David Callan (Edward Woodward), a leading intelligence agent/assassin in the employment of the S.I.S., was forced into retirement when he lost his nerve. Now, he is called back into service to handle the assassination of Schneider, a German businessman. Colonel Hunter (Eric Porter), his former employer, promises Callan that he’ll be returned to active status as long as he follows his orders. But Callan refuses to act until he knows exactly why Schneider has been marked for death…
- Edward Woodward as David Callan
- Russell Hunter as Lonely
- Eric Porter as Charles Hunter
- Peter Egan as Toby Meres
- Carl Möhner as Rudolph Schneider
- Catherine Schell as Jenny
- Kenneth Griffith as Waterman
- Michael Da Costa as The Greek
- Veronica Lang as Liz, Hunter’s Secretary
- Clifford Rose as Dr. Snell
- David Prowse as Arthur
- Don Henderson as George
- Nadim Sawalha as Padilla
- David Graham as Wireless operator
- Yuri Borienko as Security porter
Aside from Woodward as Callan, the only actors to reprise their television roles in the film were Russell Hunter and Clifford Rose who played Lonely and Snell respectively. All other recurring characters were recast for a wider audience release.
The script by James Mitchell is based on his original TV pilot “A Magnum for Schneider” and the novelization thereof, Red File for Callan, although only the novel is listed in the film’s credits (as A Red File for Callan). The film was based more on the novel than on the original television script.
Callan’s boss Hunter is played by Eric Porter, and Meres too is re-cast, this time played by Peter Egan. The only recurring actors from the TV series were Edward Woodward as Callan, Russell Hunter as Lonely, and Clifford Rose as Dr Snell.
Callan was the first film with a Dolby-encoded optical soundtrack.
The film was shot at Lee Studios. Director Don Sharp called it “a joy to film” in part because Woodward’s “character was so set but he came to it so fresh again.”
Sharp said the film received “lovely notices”.
The Observer called it “surprisingly enjoyable”.
- Vagg, Stephen (27 July 2019). “Unsung Aussie Filmmakers: Don Sharp – A Top 25”. Filmink.
- CALLAN Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 41, Iss. 480, (Jan 1, 1974): 144.
- Sergi, Gianluca (2004). The Dolby Era: Film Sound in Contemporary Hollywood. Manchester University Press. p. 46. ISBN 0719070678.
- Sharp, Don (2 November 1993). “Don Sharp Side 6” (Interview). Interviewed by Teddy Darvas and Alan Lawson. London: History Project. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
- Cross-country parable Milne, Tom. The Observer 26 May 1974: 31