re: The Day of the Jackal (1973)
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2010, 01:19:56 AM »
Not much time now, but...

I was intrigued by Michael Auclair. He was very much the "great detective". In another story he would be Poirot, a charming, if quiet man with a little flourish about him. He was the lead of the film effectively, presented as The Jackal's opposite number.

But actually, he was rather impotent. All the leg work was done by Tony Britton's English team. I thought that was an interesting way of presenting the story and I don't think they could pull it off today. Can't remember the rubbish remake well enough to think they tried it there.

Offline Antares

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Re: The Day of the Jackal (1973)
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2010, 01:26:45 AM »
What I found interesting was the fact that the French used the same torture tactics that they used in Algeria, while the British used dogged determination and manpower to uncover the truth.

Offline Antares

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Re: The Day of the Jackal (1973)
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2010, 01:30:13 AM »
Oh, and the part where Auclair tells the cabinet that he taped a conversation exposing the OAS spy. When the minister asks him how he knew to bug that one phone, he explains that he didn't know it was him, so he bugged all the phones. Badel's stunned response is classic

Najemikon

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Re: The Day of the Jackal (1973)
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2010, 01:38:25 AM »
That's it exactly! In a nutshell. When you think about it, bugging all the phones is... well... cheating. But he pulls it off with such audacity, he gets that reaction.

What I found interesting was the fact that the French used the same torture tactics that they used in Algeria, while the British used dogged determination and manpower to uncover the truth.

I'm not touching that one...  ;) :hysterical:

hal9g

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Re: The Day of the Jackal (1973)
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2010, 02:25:44 AM »
Yup, this is an excellent movie.  You've rekindled my interest in watching this again.

Actually, I just checked and I don't even own this DVD.  Guess I need to fix that ASAP!

That's OK, as long as you don't own that horrible remake with Bruce Willis and Richard Gere. (Insert vomiting smiley here)

Haven't seen that one (apparently a good thing).

I was talking about the version you reviewed!  :thumbup:

kahless

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Re: The Day of the Jackal (1973)
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2010, 08:40:48 AM »
Thanks for the review, Antares. I've never seen this original. And yes - I own the mentioned remake...  :bag: