Shadows in an Empty Room (1976)
"Una Magnum Special per Tony Saitta" (original title)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  9 March 1976 (Italy)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 327 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 7 critic

An Ottawa police captain searches for the person who poisoned his sister, who was attending the university in Montreal. So desperate is he for revenge that he begin to use his own brutal ... See full summary »


(as Martin Herbert)


(screenplay) (as Vincent Mann) , (screenplay) (as Frank Clark)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Capt. Tony Saitta
Sgt. Ned Matthews
Dr. George Tracer
Julie Foster
Louise Saitta
Jean LeClerc ...
Robert Tracer (as Jean Leclerc)
Margie Cohn
Jean Marchand
(as Antony Forest)
Andrée St-Laurent ...
(as Andree St. Laurent)
(as Peter Mac Neil)
Julie Wildman
James Tapp
Jérôme Tiberghien ...
(as Jerome Thibergien)
Terence G. Ross ...
(as Terence Ross)


An Ottawa police captain searches for the person who poisoned his sister, who was attending the university in Montreal. So desperate is he for revenge that he begin to use his own brutal methods to find the killer. Soon he discovers that not everything is what he thought it was. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Walk with her if you dare...for every step will bring you closer, closer, closer to the meaning of fear! See more »


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Release Date:

9 March 1976 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Strange Shadows in an Empty Room  »

Box Office


CAD 1,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Clips of the car chase from this film are used in the Geico commercials "Do dogs chase cats?" See more »


The driver of a car passing by can be seen watching filming as cop walks into sex shop. See more »

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User Reviews

Overlooked 1970's Crime Classic
10 October 2003 | by (brooklyn NY) – See all my reviews

****SPOILER ALERT**** Canadian whodunit that was overlooked back in 1976 here in the USA as one of many "Dirty Harry" clones that were released at that time is being rediscovered as one of the best crime as well as police action dramas of the 1970's. The movie includes two great chase scenes one on foot and the other on wheels the former exciting and the latter simply amazing rivaling the chase sequences of "Bullitt" and "The French Connection". At the start of the film we see Louise Saitta arguing with her collage professor Dr.George Tracer, just out of ear shot of the theater audience, on the Montreal University campus. Louise goes to a pay phone to call her brother Tony who's a captain on the Ottawa police force and is told that Capt. Saitta is out on assignment. Later that evening Louise partying with some friends at the campus falls sick and Dr. Tracer, who is also Louise's personal physician, is called to help. After giving her a mild stimulant Louise gets up and starts to dance with one of her friends at the party. Dr. Tracer, stunned at Louise's amazing recovery at first, realizes that Louise had played a joke to get even with him over the argument that they had earlier that afternoon. Later at the party after Louise sips some wine she suddenly collapses again and loses conciseness but this time it's no joke, it's real and despite the best efforts by Dr. Tracer to revive her Louise dies. At Louise's funeral her brother Capt. Saitta meets some of Louise's friends, Margi Cohn and her brother Terri and also Julie a blind music teacher at the collage and Louise's best friend. After the funeral at Julie's room in the college dorm Saitta is told by Julie that Louise was very depressed and despondent the week before she died. Capt. Saitta begins to suspect that there was foul play involved in his sister's death. He also notices that there's a number of photos of Louise on Julie's desk and asks Julie if he can have them. Julie tells Saitta that it would be only right for him to have the photos since Louise was his sister. From all the facts that he can gather Capt. Saitta thinks that Louise was poisoned by Dr.Tracer. There were rumors all around the collage campus that Tracer was having an affair with Louise and was afraid that she was going to go public with it because Dr. Tracer wanted it ended. The revelations of the affair would not only destroy Dr. Tracer's marriage but also his professional career. Capt Saitta and the police pay Tracer a visit at his home and ask to see the doctors bag where he has the stimulant that he gave Louise the night she died and To Tracer's surprise the bottle was missing. Capt. Saitta thinks that Dr. Tracer gave Louise a poison and later got rid of the bottle to cover up his crime. Tracer is arrested for suspicion in Louise's murder and Capt. Saitta thinks that his sister's death has been solved. Some time later a woman is found murdered and her body dumped in a junk yard. The police pathologist finds that the woman was really a man dressed in drag and is identified as Terri Cohn, a friend of Louise and one of the people that Capt. Saitta met at Louise's funeral. In Terri's handbag was a cropped photo of a women's neck wearing a blue necklace. Checking the photos Saitta thinks that the necklace photo looks very familiar and sees that it's one of the photos given to him by Julie of Louise, also found on Terri was a key to what turned out to be a locker at a Montreal bus station. It's then when Capt. Saitta went to the bus depot, to check out what was in the locker, he finds that it contained the blue necklace that was on the photo. Capt Saitta starts to realize that the necklace may be the reason for his sister's death. Saitta meets Margi about Louise's tie-in with Terri, in regard to the necklace, and gets into an argument with her over her brother Terri about why his sister would get involved with someone "like him". Margi, defending her brother tells Saitta that he shouldn't say anything bad about her dead brother when he knows so little about his sweet and innocent little sister Louise. Checking out all the leads about the mysterious blue necklace Saitta finds out that the necklace was stolen from a rich society woman , Mrs. Wilkerson, from Toronto who was savagely murdered some time ago.Saitta also finds that whoever had the necklace was trying to fence it off for a huge amount of cash but there were no takers the necklace was just too hot to handle! So how did Louise come into possession of that necklace? It now finally begins to dawn on Capt.Saitta that his sister was in some way involved in that murder in Toronto of Mrs. Wilkerson. Great thriller with a great and effective music score and top-notch acting from Stuart Whitman on down makes "Strange shadows in an empty room" head and shoulders above the many "Dirty Harry" imitations of it's day. In fact it has a much deeper plot and far less violence then the "Dirty Harry" films were noted for making it a much more effective film. With the exception of the exciting chase scene, there was a far better one later in the movie, and bank shoot-out at the beginning of the film I counted five deaths in the entire movie and that included Louise Saitta who was poisoned and another person who died of an apparent suicide off camera. What makes "Strange shadows in an empty room" so effective is that it not only makes you think while your watching the movie but also long after it's over.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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