It is the early 60s in France. The remaining survivors of the aborted French Foreign Legion have made repeated attempts to kill DeGaulle. The result is that he is the most closely guarded man in the world. As a desperate act, they hire The Jackal, the code name for a hired killer who agrees to kill French President De Gaulle for half a million dollars. We watch his preparations which are so thorough we wonder how he could possibly fail even as we watch the French police attempt to pick up his trail. The situation is historically accurate. There were many such attempts and the film closely follows the plot of the book.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Fred Zinnemann got his hands on the project when he was visiting his producer friend, John Woolf, who had a copy of Frederick Forsyth's then-unpublished manuscript sitting on his desk. Zinnemann enquired about it and Woolf told him that he should read it and that he wouldn't be able to put it down. Zinnemann took it home and read it in one night, calling Woolf up the next day to tell him he wanted to make it. See more »
(at around 5 mins) The lawyer arriving to the prison after the first attempt on De Gaulle's life, drives a model of Opel Rekord C (1967-71), which wasn't yet produced at the time the film was set (1963). See more »
August 1962 was a stormy time for France. Many people felt that President Charles de Gaulle had betrayed the country by giving independence to Algeria. Extremists, mostly from the Army, swore to kill him in revenge. They banded together in an underground movement, and called themselves the OAS.
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The Cross of Lorraine, a symbol General Charles de Gaulle used during his lifetime, appears at the beginning of the film. See more »
From start to finish, this is one stylish espionage thriller that qualifies among the best of its genre. Handsomely photographed in some colorful European locations and impressively acted by the entire cast, it showcases EDWARD FOX as "The Jackal" in a performance of smooth villainy that is convincing all the way.
The film's final thirty minutes are worth waiting for--as is The Jackal's final disguise that convinces the French authorities to let him pass. Fred Zinnemann keeps it all moving at a steady pace and there's never any letdown in suspense since the film has the power to draw you in from the start.
Based on Frederick Forsyth's best-seller about the painful preparations an assassin makes in an attempt to take the life of Charles DeGaulle, it belongs in the same class with a film like THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, almost documentary in approach.
The British cast is excellent with Michael Lonsdale doing an outstanding job as the relentless detective. Highly recommended.
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