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The Eiger Sanction (1975)

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Jonathan Hemlock
... Ben Bowman
... Jemima Brown
... 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:

Revenge atop a Swiss Mountain... one of his team is a killer but who? 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  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,200,000, 31 December 1975
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the last time Universal Pictures distributed a Clint Eastwood movie until Changeling (2008). 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

Dragon: [Hemlock has walked in while Dragon is hooked up to a transfusion device] Forgive me, Dr. Hemlock. Twice a year I have to have my blood completely replaced.
Jonathan Hemlock: [through gritted teeth] With what?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Crawling Eye (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
entertaining, near-mindless fun with some cool climbing scenes and plenty of wisecracks
17 November 2008 | by See all my reviews

Let's face it, folks, either you go for Clint Eastwood's kind of almost pure machismo (or whatever comes closest to him as a living, walking bad-ass), or you feel unnerved or turned off or just tune in for a few minutes here and there. I go for it, as it's one of those things that makes Clint what he is; he's intelligent about being a star, as his figure and persona are rarely changed much, so there's a consistency (Jack Nicholson may be a more versatile actor, maybe even better overall in his craft, but he'd have to go in a steel cage with Eastwood to see who'd be the best 70s star). The Eiger Sanction isn't any great shakes as compared to Clint at his best in the 70s- it's no High Plains Drifter or Dirty Harry or even Play Misty for Me- but it's a helluva lot of fun, and probably one of the better pictures done on the danger of mountain climbing.

Is the plot generic? Yes and no. Yes because we have seen this many times, with the ex-assassin pulled in for one more job and then finding a way to secure his retirement package with the deal and with not-surprisingly exciting (or sometimes not exciting) results. And yes, we've seen stuff like the guy's "girl" who comes in and plays a role, more or less, as the voice of reason, in this case Jemimma Black (yes, the name is basically blaxsploitation in mainstream clothing). Hell, there's even the doggone twist (yes, there's a doggone here) about who the killer actually is, and it's the sort that is handled this time with some degree of interest not so much in how it's revealed but what's done with it by the actors and the outcome of the climb.

But there's a lot more wit and fun in the script than one might give Eastwood and his writers credit for. It's tailor-made for someone like Clint, who plays this 'Doctor' of assassin time turned art history like it's nothing. He probably doesn't have much difference here in term of delivery of lines or sarcasm or the knack for beating the crap of the bad dude at the nick of time than Dirty Harry. Which is just as well; we need an anchor with the plot's likely pit-falls, with co-star Kennedy the only normal one among the possibly shifty characters (save for whoever plays Dragon, which is also filmed appropriately creepy and near originally). And it's the combo of humor ("Screw Marlon Brando!") and the suspense that arrives in that final act on the Eiger that makes the picture work. It's not entirely superbly directed- you can tell Eastwood is still working his way through doing certain techniques and frankly can't film a love scene at all- but for what it's worth, it's good, under-looked stuff in the cannon, perfect for a 'sick day' viewing. 7.5/10


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