Eiger Sanction [1975]

Clint Eastwood held the dual role of director and star of this 1975 spy thriller, which makes up for sluggish pacing with a breathtaking climax on a treacherous peak in the Swiss Alps. The plot kicks into gear when Eastwood, playing a retired assassin, is recruited back into a secret organization to avenge the murder of an old friend. He's then blackmailed into making a second "hit"; this time his target is one of three men who will be attempting to conquer the Eiger, a dangerous peak in Switzerland. Himself an accomplished climber, Eastwood's character joins the expedition with George Kennedy as leader of the ground crew. Shifting loyalties, apparent betrayals, and paranoid suspicion factor into the suspenseful climax on the sheer face of the mountain. This memorable sequence--for which Eastwood performed his own mountain-climbing stunts--is effectively intense, built on a standard plot of double-cross and intrigue that was intended to combine Eastwood's screen persona with the global adventure of the James Bond films. For the most part it works--it's not one of Eastwood's better films, but it's got some first-class thrills (and a sly performance by Jack Cassidy) to grab and hold your interest. --Jeff Shannon

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