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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Day Of The Jackal (1973)

In 1963, a militant underground right wing organization known as the OAS (Organisation Armee Secrete) hires a professional assassin known as The Jackal (Edward Fox) to assassinate President De Gaulle of France. But information is secured by the French police that an assassination plot is underway and thus begins the race against time to find The Jackal before the assassination can take place. Based on the best seller by Frederick Forsyth, director Fred Zinnemann has made a crackerjack thriller of the highest order. Since we know from history that De Gaulle was not assassinated, one would think the suspense element would be lessened but far from it. Zinnemann and his screenwriter Kenneth Ross have given the film an almost semi-documentary feel to it. Even though the film runs past the two hour mark, there's no bloat and nothing unnecessary to slow down the film's resolute pace. Fox as The Jackal is perfect with his cold gaze and matter of fact body language. Hitchcock couldn't have done it any better. The large ensemble cast includes Delphine Seyrig, Michael Lonsdale, Derek Jacobi, Cyril Cusack, Alan Badel, Jean Sorel, Maurice Denham, Timothy West and Olga Georges Picot.

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