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The Day of the Jackal Reviews

A secret French military organization plans to assassinate President de Gaulle (played by Adrien Cayla-Legrand, an uncanny look-alike), by hiring one of the world's most fearsome professional killers, a man known only as "The Jackal" (Edward Fox). Top French police investigator Lebel (Michel Lonsdale) learns the name "Jackal" from an informer in the plotter's ranks and cleverly pieces together the identity of the killer-for-hire. What follows is an intricate and meticulous story with a parallel structure that details the Jackal's preparations for the assassination and Lebel's efforts to stop him. Director Zinnemann faithfully follows the Forsyth best-seller, presenting a precise, almost discomfitting reconstruction of the story. Fox is superb as the coldly impassionate killer, and Lonsdale is properly plodding yet magnificently analytical as the detective tracking him down. A taut, suspenseful, and fascinating political thriller.