August 1962: the latest attempt on the life of French President Charles de Gaulle by the far right paramilitary organisation, the OAS, ends in chaos, with its architect-in-chief dead at the hands of a firing squad. Demoralised and on the verge of bankruptcy, the OAS leaders meet in secret to plan their next move. In a last desperate attempt to eliminate de Gaulle, they opt to employ the services of a hired assassin from outside the fold. Enter the Jackal (Edward Fox): charismatic, calculating, cold as ice. As the Jackal closes in on his target, a race against the clock ensues to identify and put a stop to a killer whose identity, whereabouts and modus operandi are completely unknown.
Long, meticulous, superb
- The Day of the Jackal review by RP
Superb political "action thriller" from 1973 about events way back in 1962. I've used quotation marks because by today's tastes it's long and slow moving – there's no crash bang wallop here – and for a thriller there's not many thrills. But I can highly recommend it – the tension build slowly as a hired assassin (codename Jackal) carefully plans the assassination of General de Gaulle. The film is based on true events as the OAS, a far right French nationalist group, attempted to prevent independence of the French colony of Algeria. Edward Fox is perfect in the role of the ruthless assassin who meticulously plans every detail and even carries his anonymity to the grave. 4/5 stars – highly recommended.
This 1973 classic has some of the failings of its time (telescopic / music hall acting from some of the supporting actors) but Edward Fox's acting is sublime. Tony Britton's Brummie accent is so bad that it is either pathetic or a poor attempt at humour. He really should not have tried. The Jackal is able to kill people with a single blow or 3 second pressure to the neck (only convincing to those who have never played a contact sport). The Frederick Forsyth plot is closely followed and is extremely gripping. The drama intense. Its failings are soon forgotten. Highly recommended.