I rented the movie “Day of the Jackal” from the library last week, since I remember it being a good thriller. In case you’ve never read the book or seen the movie, it has a pretty good premise:
Renegade members of the French military want to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle, and hire a British assassin to do the job.
But French officials get wind of the plot, and they appoint their best cop to stop him.
But the movie was made in 1973, and it was amazingly obvious how much thrillers have changed. In the first hour of the movie there are scores of tedious scenes where the assassin commissions his rifle, goes to get a fake passport, returns to get his finished rifle, returns to get his passport, etc.
Meantime, the police are on the job. We get to see Top Cop ask for an assistant, then ask the assistant for them to put a cot in his office. He also has to go to a lot of committee meetings, where he delivers reports to a dozen anonymous bureaucrats in suits who smoke cigarettes and harrumph about various setbacks and the deviousness of the assassin.
There are so many scenes in offices and harrumphing in smoky board rooms, that this movie could have been subtitled “The Triumph of the Civil Servants.” People smoke like chimneys throughout the whole thing, so “Day of the Chain Smokers” would have worked, too.
Despite the languid pace — which includes the Jackal’s tepid affair with a married woman — The Jackal has a rather fascinating wardrobe. First, he’s got these taupe-colored high-waist pants, seemingly his only pair, and he wears them in every scene in the first half of the movie. They’re clearly miracle-pants, surviving scene after tedious scene, including scenes that are sorta action-y, with nary a wrinkle or a stain. These pants are the pride of the British Empire. They have a stiff upper inseam.
Even when The Jackal is repainting his car, his stalwart trousers are up to the task. But if he’s always wearing the same pair of pants, you ask, how can his wardrobe be fascinating?
I didn’t think about counting all his cravats until well into the movie, but I’ll bet if you had a cravat drinking game, you’d be staggering drunk long before you took a shot at de Gaulle.
There’s a lovely clip on YouTube of the Jackal buying his gun and playing with it, which is notable because it has no less than two cravats, including a dazzling close-up! Feast your eyes on this:
You can also view the movie trailer online, and know the best part? Not only is there footage from one of the committee meetings with the smoking nabobs, there’s a close-up of … one more cravat!
It’s a little late to ask Santa for Christmas gifts, but next year I’m asking for taupe-colored miracle asssassin-pants … and lots and lots of cravats.