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The Eiger Sanction

One of Clint Eastwood's earliest directing efforts, THE EIGER SANCTION is a solid action thriller with some minor, glaring issues that are, in the end, made up for by a thrilling final 45 minutes.

Clint stars as Professor Lockwood, an Art professor by day and lethal hit man by night. Working for a gravel voiced, dimly lit Albino named Dragon, Lockwood keeps trying to quit, but is coerced into one last hit to avenge the death of a friend.

The hit must take place during an international climbing team event on the Eiger, but neither Eastwood (or you!) know which other member of the climb is the target.

The film starts off fine, but meanders a bit in the middle with some long training scenes in which Lockwood wants Ben Bowman (an engaging George Kennedy) to get him ready for the climb.

The upside of these scenes are they take place in Monument Valley and feature some truly amazing climbing shots of Eastwood and Kennedy. Since CGI didn't exist in 1975, I have no idea how they got these, but they look great. The downside is a subplot featuring Jack Cassidy as a bad guy, playing gay so over the top its like he is Paul Lynde and Liberace's baby. These scenes are pretty tasteless now and throw the middle of the film off a bit.

But you are soon at the base of the Eiger getting ready to climb with Eastwood and the team and the last 45 minutes of the film are great.

The photography by Frank Stanley (Magnum Force) is really excellent, especially in wide screen. Eastwood's picked some great locations and makes the best of them.

John Williams adds another great music score. It's a solid Eastwood action flick with Clint at the top of his 70's box office reign.

Definitely reaches some solid action peaks, earning a solid B.

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