Jonathan Hemlock is an art history professor and collector who finances his hobby by performing the odd sanction (assassination) for an obscure government bureau. He is forced to take a case where he must find out which of the members of a mountain climbing team is the Russian killer he has been given as a target by joining an expedition to climb the treacherous Eiger. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In Finland this film is called "Tehtävä Alpeilla" meaning "A Mission in the Alps" in English. See more »
In the over the shoulder shots of Ben and Jonathan at the top of the rock column, the shadows of the surrounding mesas are short yet the frontal shot of the two show the surrounding shadows to be long as if it is late in the day. See more »
This movie is highly unusual and possibly even unique in Clint Eastwood's career, either as actor or director.
In "The Eiger Sanction" he plays Dr. Jonathan Hemlock, a character completely unlike any other he has played. Dr. Hemlock is, in fact, the very antithesis of the typical Eastwood character.
Although he hides a secret past, Hemlock displays a highly cultured knowledge of fine art and jazz in both his professional and personal life. He possesses as highly refined a taste for beautiful women as he does for the most beautiful works of art.
Eastwood is both a philosopher and a lover in this film. He is also a humorist. But there are no glib one-liners here. In fact, this one film probably contains more dialogue for Eastwood than he has done for any other character he has played in his career.
Eastwood is the quintessential strong, silent type. As anyone knows who has seen him as a gunfighter hero, whether in the Old West or in the big city. In "The Eiger Sanction," he is a different kind of gun- fighter. His character is not drawn on the swift, total retribution exacted by the Man with No Name. Instead, it is drawn on the suave, debonair charm of James Bond. Jonathan Hemlock possesses the same cultural refinement and cosmopolitanism that the Bond character does. In fact, Hemlock and Bond are at work and at home in the same element: international espionage.
I suspect this is why the casual fan of Clint Eastwood typically detests this movie. Clint Eastwood appears to be miscast. But I'd say he pulls it off admirably, showing the viewer a side of himself which is rarely seen and exhibiting his versatility as an actor.
The story itself is better than average and the movie rates two and one half stars.
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