Weekend Film Recommendation: The Day of the Jackal

Fred Zinnemann adapts Frederick Forsyth’s thriller The Day of the Jackal (1973) in the weekend film recommendation that closes this month’s series of conspiracy-themed movies.

The story opens with a re-telling of the failed attempt to assassinate Charles de Gaulle by the OAS, a far-right group angered by Algerian independence. In frustration and desperation, the remaining OAS leadership reconvenes in Vienna to devise a new plan to take care of unfinished business. They hire an anonymous hitman, played by Edward Fox, known only by the codename “The Jackal.” The Jackal has the impossible combination of being both irrepressibly suave while also being deliberately forgettable; he can induce cooperation and compliance from anyone he chooses, but he can also fade into obscurity when circumstances demand. His suitability for the job makes him eminently worth the half million dollars he charges the OAS leadership to kill de Gaulle… “considering I’m handing you France,” he nonchalantly persuades them, “I wouldn’t call that expensive.” Continue reading “Weekend Film Recommendation: The Day of the Jackal”