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The Disappearance (1977)

Thriller about a contract killer whose wife has disappeared. When he is hired by an international organization to carry out a "shy" or hit, he suspects they are connected with her disappearance.


Stuart Cooper


Paul Mayersberg (screenplay), Derek Marlowe (novel)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Sutherland ... Jay Mallory
Francine Racette ... Celandine
David Hemmings ... Edward
John Hurt ... Atkinson
David Warner ... Burbank
Peter Bowles ... Jefferies
Virginia McKenna ... Catherine
Christopher Plummer ... Deverell
Michèle Magny ... Melanie (as Michele Magny)
Dan Howard Dan Howard ... James (as Duane Howard)
Robin Sachs ... Young Man
Christina Greatrex Christina Greatrex ... Secretary
Robert Korne Robert Korne ... Dominic
Michael Eric Kramer ... Peter (as Michael Kramer)
Maureen Beck Maureen Beck ... Maid


Contract hitman Jay Mallory works for an unknown organization. He returns to his apartment one day to find his wife, Celandine, gone. Mallory initially thinks that Celandine has left on her own, but soon, believes her disappearance may be associated with his last job. The organization assigns Mallory another job in, England, about which Mallory feels there's something unusual. He's given little information, including not knowing who the target is, and that it too, is associated with Celandine's disappearance. Despite feeling he's being set up, Mallory decides to take the job anyway to see how it plays out, and if it leads him back to Celandine. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A violent passion held them together. A passion for violence ripped them apart.


Drama | Thriller


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Parents Guide:

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UK | Canada


English | French

Release Date:

10 May 1981 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

La desaparición See more »

Filming Locations:

Suffolk, England, UK See more »


Box Office


CAD 1,800,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (edited)

Sound Mix:



Color (Colour by) (Technicolor) (as Technicolor®)
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Did You Know?


The one hour and forty-one minute version was approved by Director Stuart Cooper, but has no idea when it was done or who supervised it. On the Blu-ray liner notes by Julie Kirgo, Cooper suggests that it may have been Producer and actor David Hemmings. See more »

Alternate Versions

There are three different versions of The Disappearance. Version 1: The original director's cut which runs at 101 minutes and is healthily non-linear, influenced by the temporal experiments of earlier films such as Hiroshima Mon Amour, Don't Look Now and Point Blank. Version 2: An unauthorized, shortened, re-edited version by Fima Noveck that runs at 81 minutes and attempts to put the narrative into a more coherent order by reducing the complexity of the narrative by coding the instances of non-linearity as flashbacks; and reducing their frequency and length. Version 3: A third version that runs at 91 minutes but maintains the jumbled time frame and comes across as a leaner and more abstract version of the original. See more »


Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »


The Last Embrace
Music by Craig Hundley
Lyrics by Hans Jurgen Bauer
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User Reviews

In the film, Donald Sutherland plays an international hit-man, set out to find his missing wife which is based on the novel 'Echoes of Celandine' by Derek Marlowe.
8 September 2010 | by lastshotfilmsSee all my reviews

I was lucky enough to view Stuart Cooper's original cut of 'The Disappearance' which has never seen and is not available on DVD.

Just like his film OVERLORD which has been released by the Criterion Collection and become a classic, 'The Disappearance' holds it's own. The acting is first rate, the original music is lush and the John Alcott's cinematography is outstanding.

It is a shame that untalented producers are allowed to tamper with the original works. The original is in a non-linear format. Perhaps the reviewers should watch the original uncut/unedited version and then I would think they would revise their reviews. It is brilliant! Hopefully it will be screened at a festival in the future so all can enjoy.

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