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>
Clint Eastwood did all of his own stunts, including the scene where he cuts his safety line over a drop of at least one thousand feet. The only stunt he did not perform was a 2500-foot drop, for which a dummy was used. See more »
In Hemlock's house on the wall over his desk there are pictures of him on various climbs. One of these pictures is of him dangling from the rope by the railway tunnel door at the end of the movie. See more »
Dr. Jonathan Hemlock:
[to his class]
Some of you will continue in your education. Some of you will continue with your interest in art. Some of you will have interests other than that. If we've learned nothing else this year, I hope you've learned the stupidity of the statement that art belongs to the world. 'Cause art belongs to the cultivated who can appreciate it. The majority of the great unwashed does not fit into this category... and neither, I'm sorry to say, do most of you.
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Great climbing sequences make this hidden gem worth watching!
Clint Eastwood stars as a former government assassin turned art teacher who is blackmailed into coming out of his retirement to pull off a difficult last job. A former colleague has been murdered. Eastwood will climb the Eiger face and kill the assassin along the way. The only problem is he isn't sure which of the three other climbers is his target.
'The Eiger Sanction' is very much a product of the 1970's, and comes from a difficult grey area of Eastwood's career. He was transitioning between Westerns and Dirty Harry and films like 'The Eiger Sanction' got lost in the mix. On the surface the film is a spy thriller, or a gorgeously shot mountain climbing/survival film. I think it doesn't get enough credit for being very tongue in cheek. It gently pokes fun at both Eastwood and 70's action movies -- Clint giving a female student a playful pat on the rump, the foxy brown flight attendant/girlfriend, and of course "damn that Brando" when Clint's Native American trainer pushes him too hard. Throw in the promiscuity and the way homosexuality is dealt with (rival gay hit-man with the little dog) and the film runs pretty nicely as a satire.
'The Eiger Sanction' is really about the third act though where the climbing takes place. Brilliantly photographed, I didn't find much not to enjoy about this film. Quite possibly the best climbing film that I've ever seen and it is certainly superior to things like 'Cliff Hanger' or 'Vertical Limit' -- which owe a great deal to 'The Eiger Sanction.' Clint Eastwood has acted in better movies and he's directed better movies. That said, this one is an unpolished gem and worth taking a look at if the opportunity arises.
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