|Day of the Jackal [VHS]
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With its high-intensity plot about an attempt to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle, the bestselling novel by Frederick Forsyth was a prime candidate for screen adaptation. Director Fred Zinnemann brought his veteran skills to bear on what has become a timeless classic of screen suspense. Not to be confused with the later remake The Jackal starring Bruce Willis (which shamelessly embraced all the bombast that Zinnemann so wisely avoided), this 1973 thriller opts for lethal elegance and low-key tenacity in the form of the Jackal, the suave assassin played with consummate British coolness by Edward Fox. He's a killer of the highest order, a master of disguise and international elusiveness, and this riveting film follows his path to de Gaulle with an intense, straightforward documentary style. Perhaps one of the last great films from a bygone age of pure, down-to-basics suspense (and a kind of debonair European alternative to the American grittiness of The French Connection), The Day of the Jackal is a cat-and-mouse thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat until its brilliantly executed final scene (pardon the pun), by which time Fox has achieved cinematic immortality as one of the screen's most memorable killers. --Jeff Shannon
- Wow, this movie is unlike any other...you root for the killer...
You actually feel like you are watching a professional assassin, minute by minute, this movie is f*&king cool, man...movies don't get better than this, sorry, but this is definitely one of the great ones, ever......more info
- New Edition Needed
One of the rare films that surpasses the book it is based on. This classic thriller desperately needs to be issued in a special edition. There are brief sequences in the movie that are missing in the DVD. Notably the scene when the Jackal goes up the stairs in the Austrian hotel, and back down to the lobby when he notices the bodyguard hiding in the landing. In addition we need some special features: the making of the film, historical background to the story and a biography of Fred Zinneman.
when so many inferior movies have DVDs repackaged and reissued in every way possible, it is unbelievable that this ultimate political thriller should be neglected. ...more info
- A timeless thriller
An extremely intelligent thriller that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats all throughout, this classic from Hollywood veteran Fred Zinnemann works wonderfully well despite the fact that its outcome is known from the very beginning.
After all, everyone knows French President Charles de Gaulle wasn't assassinated. The trick, then, is the careful manner in which Zinnemann unfolds the tale of an attempt to assassinate the legendary politician, taking his audience on a breathless ride across scenic locales in Europe, including Genoa, Vienna and the etherally beautiful city of Paris.
I am writing this review after viewing the movie for the umpteenth time, and I just realised that it grows better with each viewing.
Forsaking explosive action for an intelligent pacing and clever script that sticks closely to Frederick Forsyth's bestselling novel (in my humble opinion, one of the strongest points about this movie), Zinnemann uses a cast of solid British and French actors as he brings to the screen, almost in a documentary fashion, the race by police across Europe to nab the canny and suave hitman Jackal (Edward Fox).
Juxtaposed with this is the Jackal's devious and meticulous preparations for the hit. Zinnemann's ability to get under the skin of his characters is one of the film's many strengths, and the film's documentary style has often been emulated, but never as successfully.
The gorgeous cinematography and sound design are two of the other strengths of this film, but they aren't very well served by the non-anamorphic video and standard two channel Dolby soundtrack of the DVD. There is, however, an excellent text supplement documenting the making of the film. It presents many worthy tidbits, such as the surprising fact that "The Day Of The Jackal" marked Zinnemann's return to the screen after a rather long hiatus.
They just don't make films like this any more. This one is definitely a keeper....more info
- Those Whacky French
I've always enjoyed Forsyth's books, particularly "The Odessa File". This movie is a classic, but I hadn't seen it in a while. I was amused to go back to it after all of these years and catch some ridiculous errors that would not fly in this day and age. People being killed by a single karate chop, a women being strangled to death in about 3 seconds with no struggle...and why did all of these French characters have English accents? Never the less, it still is a great story and an enjoyable movie that gives insight into a post-war / cold-war Europe of which modern Americans have little understanding. ...more info
- The Military Conspiration
Whatever you ask for a first class political thriller you will find in this excellent film. The Day of the Jackal is one of those uncommon movies that you are eager to see again, and again and again. Undoubtly a must-see film. ...more info
- Wonderful, yet so sad...
This is probably superfluous, but thanks to all of the commentators above. Not only is this movie the ultimate political thriller, but it may be the epitome, cinematically, of "artless art". Fred Zinneman excels all others attempts at a documentary style. This is one of my favorite 25 films of all time. Then why am I sad? As so many others have stated, they just don't make them like this anymore. Why not? Perhaps it's just too intelligent for today's audiences....more info
- Great price and an excellent spy thriller
This is a great thriller. After the opening scene, it was a tad slow, but picked up much better at a great pace/flow. Characters were enjoyable; the Jackal and his disguises are really cool. It is basically an attempt to kill the president type of story. Ultimately, I found the pace and atmosphere to my liking, having seen a few similar movies. I have watched this 2 times now and really enjoy the pace, story and acting. If you like films of this sort you will enjoy this one. If you read the other reviews you know the story. If you have never seen it I would say but it as it is only 7.00 new....and give it a shot.....more info
- Edward Fox: the Original Terminator...
Edward Fox: the Original Terminator...
It's an old adage in fiction: there are no new stories, only well re-told ones. One can see this in 1973's The Day of the Jackal wherein the suave Edward Fox is the original Terminator rising from each setback to ruthlessly continue his terminator mission.
I don't usually review films because so many other people do and there may or may not be little left to say. However, sometimes a truly quality work of cinematographic art moves me to emphatically share with others its excellence: this is the case with The Day of the Jackal.
Now, probably most viewers will have seen this old chestnut on commercial TV interspersed with infinite advertisements, sliced and diced to atomic particles. That is NOT the way to see this film, for this is an extremely well-made film the fine editing of which is lost on commercial TV.
This was one of the first films to portray simultaneous multiple story lines. As mentioned, the editing is excellent. The set designs and especially the cityscapes of Paris, London, and Genoa are superb.
It's also very interesting to see the re-creation of the early-1960s time-frame.
Nominally a "political thriller," actually the plot has two main facets: (1) a detective story, and (2) the portrayal of the "Terminator." And while the former is interesting, the latter of these is most fascinating with Edward Fox as the star of the show. Not a big man--but well built--the "belle laide" Fox is totally ripped with low body fat.
It's fascinating to see him move through the motions of obtaining multiple identities, obtain and prepare the weapon, and plan the attack.
Once in motion, his goal is inexorable. Unto the very end, when it looks like his own escape will be certainly impossible, he continues simply because he single-mindedly wants to achieve his goal.
In the meantime, he shows himself to be utterly amoral and bisexual; along the way he murders four people with his bare hands; and he eludes an international dragnet of law-enforcement.
The heterosexual scenes with the French aristocrat are not graphic but quite erotic; and the following scenes in the bath house and the Frenchman's flat are subtle but unmistakably gay. (The campy d¨¦cor of the Frenchman's flat is hilarious!)
Fox's changes of disguise parallel the Terminator's morphing abilities.
This is a very quiet film with little music, giving it a documentary ambiance and an high seriousness.
Of course there are some glaring plot failures, but with quality fiction one must suspend disbelief and simply enjoy the story itself.
This is really quite a quality film worthy of multiple viewings.
Vive la France!
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No one can write like Frederick Forsythe. Get the book. DVD not as good as book....more info
- "Way Foxy"
I read the book and I watched the movie. Both are phenomonal. We get to try to get inside the head of a professional assassin. Edward Fox pours himself into the mould of this weasel-like character. We are amazed at his precision planning and deft skill. His coldness--like he is working in a factory or something, and not about to murder someone. We wonder--who all HAS he professionally executed? What does his resume look like? The tension and excitement is kept at fever pitch throughout this political thriller. Most entertaining in every aspect....more info
- One of the Greatest Movies Ever Made
This film version of Fredrick Forsyth's best seller Day of the Jackal is incredible. Filmed on location in Europe, the story follows a French terrorist organization's (the OAS) plot to assassinate Charles DeGaulle following the French pullout from Algeria. The OAS had been dealt quite a blow following a previous attempt on DeGaulle's life and now its only option is to hire an international assassin played by Edward Fox.
The storyline and the subtle ways the director shows the passage of time are marvelous. Edward Fox truley shows how cold and ruthless the Jackal is, and the methods he would go to get his ends.
The modern version of this film (the Jackal starring Richard Gere) doesn't even come close to the cinnematic masterpiece that Director Fred Zinnemann presents in Day of the Jackal. This is one film that one can watch over and over, it is a true classic....more info
- TAUT AND SMART
This movie has long been one of my favorites. The re-make of it was dreadful...not surprising because I don't know how this could be re-done to be smarter or better acted.
The characters are well-drawn and the plot is excellent. It draws you along without a wasted moment. In the days of action without a thousand explosions, this one was in the TOP and keeps you involved until the last frame....more info
- Original and still the best
This is an absolutely superior work of cinema that was foolishly judged to be eligible for a remake, horribly done, with Bruce Willis (no joke). Accept nothing but the original!
One of the very few "mysteries" that can be watched again and again, without feeling disappointed at knowing the ending. Edward Fox is chillingly original as a killer with charm and ice water in the veins, the detective tracking him is the classic plodder with an almost sixth sense about the killer, and all of the surrounding characters are interesting, intriguing and imperative to the unfolding story.
Not fully appreciated in its initial theatrical release, it's become a classic -- virtually impossible to find on DVD shelves in even the most well-stocked stores.
- Lean, Clean, Mean
There's hardly any spare flesh on The Jackal. Ars est celare artem --- the art is to hide the artistry. This is a rattling good yarn, superbly told, no messing; and there's infinitely more art in it than in any of those flicks that scream ART at you. Suspense is not a matter of not knowing the outcome, but in watching the net tighten, and waiting to see just how close the Jackal can get to his target. The structure is V shaped: a very wide gap to start with, growing narrower by the hour, until the two tracks finally converge to a point: a bullet-point. The direction has a lot in common with Zinnemann's other masterpiece, High Noon, where, in effect, we are also assured of the outcome. In HN the ticking clocks are prominent, in DOTJ there are more of them, but they're not so obvious. In one film it's the good man against the rest; in the other it's the bad man against the rest. Where I come from, we root for the underdog, regardless. Why did the Jackal fail, and what was his tragic flaw? Ice-cold as he may have seemed, he got emotional. The key moment comes just after he's told his cover is blown. He can either pull away, and turn off back to Italy, when the roads fork, and wait for another day. Or he can carry on to Paris. He lets emotion get the upper hand, and carries on to Paris, which is not the sensible decision for a wise percentage player.
After watching the action repeatedly, a number of blips in continuity become apparent, and several of these are noted elsewhere. There seem to be quite a number of cuts. Like, maybe he did kill Cusack after taking delivery of the custom-tailored gun. This would have eroded viewer sympathy too drastically and too early, whereas nobody gives a damn for the slimy, blackmailing photographer. How did the Jackal suddenly produce a spray-gun filled with blue paint? What happened to the barking Alsatian dog, after the car crash? Does it matter? Less is more, and explanations can be sacrificed for the sake of the pacing. Zinnemann has this great sense of what will work, what is necessary and what isn't, and how to be economical and cost-effective. I could go on. This is a film review, not a book review, which is something entirely different....more info
- Finest of the Genre
For those of you, out there, who believe a 'plausible action film' is an impossibility, see this. It is almost perfect in its casting, acting, scripting, editing, directing, and scoring.
Not as good as the book? What cinematic edifice can withstand the winds of your imagination?
"Masterpiece" is an overused term in this culture. This film comes close....more info
- EDWARD FOX - THE ULTIMATE JACKAL
The Day of the Jackal
The Jackal is the code name of a hired killer, Edward Fox, who's asked by rival French General's to assassinate, General Charles de Gaulle. British and French Police, combine to thwart the attempt, about which they no nothing, except that it's imminent. The script by Kenneth Ross is even better than the novel. Edward Fox performs, excellently, much better than Bruce Willis in the latest version, maintining a difficult role, well over a long film. Others in the cast are as cold and calculating as the killer, whose preparations for the crime are intercut with the massive man-hunt, launched to get him, before he gets, de Gaulle. The final race against time, is expertly filmed and edited....more info
- The day of the Jackal
This video is excellent! It is as close as possible to the book,without it going over 4 hrs in length.Keeps you at the edge of your seat,wondering if the Jackal will forfill his contract or take the money and run!Outstanding!...more info