Una Magnum Special per Tony Saitta (1976) Poster

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Supremely fun all the way
hamburger14 August 2001
With a great cast featuring Stuart Whitman, John Saxon, Martin Landau, AND Tisa Farrow this film glides with the greatest of ease. STRANGE SHADOWS IN AN EMPTY ROOM is sort of a cross between the Italian crime/police potboiler and your average giallo thriller. An interesting and fun blend it is. I'd rather not give too much of the film away since it's better going into it knowing next to nothing. Let's just say there's murder, mystery, car chases, blood, funky 70s music, karate-kicking drag queens, and of course your all-star cast! Have fun.
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Give me one more chase please!!!!!
Nir Elizov24 February 2007
There are 2 respected movies in the euro police movies that always shine above all the other great ones, the first one is in Fernando De Leo "La Mala Ordina", Part of his Milan trilogy films, with his extreme and fast paced chase that never let go and just keeps on going till the last brutal finish. The second one is blazing magnum's, which can be a very good lesson to all the action directors out there planing to do a one good chase sequence. There are 2 chases here, one in the beginning which is short but very efficient , and the second at the end, which you must see to believe, it got everything in it and more. I do urge you, the fans of this type of cinema to grab Blazing Magnumes if only for the chases that prove that you can do a bad acting movie with a simple thriller script, that still got some hard hitting sequences that shine overall. I can't finish without mentioning that the music is also a masterpiece in itself and it is always there at the right moment. If only Dark Sky/NoShame/Blue Underground or any other respected label will do us a favor and release a collector edition DVD, that would be fantastic!
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Overlooked 1970's Crime Classic
sol121810 October 2003
****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.
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An ultra-violent and Shakespearian "Thriller" + "Poliziotti"
Francis MOURY16 September 2004
I agree with Sol2118's commentary : the chase car is close in effectiveness with those of Friedkin and Peter Yates'titles that he mentioned, and I would add also the amazing one in THE SEVEN UP [Police pursuance 7] (USA 1973) directed by Philip d'Antoni with Roy Scheider and Tony Lo Bianco. Besides, this Shakespearian plot including a murdered T.V. as "dea/deus ex machine" is directly connected with the great tradition of Film Noir. And it is Alberto de Martino under the pen-name of Martin Herbert who have done it ! In Canada, starring an incredible cast. This is enough to understand that this movie is mixing the best of both worlds : Italian "poliziotti" thriller and U.S. thrillers, at their most violent and deep backgrounds. The bank attack is amazing regarding the art of graphic cut - editing work - of violence on the screen. The final is also extraordinary. The rhythm itself of the movie is very strange and original : quite onirical sometimes and not only because there is a "flash-back" sequence shot as a nightmare. Between 44 magnum caliber and TV gang hardboiled encounter, Stuart Whitman plays a cool & sad character, a quite tragic one since it is a brother looking for his sister's murderer and learning that his sister was not at all an Angel sister (as Lautréamont said about Man in LES CHANTS DE MALDOROR), finally unveiling the darker from the dark. And as usual, of such a little masterpiece, no VHS and no DVD available worldwide except maybe the French VHS titled BLAZING MAGNUM in spite of the fact that the movie was released in France under the exploitation title of SPECIAL MAGNUM. And I agree also with the latest comment : there was, for sure, lower show on theaters than that one when it was released ! DVD soon : please !!
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The Curse of the Curling Iron
radiobirdma17 April 2016
Until rugged cop Stuart Whitman makes full use of his Dirty Harry tool, you've got to wait until the very end of the movie. Along the way, you get your money's worth – a lineup of veteran Hollywood actors having fun poliziottesco style, a sex shop scene high on the 70s sleaze-o- meter, karate killer transvestites, Mia Farrow's sister as a blind girl, the stunning beauty of H'wood actress Gayle Hunnicutt, the admirable tits of Québécois Adjani lookalike Carole Laure, the creative use of a curling iron, plus a quite spectacular car chase in the streets of Montreal, expertly executed by legendary stunt coordinator Rémy Julienne (The Italian Job, six Bond movies, a dozen Belmondo action flicks). Of course Blazing Magnum is just a ripoff, but a highly entertaining one, in its molto-trasho-appeal unquestionably superior to each and every 70s Clint Eastwood vigilante vehicle. Gritty six stars, the seventh being for Armando Trovaioli's groovster soundtrack: That ain't Montreal, it's Funkytown.
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One of the all-time-great car chases!
Lou Rugani22 September 1999
If you as a 1970s filmmaker wanted to spike your latest release, you'd add a wild street chase with all the trimmings, all of which have since become cliches - extras jumping out of the way, close calls with baby buggies, speeding through alleys, ramming stacks of boxes, weaving around stopped buses, becoming airborne on downgrades - but 25 years ago, this was high melodrama, and including such a sequence was sure to sell tickets. And I too sat spellbound through the "Bullitt" and "The French Connection" street-action scenes. But this much-lesser-known film ranks right up there in masterful car-crash choreography. The chase scenes are absolutely stunning.....though the rest of the whodunit plot is rather ordinary, almost like a made-for-television film. (An unforgettable title, though!) If you dig the action genre, seek out "Strange Shadows in an Empty Room".
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Fun, if not too believable...
Flixer195719 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers

In one of his livelier roles, Stuart Whitman plays an enraged detective who goes to Montreal to track down his sister's killer. He tears apart half the city but nobody seems to care. John Saxon, Martin Landau, Tisa Farrow and Gayle Hunnicutt co-star. There are also several chase scenes, a nude scene, many creepy characters including a dwarf gangster, a few gory murders and a ground-up corpse in a rock crusher. In the film's arguable highlight, Whitman gets into hand-to-hand combat with a gang of drag queens. The harrowing finale takes place in a hospital. With all this, there's still time for a convoluted if not too plausible plot that holds a few surprises. Retitled in different territories to rope in various fans, this AIP release hit the Albany NY drive-ins in 1978. It may not have been a real masterpiece but there were worse ways to spend a Saturday night.
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Not-bad European action marketed as horror-thriller
Fred Sliman (fs3)19 November 2000
When this briefly played in the U.S. in 76-7, American International marketed it more in the line of a horror thriller than the shoot-em-up it leaned toward. Six capable perfomers, most of whom were accustomed to making the most out of low-budget material, appeared to varying degrees of success. DeMartino was a workmanlike director who, like most of his Italian contemporaries of the era, made his way around all of the heavily produced genres from western and superhero to crime and horror.
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Awesome, awesome, awesome!
Coventry7 June 2008
"Blazing Magnum" often gets too easily categorized as a spaghetti imitation of "Dirty Harry", its first sequel "Magnum Force" and "The French Connection" (groundbreaking hardcore American action movies of the early 70's), but this slick and unforgettable Italian exploitation product has SO much more to offer. Director Alberto De Martino, clever marketer that he was back then, does indeed cash in on the popular tough cop-thriller trend, but simultaneously his film also contains authentic Giallo story lines, which was another contemporary favored exploitation sub genre at the time. The versatility of the script is illustrated through particularly two of the numerous titles for the film. "A Special Magnum for Tony Saitta" is an archetypal "Poliziottesco" title and "Strange Shadows in an Empty Room" is a prototypic Giallo title. Both of them titles are very irrelevant, by the way, as there's nothing even remotely special about Tony Saitta's Magnum and the shadows in an empty room only refer to a minuscule sequence near the end of the film, but admittedly they sound terrific. Unorthodox Canadian copper Tony Saitti is too busy blasting bank robbers to pieces one day, and so he misses a phone call from his sister who sounded clearly upset. Later that same night, the girl – who's at least 30 years younger than Saitti for some reason – dies from poisoning during a party at her university. Tony Saitti now takes his time to devotedly investigate the case, along with his reliable colleague Sgt. Matthews. He discovers that his sister was having an affair with the prominent Dr. Tracer and holds him responsible for the murder, but the case soon proves to be more convoluted and including jewelry theft and a community of local transvestites. The story of "Blazing Magnum" could be told in barely half an hour or so, but the exciting and adrenalin-paced action interludes make the film so indescribably entertaining! Of course nobody wants to cooperate with Tony Saitti's investigation, thus all his attempts to question suspects or witnesses result in extended bare-knuckle fights and incredibly flamboyant chase sequences; either by car or on foot. It's almost hilarious to witness Tony apprehend a suspect after a 10 minute chase and having beat half of the poor guy's teeth out, only for it to end with him asking: "Have you ever seen the necklace in this photograph before?" Especially the car chase sequence deserves to be legendary, in my humble opinion. It truly feels as if Alberto De Martino and his camera crew opened a big picture book with descriptions of all possible car stunts imaginable and then simply re-enacted them one by one! Other irresistible exploitative highlights include Tony's bitter fight with a clique of transvestites and a tough confrontation in the little boy's room. There's a lovely amount of sleaze and several scenes in the film are delightfully tasteless, like for example the killer threatening to slice up a newborn baby at the hospital. The filming locations are adequate, the soundtrack is quite exhilarating and De Martino could also depend on a stellar cast. Stuart Whitman is a decent enough Clint Eastwood clone, but I particularly fancied seeing John Saxon and Martin Landau starring together in this Italian-Canadian co-production. Tisa Farrow plays a poor defenseless blind girl, just like her more famous sister Mia did in "See No Evil" a couple years earlier. Talk about exploitation and clever marketing!
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'izzyingly-paced, wildly bonkers car chase that usurps all others!'
Darkling_Zeist23 January 2014
'Blazing Magnum' is a lightning-paced, taut and brutal euro-crime/giallo with assured & bravura direction from Alberto De Martino. Set within a grim-looking Montréal, quintessentially hard-nosed and nimble-fisted cop, Tony Siatta (Stuart Whitman) and the ever-svelte, genre staple, John Saxon pursues a brutal, opportunistic killer. 'Blazing Magnum' is a truly bruising and exhilarating entry in the ever-popular euro-crime cannon, with all the gonzoid violence and hard-boiled dialogue one expects; including a profoundly exhilarating, dizzyingly-paced, wildly bonkers car chase that usurps all others! This monstrously entertaining euro-crime thriller is among the very best the genre has to offer and yields utterly essential euro-crime viewing. The deeply-funky score by that unheralded genius, Armando Trovajoli is one of the genres very best; gritty, urban crime funk that ranks alongside the very best pile-driving, gonzoid wah- wah funk, Guido & Maurizio de Angelis have to offer!
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Hard edged thriller is compelling even when it gets silly. It also has one of the best unsung chase scenes in movie history
dbborroughs4 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Stuart Whitman is a police Captain who's sister (played by Tisha Farrow who looks more like his daughter) dies under mysterious circumstances. Whitman suspects murder and begins to investigate leading him down the road to violence and unwanted revelations.

An odd mix of hardcore police action and gaillo thrillers this plays like a macho cop drama where the "hero" prefers to beat up people to get even the simplest of answers while the killer remains hidden and stalking his victims. Its so arch as to be laughable as Whitman abuses person after person in order to get at the truth. Don't get me wrong the action is really well done but its the type of thing where it seems that just saying hello is going to get someone punched in the face. Its the sort of movie they don't make any more (and only did for a brief time in the early to mid 1970's) because they almost instantly became over the top and clichéd.

Don't get me wrong this is a good little thriller. Its got a hard edge to it thats nicely violent and lurid in an entertaining way. Frankly even if the film wasn't good on its own, it possesses a chase scene about an hour into the movie that is truly amazing. Clearly they were trying to one up Bullit, French Connection or the Seven Ups. And while its not quite the nail biter of those films it is a damn fine chase scene that has been unjustly forgotten by the ages.(and yes the end of the chase is a hoot).

If there is any real problem, aside from the macho to the point of silliness, its that there seems to be only one piece of music for the film thats played over and over again in every action scene. Its so wrong for the scenes to start with, but its constant repetition just makes everything sillier (not to mention it grates on ones nerves) Worth a look if you find it in the bargain bin.
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Magnum Force.
morrison-dylan-fan22 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
April 2011:

After a family friend kindly allowed me to borrow a DVD of the Dario Argento film The Bird with the Crystal Plumage,I began to talk to him about other titles in the Giallo movie sub-genre.With also having recently heard of another movie sub- genre called Italian Crime,I was thrilled to hear that there was a movie which combined both sub- genres,which had had trouble in the UK,with the BBFC never allowing for an uncut version to come out,due to there being a scene involving a psycho holding a razor blade near a baby.


With discovering that the movie has not been brought out on DVD,I was disappointed to find that the only 2 bits of material that were around for the movie,was a leaflet about the Italian Crime sub-genre that was named after the movie,and a heavily cut,pre-cert UK Video,that was selling on some sites for outrageous amounts .

Late 2013:

Since having given up almost a year ago on ever seeing the film,I decided to search around late one night for any info related to the title.Originally expecting nothing more than some stills to appear,I was instead happily caught by surprise,when I stumbled upon an uncut DVD of the movie,which led to me excitingly getting ready to find out how blazing this magnum really is.

The plot:

Prepairing to go on a night out with his wife,Dr George Tracer's plans are interrupted,when his secret girlfriend Louise Saitta phones him up,and ask if he can rush over to her student hall to revive a student who has mysteriously fainted.

Changing his plans at the last minute,George rushes to the hall,gets Louise a drink to help calm her nerves,and then begins to attempting to revive the student.Catching everyone by surprise,the "ill" student suddenly jumps up,and reveals that she was just playing some fun and games.As Tracer tries to make sense of what is taking place,Saitta suddenly becomes extremely ill and falls to the ground,dead.

Ringing up the cops,George is greeted by the sight of Sgt Ned Matthew,and Louise's brother,Capt.Tony Saitta.Finding Louise to have been poisoned,Tony & Ned push Tracer around to find out why he would want to poison her.Relising that George is as shaken up by Louise death as he is,Tony vows to take what ever steps necessary to uncover the less than innocent world that his beloved sister lived in.

View on the film:

Being one of the few Italian movies from the period to feature an original soundtrack, (until the late 80s,most Italian titles were filmed silent,with the audio dubbed on in post-production)the screenplay by Vincenzo Mannino and Gianfranco Clerici has an eerie Giallo edge which acts as the perfect complement to the more bombastic Italian Crime side of the film,with the writer's using a character's blindness to create a real sense of menace,and to also reveal that the blind character is the only person who's "seen" the real life of Tony Saitta's sister.

Jumping off from a cliff right from the start,the writers make the Italian Crime side of the movie as delightfully deranged as possible,with Tony's attempts at tracking down his sister,being interrupted by a wonderfully vicious fight against a gang of transvestites,and a wild car chase,which leads to him getting the bare ,minimu of evidence!

Kicking down doors right from the start,Stuart Whitman gives a great gruff performance as Tony Saitta,with Whitman making Tony's relationship with Louise (played by the pretty Carole Laure) feel more dad/daughter,than the brother/sister one that its made out to be.Along with showing a gruffness in the hunt for his sisters killer,Whitman shows a real glee in his eyes,as he jumps into each of the overly exaggerated action scenes with a real relish.Giving the movie some sense of calm,Martin Landau gives a softly spoken,quiet performance as George Tracer,with Landau creating a real sense of intimacy between Tracer and Louise.

Showing no fear in not just taking on 1,but 2 sub-genre's,director Alberto De Martino packs every corner of the film with a number of stunning set-pieces,as Martino goes from smashing every piece of glass in Tony's battle with a gang of deadly transvestites,to placing a brilliantly animated 10 minute (!) long car chase scene at the centre,as Martino reveals that he is going to send this film out,all guns blazing.
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Ultimately successful combination of action and mystery
gridoon201811 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The first 30 or so minutes of "Shadows In An Empty Room" (or whichever title you see it under!) are nothing special, and with a tired-looking Stuart Whitman in the lead, I was preparing myself to give this a middling-to-negative review. Luckily, it finds its footing after a while (as bizarre as it sounds, the turning point is probably Whitman's fight with a bunch of transvestites!), and it ends up as an overall success. The second half contains a very long, expertly done car chase (supervised by the veteran at this sort of thing Remy Julienne) which, if this movie was better known, would be regarded as a classic on a par with "Bullitt", as well as a fun foot chase in a subway station. Whitman may look tired in this movie, but he's alert enough for the action scenes. The mystery plot also picks up its pace, as it heads towards its twisted and downbeat resolution which cleverly fools the viewer, especially by showing how a seemingly innocent victim was not so innocent after all. There are also some tense, giallo-like scenes, mostly involving a blind woman, terrifically played by Mia Farrow's lovely sister, Tisa. Just stick with the film through its mediocre first half-hour, and you will be rewarded. *** out of 4.
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Watchable Dirty Harry Clone
Buck Aroo6 May 2003
Unlike a lot of the low budget fare made around the mid to late '70s, it still holds up pretty well to repeated viewings. This isn't a fantastic movie, but it is at least watchable and features a cast that can actually act. The inimitable John Saxon, star of many a western Stuart Whitman, and even Martin Landau (Post 'Space 1999' I think) make their appearences, supported by the likes of Tisa Farrow (Mia's sister) and TV queen Gail Hunnicut (Where is she these days?). One great element of this film is the execellent music composed by Armando Trovajoli. At times, he has included themes which are a combination of classical music, along with synthesizer riffs. And the heavy bass line help to hieghten tension during the scary scenes. As someone has mentioned before, this is a mix of genres from the Italian giallo, to the usual US cop thriller. But it all seems to work well.

Methinks the over-rated Dario Argento could learn a lot from a film such as this!
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Pretty stupid, but not dull for one second.
lazarillo23 March 2007
This is another interesting Italian flick that, like Sergio Martino's "Suspicious Death of a Minor", tried to pass itself off as both a giallo (under the title "Strange Shadows in an Empty Room")and as a crime thriller (under the title "Blazing Magnums"), although this one clearly falls into the latter category. But it is also interesting because, unlike most Italian films, it was shot with syncronized sound (and a bigger budget than usual), mostly on location in Canada with mostly Canadian and American actors.

Stuart Whitman plays a cop who definitely does not go "by the book"--in fact I don't think he has ever even heard of "the book". After his sister is murdered in a bizarre poisoning at her college, Whitman (who is WAY too old to have a college-age sister) runs hilariously amok trying to capture the culprits. He brutalizes one suspect in a men's room (who turns out to be completely innocent). He endangers other motorists and pedestrians everywhere in a VERY long, very high speed car chase. And in my favorite scene he gets in a knock-down-drag-out brawl with a bunch of transvestites! The killer meanwhile is even more vicious, at one point even menacing newborn babies in a maternity ward with a gun and straight razor!

Obviously this movie is stupid, but it isn't dull for one second. It features the beautiful French-Canadian actress Carol Laure (who has a completely gratuitous, but highly enjoyable nude scene). On the downside though, it also has Tisa "the-much-less-talented-sister-of-Mia" Farrow playing a blind girl, the same role her sister played in a number of movies ("Wait Until Dark", "See No Evil"), thus leading me to believe they were just trying to exploit a famous name as both the actress and the character she plays are pretty useless (except for one wonderful moment when it looks like her character is going to accidentally stumble out a third-story window). Ms. Farrow notwithstanding though, I would highly recommend this movie.
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Blazing Magnum
Movie Junkie2 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
In dark reaches of back rooms where people like me who still own functioning beta tape players lurk , arose a conversation over car chase sequences in action films. Of course this gem was talked on. Having been sober enough to remember it and having found it On a format other than beta I screened it.

So in the midst of foiling an armed robbery our hero police captain Is unaware of a looming tragedy , namely the death of his sister. The police duo including the captain's partner (Jon Saxon) first suspect that the communities beloved doctor (Martin Landau) is to blame.

Things are not what they seem. We follow a predictable plot line that was well thought out And discover the real story behind the captain's sister.

Average thriller. Clearly a french Canadian stylized dirty harry. A little more wit a little less .44 . The big win is of course as eluded the car chase , which when one discovers was the product of Remy Julienne and his crack driving team should be of no surprise.
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I remember that there was a good car chase sequence.
jazzyjase25 January 2008
This movie was broadcast on TV in the UK sometime during the mid 80's under the title of "Blazing Magnum". I was a very young teenager at the time and recorded it onto good old fashioned VHS (probably because it was on too late for me to watch). I watched it at least a dozen times over a couple of years and it was still on tape until my parents parted and my stepfather took all the tapes as part of the divorce. I always wished I could have got that tape back (among others), as this movie has never been shown on TV since. I really enjoyed it at the time because I didn't really watch a lot of movies. I seem to remember that it was filmed in a similar way to the Dirty Harry films, which my stepfather and I enjoyed together and this was probably why I found it appealing. I think it should be released on some format as there are actually a few well known(ish) actors in this movie. It has been thirty years, after all.
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Lots of action, not much else
Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki29 February 2012
A middle-aged Canadian policeman chases clues and leads, beats various people (including a group of transvestites!) and, in the film's most memorable scene, instigates a 20-minutes long car chase through Montrael whilst attempting to solve the sudden and mysterious death of his kid sister at a party she was attending. Plenty of action to hold the audience's attention, but it gets a bit too violent at times, Stuart Whitman was too old to play this Dirty Harry-wannabe character, and the plot is unconvincing in its resolution (She was into transvestites and was killed over a plastic necklace?) A bit of a sense of humour would have helped the film also, as Whitman's character is too unlikeable to elicit any sympathy.
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As over the top as an Italian rip-off can be!
The_Void26 August 2008
Italian filmmakers are famous for ripping off successful American films; but with this film director Alberto De Martino has taken it to a whole new level; as he's collected just about everything that made films such as Dirty Harry successful and mashed it all together in this action packed and over the top cop flick. Most of the Italian Polizi flicks have things that were clearly taken from American films; but usually they retain a sense of the Italian style. This is not the case here; the film is Italian, but you can actually believe that it's an American film, and it was clearly made to appeal to American audience. As the title suggests, the film focuses on Tony Saitta; the type of hard nosed cop that will punch you in the face and smash your car up before even thinking about asking any questions. The plot kicks off properly when Saitta's sister (who is a good twenty years his junior) dies in mysterious circumstances. The cop then sets out to find out who did it; by forsaking the usual police methods. After following the clues...he eventually gets close to the killer.

Despite taking influence from such great films, this one is a long way from being brilliant itself; but it is at least great fun. The way that the central characters jumps in with both feet at every opportunity is great, and seeing him brutalise suspects at the drop of a hat does ensures that the film doesn't become boring on many occasions. Alberto De Martino is backed up by a good cast; with Stuart Whitman in the lead role and receiving good support from cult star John Saxon as well as the A-lister Martin Landau. This film is not very seen; but anyone who does see it will undoubtedly remember the car chase, which is peppered with clichés but is at least really well done; not least for the fact that it all comes off as the result of a minor piece of plot development! The film also borrows from other genres; with the Giallo genre creeping in during some scenes. It soon becomes clear that the film is not going to deliver anything meaningful by the ending but the climax does at least wrap things up nicely and while this is not a great film on the whole; it is lots of fun and well worth a look.
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Cool Stuart Whitman Crime Thriller
zardoz-1329 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"Crime Boss" director Alberto De Martino's "Shadows in an Empty Room" qualifies as a good crime thriller with gratuitous violence about a .44 magnum revolver wielding Ottawa cop searching for the dastard who murdered his sister. Stuart Whitman plays the tough-as-Teflon policeman, Captain Tony Saitta, who is dead certain that an evil physician is responsible for shooting up his sister up with poison. It doesn't help matters that the physician had a sexual relationship with the cop's sister. John Saxon co-stars as Sergeant Ned Matthews. The more that Tony investigates the case, the more that he finds that he has a hard time believing. Martino does a good job of orchestrating the senseless violence that looks good. "Violent Naples" scenarist Vicenza Manning and "Cannibal Holocaust" scribe Gianfranco Cleric have cobbled together an exciting but overwrought shoot'em up with an above-average mystery. The basic problem with this standard-issue actioneer is some of the violence. Our Police Captain doesn't identify himself when he visits a trio of pugnacious transvestites and a walloping fight ensues. Interesting things to spot in "Shadows in an Empty Room" are the careening car chase and a last-minute finale. Stuart Whitman makes a good police officer. There is even a little frontal female nudity which was a prerequisite in 1970s' movies. "Shadows in an Empty Room" ranks as one of Stuart Whitman's later but better efforts.
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Outrageous plot contrivances between a few memorable scenes ......
merklekranz26 April 2012
"Strange Shadows in an Empty Room" is not a good film. It is an outrageous murder mystery with some totally unbelievable plot contrivances. The flimsy, almost incomprehensible story is held together by a few memorable scenes, including one of the best and longest car chases ever. Stuart Whitman is investigating the murder of his sister, while being aided by fellow policeman, John Saxon. Martin Landau plays the prime suspect. This film throws almost every oddity imaginable at the audience. If you are into sex toy shops, transvestite fist fights, and newborns being threatened with a knife, this is your movie. Unfortunately you also better be into lousy music, because the pounding piano and elevator tunes are an almost constant annoyance. - MERK
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