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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.

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

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:

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, 31 December 1975
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

Clint Eastwood went on a three-day climbing course in Yosemite National Park, then practiced at home for several months. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the training climb, the camera looks down on Hemlock as he starts up the face. The view below shows bright green vegetation and a parking lot with a large number of cars. After reaching the summit, the camera pulls back from the climbers and spins around in a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside revealing nothing but desert and brown scrub; the green vegetation and parking lot have disappeared. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Jonathan Hemlock: FREYTAG, YOU ASSHOLE!
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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009) 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 MisterWhiplashSee 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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