Derek Winnert

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The Day of the Jackal ***** (1973, Edward Fox, Michel Lonsdale, Alan Badel, Eric Porter, Cyril Cusack, Delphine Seyrig, Donald Sinden, Tony Britton, Timothy West, Anton Rodgers) – Classic Movie Review 4894

Director Fred Zinnemann’s 1973 British film adaptation of Frederick Forsyth’s labyrinthine bestselling novel about the plot to assassinate General Charles de Gaulle, the President of France, in 1963 is a tense and exciting movie, convincing in every detail.

Edward Fox plays the would-be professional killer code-named ‘Jackal’ chillingly in what may still be his best role. The movie belongs to him and he owns it but he is supported by strong work from a first-rate Franco-British cast. It also stars Michel Lonsdale, Alan Badel, Eric Porter, Cyril Cusack, Delphine Seyrig, Donald Sinden, Tony Britton and Timothy West.

In an absolutely first-rate thriller, Zinnemann cleverly achieves an extremely high level of tension and suspense despite the audience’s pre-knowledge of the plot’s outcome, at least for the historically minded. The film is attractively shot on a huge number of striking European locations by cinematographer Jean Tournier. The clever, intelligent screenplay is by Kenneth Ross and there is a notable score by Georges Delerue to add to the mood and tension.

Also in the cast are Olga Georges-Picot, Barrie Ingham, Maurice Denham, Anton Rodgers, Jean Sorel, Derek Jacobi, Ronald Pickup, Terence Alexander, David Swift, Michel Auclair and Philippe Leotard.

Ralph Kemplen won a Bafta award for Best Film Editing and was Oscar nominated.

It was remade in 1997 as The Jackal with Richard Gere and Bruce Willis.

© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 4894

Check out more reviews on http://derekwinnert.com

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