A police procedural in the guise of a political thriller, "Day of the Jackal" is impressively-detailed but more restrained than many of its peers. Star power and the promise of intense action took its genre cousins "The French Connection" and "Three Days of the Condor," for example, to $40-50 million finishes in 1971 and 1975, respectively, but the slower-boiling "Jackal" barely broke $16 million. In quality of production, "Jackal" excels but seems to hearken back. It has the feel of an early 1960s film (and since it is set in 1963 that is appropriate), with the clothes and the cinematography and even the posh European setting all feeling right for a slick actioner of that era. The plot follows detectives and assassins, the first always half a step behind the second, but there is none of that stuff called "grit" that defines so many crime and espionage movies from the 1970s onward. Everything is in broad daylight, beautifully-shot with the smooth, washed-out look of director Zinnemann's other color productions like "Julia" (1977) and "A Man for All Seasons" (1966), and the necessary violence is handled perfunctorily and virtually bloodlessly. Nobody shouts, the one car crash is an accidental fender-bender, and when a French minister is implicated in an embarrassing security breach in the middle of a briefing he quietly apologizes and excuses himself. Nobody makes a scene. The decision to go with a low-key script is interesting, especially since the audience presumably knows that President Charles de Gaulle was not the victim of assassination and therefore knows from the beginning how the main plot will end. But the strength of a procedural, as opposed to a thriller, is not always in tension but in detail and the depiction of characters, and in these respects Zinnemann is master.