A movie with many working titles — My Affair With the President’s Wife, then The President’s Wife and The Assassin — star Charles Bronson set the record straight: “Someone thought the original title might be insulting to the presidency of the United States, so they changed it. There’s an assassination involved so they stuck with that. They didn’t want to scare off people who come to see my films with a title like President’s Wife. It’s not what people expect from one of my pictures.”
It was also Bronson’s wife Jill Ireland’s first in three years following an operation for breast cancer. She told The Ottawa Citizen, “I’d thought the cancer might have ended my acting career. They (Menahem and Yoram) asked me to do the film at my birthday party last year and it was the best present I could have received.”
Jay Killian (Charles Bronson) is a senior member of the Secret Service and he’s upset that instead of guarding President Calvin Craig, he’s been put on the detail of the First Lady, Lara Royce Craig (Jill Ireland). Neither of them likes the other at all, but they have to work together when she’s targeted by someone potentially in the White House itself. Meanwhile, Killian has to keep his relationship with co-worker Charlotte Chang (Jan Gan Boyd) alive.
The final theatrical film of director Peter Hunt (he would make the TV movie Eyes of a Witness in 1991; he’s best known for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and writer Richard Sale, as wel as the last of sixteen movies that Ireland and Bronson would make together, Assassination feels like the end of an era. It was near the end of the glory years of Cannon, so don’t be surprised when music from Invasion U.S.A. gets re-used and whole pages of the script were torn out to cut the budget.
The best part of this? When Chang asks Killian why he doesn’t want to move in with her and he answers, “I don’t want to die from a terminal orgasm.”