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The Salamander (1981)

R | | Thriller | 23 May 1983 (USA)
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 »

Director:

Peter Zinner

Writers:

Robert Katz (screenplay), Rod Serling (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Franco Nero ... Carabinieri Colonel Dante Matucci
Anthony Quinn ... Bruno Manzini
Martin Balsam ... Captain Steffanelli
Sybil Danning ... Lili Anders
Christopher Lee ... Prince Baldasar, the Director of Counterintelligence
Cleavon Little ... Major Carl Malinowski, USMC
Paul L. Smith ... The Surgeon (as Paul Smith)
John Steiner ... Captain Roditi
Claudia Cardinale ... Elena Leporello
Eli Wallach ... General Leporello
Renzo Palmer Renzo Palmer ... Carabinieri Major Giorgione
Anita Strindberg ... Princess Faubiani
Marino Masé ... Captain Rigoli
Jacques Herlin ... Woodpecker
Fortunato Arena 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA | Italy | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 May 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La salamandra See more »

Filming Locations:

Rome, Lazio, Italy

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Peter Zinner won an Oscar for his editing on The Deer Hunter (1978). 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 Bunuel1976See 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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