If one (or many, for that matter) were to ask me which film from a bygone era (though not black-and-white film; I simply don’t see the point whenÂ I have colour vision) I would like to sit down and watch in its entirety, it is doubtful whether my memory would have recalled this brilliant film. However, this is precisely the film I should chose if the choice were given me, simply because it is firmly based on a brilliant, engaging plot, and the story-telling is concise while the pace is engrossing. And Edward Fox plays a calm, collected, suave assassin without resorting toÂ any overt theatrics, while Michel Lonsdale’s almostÂ hound-like, plodding Inspector Claude Lebel is wonderful to watch.
My (gorgeous) readers may be more familiar with a more recent remake of this film, that went by the name “Jackal” and had Richard Gere and Sidney Poitier hunting Bruce Willis. And this may well serve admirablyÂ as a comparison case; where this hollywood versionÂ had shootouts galore, the original Jackal is only shown shooting oneÂ person, an unfortunate gendarme,Â before he is mowed down by his antagonist the Inspector Claude LebelÂ (and there I ruined the plot for you).
The screenplay wasÂ adapted from the book of the same name by Frederick Forsyth, of whom I am a big fan.Â The film remains truthful to the book, and is much the richer for doing so.Â And a bit of gratuitous nudityÂ never goesÂ amiss, I daresay.Â