3 items from 2017
By Tim Greaves
The year is 1962. Aggrieved when Algeria is granted independence by President Charles de Gaulle, the militant underground alliance known as the Organisation Armée Secrète botches an attempt to assassinate him. Within months many of the conspirators, including their top man, have been captured and executed. The remaining Oas leaders, bereft of funds, take refuge in Austria and warily decide to contract an outside professional to do the job for them. They settle on a British assassin (Edward Fox), who chooses to be identified as Jackal. The Oas orchestrate several bank robberies to cover his exorbitant fee of half a million dollars whilst the mechanics of the plotting are left entirely to Jackal's discretion. After capturing and interrogating another alliance member, the French authorities learn of Jackal's existence and, suspecting another attempt on de Gaulle's life may be imminent, they set their best man – Deputy Commissioner Claude Lebel (Michel Lonsdale) – on his tail. »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
One of the best international thrillers ever has almost become an obscurity, for reasons unknown – this Blu-ray comes from Australia. Edward Fox’s wily assassin for hire goes up against the combined police and security establishments of three nations as he sets up the killing of a head of state – France’s president Charles de Gaulle. The terrific cast features Michel Lonsdale, Delphine Seyrig and Cyril Cusack; director Fred Zinnemann’s excellent direction reaches a high pitch of tension – even though the outcome is known from the start.
Region B+A Blu-ray
Shock Entertainment / Universal
1973 / Color / 1:78 widescreen / 143 min. / Street Date ? / Available from Amazon UK / Pounds 19.99
Starring: Edward Fox, Michel Lonsdale, Delphine Seyrig, Cyril Cusack, Eric Porter, Tony Britton, Alan Badel, Michel Auclair, Tony Britton, Maurice Denham, Vernon Dobtcheff, Olga Georges-Picot, Timothy West, Derek Jacobi, Jean Martin, Ronald Pickup, Jean Sorel, Philippe Léotard, Jean Champion, »
- Glenn Erickson
Watching Nigel Havers and chums take a boat trip through the countryside was perfectly pleasant – even if the show never delivered on its bawdy title
I don’t understand what the Carry On element of Celebrity Carry On Barging (Channel 5) is. Debbie McGee may have a hint of Barbara Windsor about her, and she does mention that her late husband never wore PJs in bed. But her bra doesn’t fly off on the canalside, and Nigel Havers doesn’t do a Kenneth Williams impression, flare his nostrils and give us an “Oooh I say” as the barge slides into a tunnel.
No, it’s just four celebs (the above, plus Lorraine Chase and Simon Callow) on a canal boat for a few days. It’s not unlike the shows Prunella Scales and Timothy West did, or John Sergeant. Celebrity barging – it’s a TV thing now.
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- Sam Wollaston
3 items from 2017
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