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Rainer Werner Fassbinder
An American lawyer on vacation in Europe is asked by a book publisher to stop by the Austrian town of Salzburg to see a photographer who's taking pictures for a book on picturesque Austrian lakes. Upon his arrival he senses that something is wrong when the photographer seems to have vanished, leaving a near panic-stricken wife and a sinister, secretive brother. Before he knows it, the lawyer finds himself mixed up with spies, assassins, and the hunt for a list made up by the Nazis during World War II of people who collaborated with them. Written by
Had it not been for some strong language, I would have tapped "The Salzburg Connection" as a TV movie, but apparently, it had a theatrical release. Based on the book by Helen MacInnes, the film stars Barry Newman, Anna Karina, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Karen Jensen, and Whit Bissell.
Newman plays attorney Bill Mathison, who goes to Salzburg to investigate a publishing contract for Richard Brandt, a man photographing Austrian lakes. When he arrives at the man's photo shop, he meets the Brandt's wife (Karina) and her brother Johann (Brandauer).
Shortly thereafter, he learns Brandt is dead as is one of Mathison's European contacts. Apparently agents are searching for a chest buried by the Nazis and believed to be in Brandt's possession. It contains the names of Nazi collaborators who can be called upon for neo-Nazi activities. All the countries want it for one reason or another -- the Americans want to know if any of these people have important jobs in the U.S.
I remember reading this book and liking it, but I am unclear if I saw this film. The Austrian scenery is glorious, but since this is a Twentieth Century Fox film, I can't believe they filmed in Salzburg without any visual references to Salzburg's major tourist attraction - The Sound of Music tour. Not to mention The Sound of Music postcards and other paraphernalia.
The film version is slow and boring, and I couldn't get attached to the characters or their plight.
Barry Newman made his name at just the right time, when the antihero types like Pacino were coming to fame, but his career never took off. He always had an air of overconfident playboy about him, but he was certainly popular, and he is still working. He's okay in this. Everyone is okay.
I'd say the scenery is the star.
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