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The Day of the Jackal 1973 ***

Fred Zinnerman’s 1973 film of Frederick Forsyth’s book was considerably ahead of the game when it came to European espionage, and the elaborate detail of the two plot strands with balanced in this accomplished, influential thriller. On one hand, Kenneth Ross’s screenplay has a wealth of detail about The Jackal (Edward Fox) and his preparation for an attempt on the life of French president Charles De Gaulle, with passport regulations tightened after the film’s release. But there’s also a well-handled investigation, with Zinnerman’s constant references to clocks heightening the race against time. Support from stalwarts Derek Jacobi, Alan Badel, Cyril Cusack, Tony Britton and Maurice Denham helps, making The Day of the Jackal one the of the key assassination dramas of the post JFK era.


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