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The Day Of The Jackal Blu-ray Review

Jackal.jpg

“The Day Of The Jackal” is a classic thriller.

Set in 1962-1963 France (although there are numerous locations throughout the film), “The Day of the Jackal” revolves around a terrorist group known as the OAS who vow to take out the President of France Charles de Gaulle. After suffering some setbacks, however, the OAS is forced to regroup and decide to hire a British contract killer with the codename of the Jackal to do the job. While all of this is going, the police and Government authorities are working overtime to try and find this assassin, but they have no idea who he is or what he looks like as he is essentially a ghost. Moreover, the Jackal is continually several steps ahead of those that are chasing him down.

Director Fred Zinnemann (who is best known for helming films such as “High Noon” and “From Here To Eternity”) has crafted a no frills thriller that does everything right. The movie doesn’t rely on star power, the pacing is tight, the story is succinctly simple, the movie gets right down to business from the opening seconds, there’s an intense race against time element that never lets up, and there’s a fly-on-the-wall sense of realism that gives the film an authentic feel. Simply put, this is how you make a movie.

As great of a job as Fred Zinnemann does, a lot of credit should be given to screenwriter Kenneth Ross. Not only does he perfectly adapt the novel by Frederick Forsyth, but he also has the tough task of writing a movie that isn’t a character piece. 1973’s “The Day of the Jackal” (pay no mind to the forgettable remake) is very much a situational movie that delves into every detail of both the Jackal’s job preparation and the authorities uncovering clues and calculating moves. Under less skilled hands, this could have been a dull disaster, but the combined efforts of Ross and Zinnemann keep everything flowing at the right pace.

I mentioned this movie has no big stars nor is it a character piece, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t strong performances here. Edward Fox plays the cold and sly Jackal with utter perfection while the underrated Michael Lonsdale (best known as Hugo Drax from “Moonraker”) shines as Detective Lebel who tirelessly works on the case.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? This Blu-ray transfer maintains the 70’s grit while also giving the movie a proper hi-def upgrade.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? A quality Mono track all-around.

Extras: * “The Day of the Jackal” trailer * The screenplay (available through BD-ROM) * A booklet containing credits, photos, and essays by writer Mark Cunliffe and author Sheldon Hall * “Fred Zinnemann Interview”- Less an interview and more of a behind-the-scenes extra that happens to contain an interview. * “Location Report”- More set footage. * “In The Marksman’s Eye”- A newly recorded interview with author Neil Sinyard about “The Day of the Jackal” and Fred Zinnemann.

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October 1, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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