My DVD of the Week is The Day of the Jackal (1973), like The American, the tale of an international master assassin – only fact-based and even better. In Day of the Jackal, French security forces are tipped off to a plot to assassinate President DeGaulle and they eventually figure out where and when the assassination will be attempted. But they don’t know who they are looking for or what he looks like. Without computers or cell phones, they must track down the unknown assassin in time.
Edward Fox is excellent as the resourceful and meticulously professional killer. So is Michael Lonsdale as the creative yet methodical cop leading the manhunt. But the real star is director Fred Zinnemann (High Noon, From Here to Eternity, A Man for All Seasons). As he showed in High Noon, Zinnemann knows how to tell a story and build tension, and the ending in Day of the Jackal is thrilling.
The Day of the Jackal has nothing to do with Carlos the Jackal of The Sundance Channel’s Carlos.
For my recent DVD choices (including trailers), see DVDs of the Week.