History Literature / TheDayOfTheJackal

27th Apr '16 9:05:35 PM dmcreif
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In 1963, after [[{{UsefulNotes/Algeria}} a deeply divisive and costly Civil War]], French President UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle has granted independence to Algeria. His decision is seen as a betrayal by many of his former supporters. A disenchanted paramilitary group, the OAS, has vowed to kill de Gaulle in revenge but each plot has failed. In desperation, the OAS turn to a mysterious foreign assassin, known only as ''The Jackal'', to carry out the job. The government learns of the plot, but know nothing of the would-be assassin besides his code name. So they call upon the best detective in France: Deputy Commissioner Claude Lebel, who is given unlimited authority to capture or kill The Jackal, with only two requirements: no publicity, and do not fail.

The 1973 movie holds us for nearly two and a half hours as we watch as the Jackal's plans proceed with inexorable precision, as Lebel struggles to thwart a man of whom he knows nothing: no name, no picture, no nationality. He isn't even sure if the plot is real or simply the ravings of a tortured terrorist. To make matters worse, the terrorists have infiltrated the French Cabinet, and the Jackal is being passed valuable information about the pursuit. After the members of the cabinet tire of Lebel using the authority they granted him to find the cabinet member who is leaking information, they essentially fire him, thinking they can find the Jackal easily enough. When that doesn't work, they reluctantly call Lebel back, in desperation, because the Jackal has eventually disappeared, and they need to find him before he carries out the assassination.

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In 1963, after [[{{UsefulNotes/Algeria}} a deeply divisive and costly Civil War]], French President UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle has granted independence to Algeria. His decision is seen as a betrayal by many of his former supporters. A disenchanted paramilitary group, the OAS, Organisation de L'Armée Secrète (OAS), has vowed to kill de Gaulle in revenge but each plot has failed. In desperation, the OAS turn to a mysterious foreign assassin, known only as ''The Jackal'', "The Jackal", to carry out the job. The government learns of the plot, but know nothing of the would-be assassin besides his code name. So they call upon the best detective in France: Deputy Commissioner Claude Lebel, who is given unlimited authority to capture or kill The Jackal, with only two requirements: no publicity, and do not fail.

The 1973 movie film adaptation holds us for nearly two and a half hours as we watch as the Jackal's plans proceed with inexorable precision, as Lebel struggles to thwart a man of whom he knows nothing: no name, no picture, no nationality. He isn't even sure if the plot is real or simply the ravings of a tortured terrorist. To make matters worse, the terrorists have infiltrated the French Cabinet, and the Jackal is being passed valuable information about the pursuit. After the members of the cabinet tire of Lebel using the authority they granted him to find the cabinet member who is leaking information, they essentially fire him, thinking they can find the Jackal easily enough. When that doesn't work, they reluctantly call Lebel back, in desperation, because the Jackal has eventually disappeared, and they need to find him before he carries out the assassination.



* BoringButPractical: Lebel eschews fancy espionage tradecraft in favor of simply looking at the case deeper than the other guys. In fact, this is exactly how he catches the Jackal: During the Liberation Day parade, he goes around the security cordon and asks the patrol guards one by one until he stumbles upon one guard who let in a guy who fits the Jackal's profile.

to:

* BoringButPractical: Lebel eschews fancy espionage tradecraft in favor of simply looking at the case deeper than the other guys. In fact, this is exactly how he catches the Jackal: During the Liberation Day parade, he goes around the security cordon and asks the patrol guards gendarmes one by one until he stumbles upon one guard who let in a guy who fits the Jackal's profile.



* CannotKeepASecret: Part of the reason the OAS hires an outsider to assassinate De Gaulle is because their own rank and file are littered with Action Service infiltrators, meaning almost nothing they plot is secret for long.



* ClockDiscrepancy: The 1962 assassination attempt failed because Bastien-Thiery was consulting the almanac for the wrong year and so misjudged when sunset was. This made it too dark for the gunmen to see his signal and they opened fire too late.

to:

* ClockDiscrepancy: The 1962 assassination attempt on De Gaulle failed because Bastien-Thiery was consulting the almanac for the wrong year and so misjudged when sunset was. This made it too dark for the gunmen to see his signal and they opened fire too late.



* HoneyTrap: One character in the book was the girlfriend of a (now dead) OAS member and she starts up a relationship with a high-ranking French official so she can learn about developments in the investigation and aid the Jackal.

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* HoneyTrap: One character in the book was Denise, the girlfriend of a (now dead) OAS member and she starts up a relationship with member, is paid to bed a high-ranking French official so she the OAS can learn about developments in the investigation and aid the Jackal.



* {{Jerkass}}: Colonel Saint-Clair de Villauban of the President's staff, a disdainful, snobby and nakedly ambitious careerist whose primary contributions to the Jackal crisis are pompous recitations of things that everyone present already knows or condescending skepticism towards Lebel's many efforts, which he frequently attempts to pick apart and undermine partly out of snobbery towards the low-born mid-ranking police officer and partly so that he can make sure he's seen to be on the right side should Lebel's efforts fail. [[spoiler: He is also TheMole, albeit unwittingly, but his unthinking willingness to blurt out everything that's going on to his mistress doesn't help the reader's opinion of him or his competence.]]

to:

* {{Jerkass}}: Colonel Saint-Clair de Villauban of the President's from De Gaulle's staff, a disdainful, snobby and nakedly ambitious careerist whose primary contributions to the Jackal crisis are pompous recitations of things that everyone present already knows or condescending skepticism towards Lebel's many efforts, which he frequently attempts to pick apart and undermine partly out of snobbery towards the low-born mid-ranking police officer and partly so that he can make sure he's seen to be on the right side should Lebel's efforts fail. [[spoiler: He is also TheMole, albeit unwittingly, but his unthinking willingness to blurt out everything that's going on to his mistress doesn't help the reader's opinion of him or his competence.]]



* ReverseMole: The OAS is so full of Action Service infiltrators that its head trusts only two others and has to rely on an outsider, namely the title assassin, for the task.

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* ReverseMole: The OAS is so full of Action Service infiltrators that its head Rodin trusts only two others Montclair and Casson, and has to rely on an outsider, namely the title assassin, for the task.
24th Apr '16 1:29:58 PM dmcreif
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* ClockDiscrepancy: The 1962 assassination attempt failed because Bastien-Thiery was consulting the almanac for the wrong year and so misjudged when sunset was. This made it too dark for the gunmen to see his signal and they opened fire too late.



* HistoricalDomainCharacter: UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle obviously; he's a constant presence, and has a scene where he's briefed about the Jackal's plot against him. British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, [=DeGaulle=]'s Interior Minister Roger Frey and Colonel Bastien-Thiry (leader of the Petit-Clamart assassination attempt) also appear.

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* HistoricalDomainCharacter: UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle obviously; he's a constant presence, and has a scene where he's briefed about the Jackal's plot against him. British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, [=DeGaulle=]'s Interior Minister Roger Frey and Colonel Bastien-Thiry Bastien-Thiery (leader of the Petit-Clamart assassination attempt) also appear.



* PoliceAreUseless: Averted by Lebel, who is very effective at his job.

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* PoliceAreUseless: Averted by Lebel, who is very effective at his job. Though played straight as to the reasons why he was brought in to begin with: the authorities had nothing to go on regarding the Jackal's identity since they have no name or face.



** The otherwise well-planned opening assassination failed because Bastien-Thirty looked at an almanac for the wrong year and so misjudged when the sun would go down. As a result it was too dark for the gunners to see his signal and they opened fire too late.

to:

** The otherwise well-planned opening assassination failed because Bastien-Thirty Bastien-Thiry looked at an almanac for the wrong year and so misjudged when the sun would go down. As a result it was too dark for the gunners to see his signal and they opened fire too late.
22nd Apr '16 6:31:02 PM dmcreif
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* BoringButPractical: Lebel eschews fancy espionage tradecraft in favor of simply looking at the case deeper than the other guys. In fact, this is exactly how he catches the Jackal: During the Liberation Day parade, he goes around the security cordon and asks the patrol guards one by one until he stumbles upon one guard who let in a guy who fits in Jackal's profile.

to:

* BoringButPractical: Lebel eschews fancy espionage tradecraft in favor of simply looking at the case deeper than the other guys. In fact, this is exactly how he catches the Jackal: During the Liberation Day parade, he goes around the security cordon and asks the patrol guards one by one until he stumbles upon one guard who let in a guy who fits in the Jackal's profile.



* EnemyMine: A subplot has Colonel Rolland of Action Services asking the Unione Corse, the Corsican Mafia, for help locating the Jackal [[DealWithTheDevil in exchange for reduced police pressure]].
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Kowalski, the OAS courier, spends much of the novel fretting over his daughter, dying of leukemia. Ultimately [[spoiler:he's captured by Action Services while trying to visit her in hospital. It turns out that she's perfectly healthy and they were using that as bait for a trap.]]

to:

* EnemyMine: A subplot has Colonel Rolland of Action Services asking asks the Unione Corse, the Corsican Mafia, for help locating the Jackal [[DealWithTheDevil in exchange for reduced police pressure]].
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Viktor Kowalski, the OAS courier, spends much of the novel fretting over his daughter, supposedly dying of leukemia. Ultimately [[spoiler:he's captured by Action Services while trying to visit her in hospital. It turns out that she's perfectly healthy and they were using that as bait for a trap.]]



* GameChanger: None of the OAS's efforts to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle succeeded, because their ranks were riddled with police informers. The Game Changer comes when the OAS leaders contract the services of a foreign assassin, about whom the French Secret Service know almost nothing.

to:

* GameChanger: None of the OAS's efforts to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle succeeded, because their ranks were have been riddled with police informers.Action Service infiltrators. The Game Changer comes when the OAS leaders contract the services of a foreign assassin, about whom the French Secret Service know almost nothing.



* NiceJobFixingItVillain: When the Jackal commits a murder, it gives the authorities an excuse to drop De Gaulle's secrecy provision and hunt him openly.

to:

* NiceJobFixingItVillain: When the Jackal commits a murder, it gives the authorities an excuse opportunity to drop De Gaulle's secrecy provision and hunt him openly.
22nd Apr '16 12:05:33 PM dmcreif
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The year is 1963. Following [[{{UsefulNotes/Algeria}} a deeply divisive and costly Civil War]], French President UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle has granted independence to Algeria. His decision is seen as a betrayal by many of his former supporters. A disenchanted paramilitary group, the OAS, has vowed to kill de Gaulle in revenge but each plot has failed. In desperation, the OAS turn to a mysterious foreign assassin, known only as ''The Jackal'', to carry out the job. The government learns of the plot, but know nothing of the would-be assassin besides his code name. So they call upon the best detective in France: Deputy Commissioner Claude Lebel, who is given unlimited authority to capture or kill The Jackal, with only two requirements: no publicity, and do not fail.

to:

The year is 1963. Following In 1963, after [[{{UsefulNotes/Algeria}} a deeply divisive and costly Civil War]], French President UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle has granted independence to Algeria. His decision is seen as a betrayal by many of his former supporters. A disenchanted paramilitary group, the OAS, has vowed to kill de Gaulle in revenge but each plot has failed. In desperation, the OAS turn to a mysterious foreign assassin, known only as ''The Jackal'', to carry out the job. The government learns of the plot, but know nothing of the would-be assassin besides his code name. So they call upon the best detective in France: Deputy Commissioner Claude Lebel, who is given unlimited authority to capture or kill The Jackal, with only two requirements: no publicity, and do not fail.
16th Apr '16 12:29:34 AM DavidCowie
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Added DiffLines:

* OneLastJob: One reason why The Jackal's fee is so high is that he knows that he will never be able to work again after such a high-profile assassination.
5th Apr '16 5:13:19 PM maxwellsilver
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* BoringButPractical: Lebel eschews fancy espionage tradecraft in favor of simply looking at the case deeper than the other guys. In fact, this is exactly how he catches the Jackal: During the Liberation Day parade, he goes around the security cordon and asks the patrol guards one by one until he stumbles upon one guard that lets in a guy who fits in Jackal's profile.

to:

* BoringButPractical: Lebel eschews fancy espionage tradecraft in favor of simply looking at the case deeper than the other guys. In fact, this is exactly how he catches the Jackal: During the Liberation Day parade, he goes around the security cordon and asks the patrol guards one by one until he stumbles upon one guard that lets who let in a guy who fits in Jackal's profile.



** The opening assassination attempt really took place and is a very good re-creation.
** Perhaps most notably the method where the Jackal gets a fake passport, getting a birth certificate from a person who died as a child. Forsyth got some criticism for revealing that method. In his defense, Forsyth was trying to call attention to the loophole so it would be closed, and almost the entire criminal world was already aware of the trick and had been using it for years. [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3098104.stm See this article for more]] -- amazingly, they only really started to close the loophole after almost ''30 years''.
*** A year earlier, hippie author Abbie Hoffman had refused to publicize the method in ''Steal This Book!'', out of fear of governments closing the loophole.
** Not surprising as Frederick Forsyth had covered the real-life events which inspired the film as a journalist for Reuters.

to:

** The opening assassination attempt really took place and is a very good re-creation.
re-creation. Not surprising, since Frederick Forsyth had covered the real-life events which inspired the film as a journalist for Reuters.
** Perhaps most notably the method where the Jackal gets a fake passport, getting a birth certificate from a person who died as a child. Forsyth got some criticism for revealing that method. In his defense, Forsyth was trying to call attention to the loophole so it would be closed, and almost the entire criminal world was already aware of the trick and had been using it for years. [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3098104.stm See this article for more]] -- amazingly, they only really started to close the loophole after almost ''30 years''.
*** A
years''(a year earlier, hippie author Abbie Hoffman had refused to publicize the method in ''Steal This Book!'', out of fear of governments closing the loophole.
** Not surprising as Frederick Forsyth had covered the real-life events which inspired the film as a journalist for Reuters.
loophole).



* SniperRifle: No surprise.

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* SniperRifle: No surprise. The Jackal has one custom made in .22 Magnum and able to be disassembled and concealed in a crutch. He does need to sight-in the scope.
5th Apr '16 5:04:15 PM maxwellsilver
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-> ''[[TitleDrop The day of the Jackal]] was over.''

to:

-> ''[[TitleDrop The ''The day of the Jackal]] Jackal was over.''



* {{Blackmail}}: A forger tries to blackmail the Jackal. [[spoiler:[[GroinAttack It doesn't end]] [[NeckSnap well for him]].]]

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* {{Blackmail}}: A forger tries to blackmail the Jackal. [[spoiler:[[GroinAttack It [[spoiler:It doesn't end]] [[NeckSnap end well for him]].him.]]
1st Apr '16 8:07:37 AM JackG
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Added DiffLines:

* NiceJobFixingItVillain: When the Jackal commits a murder, it gives the authorities an excuse to drop De Gaulle's secrecy provision and hunt him openly.
1st Apr '16 7:55:21 AM JackG
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* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Lebel has to report to a committee full of them. Every day.

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* ObstructiveBureaucrat: ObstructiveBureaucrat:
**
Lebel has to report to a committee full of them. Every day.day.
** On the British side is the Foreign Office bureaucrat who interferes in the investigation simply out of pique.
18th Mar '16 7:58:52 PM DoctorNemesis
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* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Kowalski, the OAS courier, spends much of the novel fretting over his daughter, dying of leukemia. Ultimately [[spoiler:he's captured by Action Services while trying to visit her in hospital.]]

to:

* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Kowalski, the OAS courier, spends much of the novel fretting over his daughter, dying of leukemia. Ultimately [[spoiler:he's captured by Action Services while trying to visit her in hospital. It turns out that she's perfectly healthy and they were using that as bait for a trap.]]



* HaveYouToldAnyoneElse

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* HaveYouToldAnyoneElseHaveYouToldAnyoneElse: Very subtly done. When the forger attempts to blackmail the Jackal, through his negotiations it gradually becomes clear that the Jackal is scoping out the possibility of anyone noticing if the forger simply disappeared.


Added DiffLines:

* {{Pride}}: President de Gaulle's legendary pride poses a problem for the investigators when the plot against him is uncovered; he refuses to cancel his personal appearances, take any increased action to ensure his safety or allow the security services to engage in a public manhunt for the Jackal out of concern of the embarrassment to both him and France.
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