An Italian policeman investigates a series of murders involving people in prominent positions. Left behind at each murder scene is a drawing of a salamander. The policeman begins to suspect... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Bruno Manzini
...
Captain Steffanelli
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Lili Anders
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Prince Baldasar, the Director of Counterintelligence
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Major Carl Malinowski, USMC
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The Surgeon (as Paul Smith)
John Steiner ...
Captain Roditi
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Elena Leporello
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General Leporello
Renzo Palmer ...
Carabinieri Major Giorgione
Anita Strindberg ...
Princess Faubiani
Marino Masé ...
Captain Rigoli
Jacques Herlin ...
Woodpecker
Fortunato Arena ...
General Pantaleone
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Storyline

An Italian policeman investigates a series of murders involving people in prominent positions. Left behind at each murder scene is a drawing of a salamander. The policeman begins to suspect these murders are linked to a plot to seize control of the government. Written by dinky-4 of Minneapolis

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Thriller

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Release Date:

23 May 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La salamandra  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was filmed during the actors strike of 1980. See more »

Connections

Referenced in O aftakias (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE SALAMANDER (Peter Zinner, 1981) **1/2
25 March 2009 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Peter Zinner won an Oscar for editing THE DEER HUNTER (1978); for his only directorial effort, he chose this adaptation of the Morris West best-seller which was shown on local TV back in the day (actually, that is how I first heard of it). He did manage to assemble an impressive all-star cast: Franco Nero plays the hero carabiniere in a throwback to some of the political thrillers he had made in his native country – such as DAY OF THE OWL (1968), in which he co-starred with Claudia Cardinale, and CONFESSIONS OF A POLICE CAPTAIN (1971), also featuring Martin Balsam; both actors also appear here, the latter as Nero's closest collaborator who eventually falls in the line of duty. Anthony Quinn is the titular figure (a wealthy industrialist and ex-legendary WWII partisan), Sybil Danning the mistress of a dead army officer (whose apparent suicide sets events in motion) but also serving as Nero's unconvincing love interest, Eli Wallach the General leading a proposed coup d'etat, Christopher Lee as Nero's superior (actually a prince[!] who is unsurprisingly inextricably related with the Government takeover plot – interestingly, his on-screen wife was played by Lee's own real-life spouse in an infrequent appearance), Cleavon Little as a Black American ex-colleague of Nero's (whom the latter calls upon when he is in a fix) and Paul Smith (as a sadistic "surgeon"). There are, however, also a number of Euro-Cult regulars: John Steiner in the role of Wallach's aide as well as lover of his neglected wife Cardinale, Renzo Palmer, Marino Mase' – unenviably playing a corpse! – and Nello Pazzafini. While tolerable as entertainment (though there is less action than I had anticipated) and featuring a decent score by the great Ennio Morricone, the film is ultimately too superficial and uneven to make a ripple in the circles it professes to denounce; nevertheless, the clever climax is surprisingly (but effectively) handled in the style of the "Thin Man" movies! Besides, one particular scene nearly turns this into a camp classic i.e. when the hero, caught and about to be tortured by Smith, attacks the latter clad only in a harness along his waist (which gives unwarranted prominence to Nero's groin while leaving his buttocks completely exposed!) but ends up slammed against the wall hanging upside-down instead!!


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