The Day of the Jackal (1973)
Colonel Rolland: [dictating a letter] The plot describes above constitutes, in my view, the most dangerous single conception that the terrorists could possibly have devised to endanger the life of President De Gaulle. If the plot exists as described, and if a foreign-born assassin whose codename may be "Jackal" has in fact been engaged for this attempt on the life...
[the secretary makes a brief halt, and continues]
Colonel Rolland: ...on the life of the President, it is my duty to inform you, Minister, that in my opinion we face a national emergency. New paragraph: The above report is top secret and intended for your eyes only. Written at 0800 hours, August 14 1963. Address: To the Minister of the Interior. Have the dispatch rider stand by, and forget everything you've heard.
Minister: There is one thing: how did you know whose telephone to tap?
Lebel: I didn't, so I tapped all of them.
The Gunsmith: Over what range will you fire?
The Jackal: I'm not sure yet but probably not more than 400 feet
The Gunsmith: Will the gentleman be moving?
The Jackal: Stationary.
The Gunsmith: Will you go for a head shot or a chest shot?
The Jackal: Probably head.
The Gunsmith: What about the chance of a second shot?
The Jackal: Well I might get the chance but I doubt it. In any event I'll need a silencer to escape.
The Gunsmith: In that case you'd better have explosive bullets. I can prepare a handful along with the gun.
The Jackal: Glycerin or mercury?
The Gunsmith: Oh mercury... much cleaner.
Lebel: The following conversation was recorded at 6:15 this morning. The number being dialed was identified as Molitor 5901.
[plays a tape recorder for the council]
Valmy: Valmy here.
Denise: They know he's a Danish schoolteacher. They're visiting every hotel in Paris.
[Lebel switches off the recorder]
Lebel: The contact was arrested an hour ago. Unfortunately, the information came from this room.
Minister: Whose voice was that?
St. Clair: [slowly rises] I regret to have to inform you, Minister, that it was the voice of a friend of mine... she is staying with me at the moment... excuse me.
Minister: I feel we owe you an apology, Commissioner.
Lebel: Thank you.
Col. Rodin: Will you do it?
The Jackal: Yes.
Montclair: How much?
The Jackal: You must understand that this is a once-in-a-lifetime job, whoever does it can never work again...
Montclair: How much do you want?
The Jackal: Half a million.
The Jackal: In cash. Half in advance, half on completion.
Montclair: Half a million francs?
The Jackal: Dollars.
Montclair: [standing up] Are you mad?
The Jackal: Considering you expect to get France in return, I'd have thought it a reasonable price. If you can't manage it, then there's nothing more to be said.
[turns to leave]
Col. Rodin: We accept!
[Caron calls London, Assistant Commisioner Mallinsion at 3:58 in the morning]
Mallinson: I don't wish to sound rude, Inspector, but wouldn't it be better if this sort of routine inquiry could be conducted through the proper channels, preferably when we're all awake?
Caron: Yes, I'm sorry Mr. Mallinson, but it is very urgent. Commissioner Lebel didn't wish to make a formal request; he was rather hoping that you'd cooperate with us unofficially.
Mallinson: All right, I'll take the Commissioner's call at... 08:30, you say? Fine. Good night.
Mallinson: What's left of it...
Mallinson's Wife: Who was that, dear?
Mallinson: The Old Boy Network.
Mallinson: There's no question of Her Majesty's Government ever conceding the fact that this Jackal was an Englishman. So far as one can see, there was a period when an Englishman came under suspicion, but he has now been cleared. Certainly, the Jackal masqueraded as an Englishman, but he also masqueraded as a Dane and as a Frenchman. So there's no way of proving his identity at all.
Insp. Thomas: But if the Jackal wasn't Calthrop, then who the hell was he?
Col. Rodin: We are not terrorists, you understand. We are patriots. Our duty is to the soldiers who died fighting in Algeria, and to the three million French citizens who have always lived there.
The Jackal: And so you want to get rid of him.
Col. Rodin: Speaking as a professional, do you think it's possible?
The Jackal: It's possible. The point is getting away with it. And speaking as a professional, that's a very important consideration.
Montclair: But in principle you say it could be done?
The Jackal: Yes, with enough time and planning. It would be more difficult than most other targets.
Casson: Why more?
The Jackal: Because de Gaulle has the best security service in the world. Their information is first-class. You see, gentlemen, not only have your own efforts failed, but you've rather queered the pitch for everyone else.
Casson: How dare you suggest that!
The Jackal: In this work, you simply can't afford to be emotional. That's why you've made so many mistakes.
Col. Rodin: But if we decided to employ a professional...
The Jackal: You have to employ a professional. Your organization is so riddled with informers that nothing you decide is a secret for long. No, the job would have to be done by an outsider. The only question would be by whom, and for how much.
[Lebel arranges calls from Holland, Belgium, Italy, West Germany, South Africa, the United States and Britain]
Caron: Sir, how do you know that the Jackal comes from any of these seven countries?
Lebel: I don't. But he must be on file somewhere.
The Jackal: How many know about this?
Col. Rodin: Just the four of us.
The Jackal: Let's keep it that way. This job depends on absolute secrecy. No notes must be kept. If any one of you is captured, I shall feel free to call it off. I suggest you go somewhere secure and remain there under guard until the job is done. Agreed?
Col. Rodin: Agreed.
The Jackal: [writes on a piece of paper] The planning will be mine. Here is the account number of my bank in Switzerland. When I've received confirmation that the first $250,000 has been deposited, I'll move, provided I'm ready. But I shall not be hurried or interfered with in any way.
Col. Rodin: [passes the paper to Montclair] Agreed.
The Jackal: All I shall want from you is a number that I can ring in Paris for information about De Gaulle's schedule and security arrangements.
Montclair: I'd like to know where you expect us to find half a million dollars so quickly.
The Jackal: Use your network to rob some banks.
Col. Rodin: There's nothing more you want from us. From now on you'll be working completely alone.
The Jackal: Not completely. One will have the cooperation of de Gaulle.
[the OAS members look astonished]
The Jackal: Well, he won't listen to his secret service and he's not the sort of man to stay out of the public eye.
General Colbert: [on the phone] I need Wolenski. Arrange to get him across the border... What?... No, never mind the Italian government! And once you have him inside France, bring him to Paris immediately!
Minister: Commissioner Berthier, any suggestions?
Berthier: We're in trouble on this one. Our agents inside the OAS can't pin him down, since not even the OAS knows who he is. Action Service can't destroy him; they don't know who to destroy. The gendarmes, all forty-eight thousand of them, can't pursue him; they don't know who to pursue. The police can't arrest him. How can they? They don't know who to arrest. Without a name, all other proposals are meaningless. The first task, then, is to find it. We get a name, we get a passport and a face. And with a face, we get an arrest. But to find his name, and to do it in secret, is a job of pure detective work.
Minister: Commissioner, who is the best detective on the force?
Berthier: The best detective is my own deputy commissioner, Claude Lebel.
[the Jackal calls Molitor 5901]
Valmy: The Jackal is blown. Wolenski talked before dying. Repeat: The Jackal is blown.
The Jackal: [disguised as Per Lundquist] Goodbye, Mr. Duggan.
[heaves a suitcase with his clothes and false papers off a bridge]
Mallinson: The prime minister?
Insp. Thomas: The prime minster, sir. That he said if there's the remotest possibility of General de Gaulle's life being threatened by a person of these islands, then it is to be stopped. And he's given me full powers and top priority.
Mallinson: Is this some kind of bloody joke?
Insp. Thomas: No, of couse not, sir. I've got to drop whatever I'm doing, and I shall need six of your best men, straight away.
Mallinson: Where's the notification for all this? Where's the proper authority?
[Telephone rings. Mallison answers]
[Mallison listens then rises]
Mallinson: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Of course, sir.
Valmy: [answers phone] Hello?
Valmy: Valmy here.
Denise: They found out about the Jackal.
Caron: You know, sir, what they'll do to you if you don't catch this man in time...
Lebel: I've been given a job to do, so we'll just have to do it.
Caron: But no crime has been committed yet, so where are we supposed to start looking for the criminal?
Lebel: We start by recognizing that, after De Gaulle, we are the two most powerful people in France.
The Interrogator: You're being very foolish, Victor. You know yourself, they always talk in the end. You've seen it with your own two eyes in... where was it, Indochina? And Algeria, of course. Why don't you tell us what they're waiting for in that hotel, eh? Rodin, Montclair, Casson: what are they planning, who have they been meeting? Nobody? Not a soul, hmm? Then where were they before they went to Rome, eh? Tell us, Victor.
Commentator: The time elapsed from the first to the last shot was seven seconds. In all, more than 140 shots were fired. Sever bullets pierced the president's car; one came within an inch of his head. But, as if by a miracle, neither he nor anyone else was hurt.
The Jackal: What about the French documents?
The Forger: French identity card's all right. The other one, I don't think I've ever seen what they look like, let alone copy it. I'll have to get a colleague of mine in France to pick someone's pocket so I can make a duplicate. It'll mean more time, more money...
The Jackal: How much more?
The Forger: Five hundred... three hundred pounds?
The Jackal: Half now, half on delivery.
The Forger: When will I hear from you?
The Jackal: I'll be returning to Genoa on August the 14th. Be in the same place we met tonight at six o'clock.
[pays the Forger]
The Forger: Must be a big job you've got on, eh?
The Jackal: Now there are certain things I wish to make clear: when you've finished the work, you will hand over all the negatives and all the prints of the photographs you've just taken. You will also forget the name of Duggan, and the name on the French documents you are going to produce. Is that understood?
Caron: [on phone] Yes, Washington, I know it's seven o'clock there, it's midnight here!
Commentator: August 1962 was a stormy time for France. Many people felt that President Charles de Gaulle had betrayed the country by giving independence to Algeria. Extremists, mostly from the Army, swore to kill him in revenge. They banded together in an underground movement, and called themselves the OAS.
Minister: [to Lebel] Remember, Commissioner, you have full powers in this investigation, and the resources of every department represented here are entirely at your disposal. My instructions are simply: no publicity, and do not fail.
Insp. Thomas: [answers phone] Thomas... Yes, that's right... Is this some sort of bloody joke?... What, now? Personally? Oh, yes, I'll...
[cut to Thomas arriving at 10 Downing Street, the residence of the British Prime Minister]
[On the eve of Liberation Day]
Minister: We can't find him. He's vanished, just disappeared off the face of the earth. I don't think we really ever had any idea what kind of a man you've been pursuing for the last two weeks.
Lebel: What about tomorrow?
Minister: The President rekindles the Eternal Flame at ten. High Mass is at eleven. There's only one public ceremony in the afternoon, at four o'clock: he will present Liberation medals to veterans of the Resistance.
Lebel: What about crowd control?
Minister: Crowds will be kept back from the ceremony further than ever before. Steel barriers go up several hours before each ceremony. Every house inside the barrier ring is searched from top to bottom, including the sewers. The police will be issued with special lapel badges at the last moment, in case he tries to masquerade as a security man. There'll be marksmen inside Notre Dame, even among the congregation. The priests celebrating Mass will be searched for concealed weapons. We'll have firemen and marksmen on every rooftop along the procession route. Dumont has drafted a number of specially tall officers to hedge around the President without him noticing.
Lebel: [interrogating hotel staff] But you did say that Madame de Montpelier's bed was slept in by two people?
Hotel Maid: Yes sir, definitely. You can always tell.
Lawyer: For heaven's sake, man, don't you realize you are going to be shot!
Bastien-Thiry: You don't understand. No French soldier will raise his rifle against me.
[He is shot by a firing squad the next day]
Colette de Montpelier: Why, I don't know what you're talking about.
Lebel: Madam, be in no doubt as to the seriousness of your position.
[Colette stands and moves uneasily to another chair]
Insp. Thomas: [after Special Branch Detective finds Charles Calthrop's passport in his apartment] What's this?
Special Branch Detective: His passport.
Insp. Thomas: Oh?
Special Branch Detective: We checked it. It's him, all right. Look. The Dominican visa. There's no exit stamp, though. He must have got out on the sly.
Insp. Thomas: You haven't grasped it yet, have you? Oh, yes, this is our man, all right. Definitely. But hasn't it occurred to you that we're holding his passport in our hands? If he is out of the country, what's he travelling on? Eh?
Lebel: Excuse me, but it has just occurred to me that we have forty-eight hours in which to find this Jackal
[There is a chorus of "What?" and "How do you know?" from the committee members]
Lebel: Am I right in assuming that the President has no engagements outside the Elysee Palace today, tomorrow and Saturday ?
Lebel: And what is Sunday, August the twenty-fifth?
Minister: [Slaps forehead] Of course! Liberation Day!
Lebel: That's what he's been waiting for.
Minister: We must have been blind.
[arriving in St Clair's home]
Denise: Are you home already...?
[discovers St Clair's body and a bottle of pills]
Casson: No wonder our people are giving up, they've lost faith!
Montclair: We've failed them every single time!
Col. Rodin: We won't fail them again!
Casson: What can we do? We're paralyzed!
Montclair: Every cop in France has memorized our faces! Informants are all around us!
Col. Rodin: ...We must find an outsider. A foreigner!
Montclair: A foreigner? Why?
Col. Rodin: A contract killer! He won't have a record inside France, so he won't exist; he can come and go as he pleases!
Montclair: That sort of person costs money.
Col. Rodin: Yes. I'll find the right man.
[bidding farewell within earshot of Wolenski]
Col. Rodin: A pleasant journey home, Mister... Mister Jackal.
The Forger: I knew you didn't come to Geneva for a driver's license. Anyone in London could've done that.
Colonel Rolland: "Jackal." I thought Wolenski used it as a swearword, but it doesn't sound like him.
Insp. Thomas: [to his squad] He may be abroad, traveling on a false passport. What you're going to do now is to go down to the Passport Office. Get a complete list of every passport application for the last three months.
Special Branch Detective: But, sir...
Insp. Thomas: I don't care who's closed, wake the buggers up! Then take all those papers down to Somerset House, get started on checking the applicants' names against death certificates. Not birth certificates, mind you. If you find a passport filed by someone who died as a child, the one who filed it might be our man. If you don't find anything in the first three months, go back another three, and another three if you have to. Right, off you go!
The Jackal: Boring, aren't they, the magazines?
Colette de Montpelier: I find them fascinating.
The Jackal: What? Articles about pig breeding and combine harvesters?
Colette de Montpelier: I'm enthralled by combine harvesters. In fact, I yearn to have one as a pet.
Lebel: It's obvious that the Jackal has been tipped off all along, and yet he's decided to go ahead, regardless. He's simply challenged the whole lot of us.
Minister: Are you really suggesting that there's a leak from inside this room?
Lebel: I can't say. But we think that the Jackal is now in Paris with a new name and a new face, probably masquerading as a Danish schoolteacher.
[the Jackal collects his forged documents and sorts through them]
The Forger: What? It's all there. The Duggan driver's license and the French identity card were easy enough, but whoo, that third card was a big headache! It's nicely dog-eared, isn't it?
The Jackal: Haven't you forgotten something?
The Forger: Sorry?
The Jackal: The original driver's license, the one I said I wanted back.
The Forger: [crafty smile] I thought we might have a little chat about that. The fact is, you see, the original driver's license is not here. But don't worry, it's put away in a very safe place...
[holds up a set of keys]
The Forger: Nobody can get it, but me.
The Jackal: Well, what do you want?
The Forger: I'm coming to that. What I propose is simply a little trade: I give you the original driving license and all those negatives I took of you, for a certain sum of money.
The Jackal: How much?
The Forger: A thousand pounds. It's worth that, wouldn't you say, to get those documents back?
The Jackal: Yes, I suppose so.
The Forger: [pleased] An English gentleman can always be trusted to see sense!
The Jackal: I can find the first five hundred by tomorrow, but on the condition we don't meet in this place.
The Forger: There's nothing wrong with this place. It's very quiet, and very private.
The Jackal: There's everything wrong with this place as far as I'M concerned!
The Forger: Forget about that, no one comes here unless they're invited by me! One has to be discreet, you know, in my little sideline.
[chuckles. The Jackal laughs with him, and then chops his neck]
Insp. Thomas: I don't think I've ever heard of a political killer in this country. It's not our style, is it?
Lebel: The time elapsed from the first to the last shot was 7 seconds. In all, more than 140 shots were fired. 7 bullets pierced the President's car, one coming within an inch of his head, but by a miracle, neither he or anyone else was hurt. Six months later, most of the conspirators had been caught and tried. Their leader, Col. Bastien-Thiry, has been sentenced to death. At the last moment, his lawyer applies one more time for a stay of execution.
Lawyer: The appeal for clemency has been turned down. There is nothing more that I can do. I am sorry.
Bastien-Thiry: There is no need.
Lawyer: For heaven's sake, man, don't you realize that you are going to be shot?
Bastien-Thiry: You don't understand. No French soldier is going to raise a rifle against me.
Colette de Montpelier: No, of course I don't live in the Alps. I went there for a visit, that's all.
The Jackal: Climbing?
Colette de Montpelier: Good Lord, no. I spent a day at the Cadet Academy in Barcelonette amongst a lot of jaundiced military types, watching my son receive his commission.
The Jackal: [surprised] Oh...
Colette de Montpelier: He's nineteen.
The Jackal: I never know when you're being serious.
Colette de Montpelier: It's true, unfortunately.
The Jackal: Why "unfortunately"? I see nothing unfortunate in...
Colette de Montpelier: I'm not begging for compliments, Mr. Duggan.
Colette de Montpelier: Why did you come?
The Jackal: To see you. I had to.
Colette de Montpelier: But why?
The Jackal: Does it matter?
Colette de Montpelier: Paul... the police were here yesterday looking for you.
The Jackal: Did they say they were coming back?
Colette de Montpelier: No, only that I should phone if...
Colette de Montpelier: Paul, I know you stole that car. It has a local license plate. I know it must be very serious. I don't mind. You can tell me what you've done. You can stay here, it's safe. But you must tell me, Paul. I won't say anything...
Special Branch Detective: Hughes here, sir. Paul Oliver Duggan: born April the 3rd 1929 in Sambourne Fishley, applied for a passport on July the 14th of this year; passport mailed July the 17th to an address in Paddington. That'll probably turn out to be an accommodation address. Why? Because Duggan died at the age of two and a half on November the 8th, 1931.
Col. Rodin: One last thing. What codename will you use?
The Jackal: Why not the Jackal?
Col. Rodin: Why not?
Lebel: I'm beginning to get a feeling about the Jackal...