Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. United Kingdom/France, 1973. John Woolf Productions, Warwick Film Productions, Universal Productions France. Screenplay by Kenneth Ross,based on the book by Frederick Forsyth. Cinematography by Jean Tournier. Produced by John Woolf. Music by Georges Delerue. Production Design by Ernest Archer, Willy Holt. Costume Design by Elizabeth Haffenden, Joan Bridge, Rosine Delamare. Film Editing by Ralph Kemplen. Academy Awards 1973. Golden Globe Awards 1973.
Frederic Forsythe’s taut suspense novel comes to the screen with admirable results. Edward Fox is fantastic as the hired gun known only as “The Jackal”, enlisted by a militant faction of French loyalists who feel that de Gaulle’s allowing Algeria its independence constitutes treason to their homeland. After a failed attempt on de Gaulle’s life by the group itself, the terrorists contract the kill out to the Jackal, while the police hire ace profiler Michael Lonsdale to figure the plot out and catch the killer before the deed can be committed. Terrific acting, a marvelous supporting turn by Delphine Seyrig and magnificent editing make for a thoroughly satisfying evening of action and excitement.