6.4/10
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The Eiger Sanction (1975)

Approved | | Action, Crime, Thriller | 21 May 1975 (USA)
Trailer
2:41 | Trailer
Classical art professor and collector Dr. Jonathan Hemlock, who doubles as a professional assassin, is coerced out of retirement to avenge the murder of an old friend.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Jonathan Hemlock
George Kennedy ... Ben Bowman
Vonetta McGee ... Jemima Brown
Jack Cassidy ... Miles Mellough
Heidi Brühl ... Mrs. Montaigne (as Heidi Bruhl)
Thayer David ... Dragon
Reiner Schöne ... Freytag (as Reiner Schoene)
Michael Grimm Michael Grimm ... Meyer
Jean-Pierre Bernard Jean-Pierre Bernard ... Montaigne
Brenda Venus Brenda Venus ... George
Gregory Walcott ... Pope
Candice Rialson ... Art Student
Elaine Shore Elaine Shore ... Miss Cerberus
Dan Howard Dan Howard ... Dewayne
Jack Kosslyn ... Reporter
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Storyline

Dr. Jonathan Hemlock (Clint Eastwood) 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:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

21 May 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Eiger Sanction See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,200,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The revolver which falls out of Dr. Jonathan Hemlock's (Clint Eastwood's) pack when he kicks it over at the end is a Smith & Wesson Model 40 Centennial .38 Special. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Dr. Jonathan Hemlock: Pope, I really don't mind you being an asshole, you really can't help that, but I do mind you lying to me like I was a fool. Now you came here with one thought in mind, and that was to attach yourself to me so the target would know who I am and what I am. Now, who's gonna perform this sanction if he gets me? You?
Pope: You don't think I can handle it?
Dr. Jonathan Hemlock: In a locked closet with a grenade.
See more »

Alternate Versions

An early cut of the movie showed, in detail, a man slitting Henri Bach's throat, reaching in, and retrieving microfilm that he had just swallowed. This was deemed too graphic, so the scene was edited to its current version. See more »

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User Reviews

terribly enjoyable/ enjoyably terrible?
15 December 2005 | by LewisJForceSee all my reviews

This is the silliest film with Eastwood's name on the credits, and that includes stuff like 'Francis in the Navy' and 'Tarantula'. But at its best, its a kind of bravura silliness. There are chunks of quotable dialogue, vertigo inducing cinematography and the requisite smorgasbord of villains and could-be/would-be villains. Just don't ask me if its a spoof, because I have no idea. I'm pretty sure nobody involved with the picture did, either.

The intermittent tone seems largely attributable to the fact that, at this point in Clint's career, the ego had landed. Thus we witness scads of nubile young lovelies attempt to lure the granite hewn stud into bed, whilst he disrobes to reveal a finely honed physique at every opportunity. The women are all sex crazed psychopaths (ain't it the truth) driven to distraction by his squinting cool and formidable musculature. Notice also the number of times both female AND male characters are required to comment admiringly on Eastwood's appearance and caress his form with their eyes. There's no distance to any of this, however. Even the pop-Nietzcheian antics of the mountain climbers are served cold. The director star never offers us the merest suggestion that he's mocking the preening machismo at any level.

All of this worship, plus the fact that the star's performance is WAY, WAY over the top - his usual 'snarling and eye-rolling alternated with boyish grin' is accentuated to parodic proportions - lends the piece a bizarrely dreamy, awkwardly sadistic homo-eroticism. If, in any other film, the hero yelled, "you're quiet now, ain't ya, ya little prick?" at a dog called 'faggot' after he'd killed it's master, I'd be on safe ground in assuming that the makers were nudging my ribs. Here, though, the surrounding unfettered narcissism and borderline unpleasantness it engenders makes it impossible to tell when the joke is for us or on us.

But its fun because of this nonsense. Even the final inconsequentiality of the whole exercise can't diminish that. It's just that this film, more than any other in his catalogue, lends extreme credence to biographer Patrick McGilligan's central assertion that, cinematically speaking at least, Clint is a lot less smart than critics allow.


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