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The Eiger Sanction (1975)

A classical art professor and collector, who doubles as a professional assassin, is coerced out of retirement to avenge the murder of an old friend.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Warren B. Murphy) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Miles Mellough
...
Mrs. Montaigne (as Heidi Bruhl)
...
Dragon
...
Freytag (as Reiner Schoene)
Michael Grimm ...
Meyer
Jean-Pierre Bernard ...
Montaigne
Brenda Venus ...
George
...
Pope
...
Art Student
Elaine Shore ...
Miss Cerberus
Dan Howard ...
Dewayne
Jack Kosslyn ...
Reporter
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Storyline

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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

EASTWOOD is the man . . Eiger is the location . . and the sanction - is a licence to kill! See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 May 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Im Auftrag des Drachen  »

Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Marc Eliot's Clint Eastwood biography 'American Icon', the superstar cast George Kennedy because of the friendship that they had formed on their previous picture, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974). See more »

Goofs

On the practice/training climb on the rock column in Monument Valley, Hemlock is shown climbing 'up' and using existing anchor points, yet it is claimed that no one has climbed the formation before. See more »

Quotes

Jemima Brown: Fasten your seat belt, sir.
Jonathan Hemlock: Oh, I have no intention of trying to escape.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Horror Business (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Gorgeous cinematography , suspense , spectacular climbing and intrigue in Swiss Mountain
25 November 2014 | by (Santander Spain) – See all my reviews

Wonderfully photographed story dealing with betrayal , secret agents action , greed and killings . A classical art professor and collector called Jonathan (Clint Eastwood went on a three-day climbing course in Yosemite National Park, then practiced at home for several months) , Hamlock (it is a venom , no less) who doubles as a professional assassin, is coerced out of retirement to avenge the murder of an old friend . He is assigned by Dragon (Thayer David) to discover a killer during a dangerous mountain climbing (in which Clint Eastwood preformed the sequence where his character hangs off the side of a mountain by a cable himself without the use of a stunt doublé) . Meanwhile , a treacherous , gay spy (Jack Cassidy) deceives Hamlock , but the latter seeks vengeance . The premise is the following : one of his team is a killer but who?

This thrilling film has suspense , noisy action , outrageously overblown roles , tension and extraordinary climbing images . Beautiful Swiss Alps scenery falls to partially compensate for several dreary lapses , faults , ungodly length (128 minutes) and script's shortcomings . Based on novel by Trevanian , though novelist Rod Whitaker (Trevanian) scorned the film as "vapid" and blamed the production for "the death of a promising young climber" . The shoot marked the last time that anyone was allowed to climb the "Totem Pole" in Monument Valley , in return for permission to film there, climbers with the production had to remove all of the pitons, which had accumulated from years of climbing, on their way down. Exciting final climax does not make up for movies's various gaps and flaws . Clint is pretty good as a college professor by day and superagent by night sent to expose a murderer during a risked mountain climb . 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 . He is well accompanied by George Kennedy because of the friendship that they had formed on their previous picture, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974). Good as well as international support cast playing brief interpretations and with silly names , such as Vonetta McGee , Jack Cassidy , Heidi Brühl , Thayer David , Reiner Schöne and special mention to Gregory Walcott as Pope . Very real climbing images as well as perfectly staged scenes , being marvelously photographed in Panavisión by Frank Stanley , he fills the screen with excitement and suspense ; showing outrageously mountain outdoors . Atmospheric and evocative musical score by the great John Williams , pre-Spielberg collaboration .

This pseudo-James Bond flick was professionally directed by Clint Eastwood , though being overlong and contains some faults . Filmmaker Eastwood better known for his ¨Dirty Harry¨ series such as : The enforcers , Sudden impact , Deed pool ; he subsequently directed his overtly personal movies such as Unforgiven , The Bridges of Madison County , Mystic River , Million Dollar Baby , Changeling and Gran Torino . The Eiger sanction results to be one of just a handful of Clint Eastwood movies in the spy / espionage genre , the films include Firefox (1982), Absolute power (1997 , and Open fire (1993) . Here Eastwood contribute to create an acceptable film , plenty of opportunities for Clint to strut his climbing skills , it's all in good fun and often unintentionally funny .


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