The Salamander



Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 40%
IMDb Rating 5.6 10 866

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN



Martin Balsam as Captain Steffanelli
Paul L. Smith as The Surgeon
Cleavon Little as Major Carl Malinowski, USMC
Sybil Danning as Lili Anders

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gridoon 4 / 10

Far below what you'd expect from this cast

How did it go so wrong? How can a film with such an impressive cast (Franco Nero, Christopher Lee, Eli Wallach, Sybil Danning, Claudia Cardinale, Martin Balsam, Paul Smith - the torturer in "Midnight Express" - as, you guessed it, a torturer, etc.) and such colorful location filming around Italy (Rome, Milan, Venice, etc.) be such a bore? Probably because the story is slow-moving and unengaging, and has no real climax. Another obstacle for the viewer is the difficulty to buy people like Lee and Balsam as Italians. Nero is always likable, and Danning is stunning (even if she's in completely "unrevealing" mode here), but these two are barely enough to keep you focused on what was excellently described by another reviewer as "a political thriller without thrills". (*1/2)

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 6 / 10

A great cast and beautiful scenery

THE SALAMANDER is one of those films with a gob-smacking cast and wealth of talent both in front of and behind the scenes. It's based on a classic thriller novel by Morris West and adapted by TWILIGHT ZONE creator Rod Serling; it's directed by an experienced film editor, Peter Zinner, who ensures that his editing here is crisp and perfect, and it has both British and American backing, although it's an Italian film, shot in Italy with an Italian supporting cast. But what of the main cast! Remember those glory days of disaster films in the '70s, where an all-star cast was a guarantee of big audiences? Where the film poster could hardly manage to fit all those Hollywood names in? Well, that's what we have here, although THE SALAMANDER eventually succumbs to the same fate as those other movies: there are so many players and familiar faces that only a few of them get a substantial role and the rest are just window dressing.

Heading the cast is Franco Nero, playing a crusading investigator. His appearance immediately puts this film in line with the popular '70s polizia, or crime, flicks that packed out Italian cinemas in that decade. There's a requisite number of decently-done car chases and short action sequences, but this isn't really an action film, it's more of a mystery. It's the static nature of the plot that works against it and stops it from being fully entertaining. Essentially, the film has Nero questioning one character after another in a series of long-winded interviews, only to bring everyone together at the climax to reveal the villain(s). It's like something out of an Agatha Christie novel, and despite efforts from the film-makers to throw in MARATHON MAN-style torture scenes and assassins bumping off key players, it's a completely linear movie. Saying that I still enjoyed it, thanks to the great camera-work and performances.

Supporting the ever-great Nero is Martin Balsam, here teaming up with the star again after CONFESSIONS OF A POLICE CAPTAIN. These two actors make for a great double act and they shine whenever they're on screen together – it just seems so natural. Glamour is brought to the proceedings by Claudia Cardinale and Anita Strindberg, although these two accomplished actresses barely get a look in – the main glamour girl is Sybil Danning, playing Nero's love interest. For once Danning doesn't go nude for the role, which ends up being one of her best in terms of acting. The main cast heavyweight is Anthony Quinn, and he acts everyone off the screen in a great role. Elsewhere we get villains essayed by Christopher Lee – who can do this kind of thing in his sleep – and Eli Wallach, who still seems too likable to be believable in his role. There are cameos for Paul Smith, typecast as a torturer, and Cleavon Little, who shows up to fire off a machine gun and then goes again! Italian regulars like John Steiner and Renzo Palmer help flesh out minor parts. THE SALAMANDER is far from great, but if you like the look of the cast and you enjoy beautiful scenery, you'll have a ball like I did.

Reviewed by Strider-100 5 / 10

Great cast, dull movie

THE SALAMANDER had so much potential, especially with an all star cast of supporting actors like Anthony Quinn, Martin Balsam, Eli Wallach, Christopher Lee, Cleavon Little, Paul Smith, and Claudia Cardinale. The leads were Franco Nero, who had such a strong Italian accent that his English was hard to understand and Sybil Danning, who played her character with the personality of a roof shingle who was always dressed like a nun or the wife of the Quaker Oats guy so she was playing against type and her persona. She was suppose to be a spy and the mistress of the assassinated General but the conservative and bland way she was dressed indicated to me that he might just have committed suicide.......On the DVD extra's one of the men associated with the film referred to Sybil with this disrespectful comment, " " which I found shocking because there was no cleavage displayed at all with that Puritan wardrobe in the movie. There is very little action in the film, basically one car chase and then the torture scene which turned out more like comedy then anything else where Paul Smith was to torture Franco Nero to get information and what made it funny is it turned out to look like Franco Nero was torturing Paul Smith by sexually assaulting him hanging on his back with Paul Smith screaming and Nero with his bare arse hanging out of his jock strap. The scene was so absurd and ludicrous that it came off as comical rather then scary. The best acting was done by Martin Balsam who played Nero's father figure like partner, who gets killed midway so you lose the most interesting character in the film. Anthony Quinn was 2nd to Balsam in performance and he made the most of the material he worked with. Cleavon Little has a small part and did a great job but you wonder why he was not given more and the most disappointing part of the film were the two villains, Eli Wallach and Christopher Lee who barely had any screen time and just a few lines. They just weren't utilized and neither was Claudia Cardinale who was so stunning in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST but had the same wardrobe designer as Sybil so she looked like an Amish farmer or Quaker Oats girl with maybe two lines of dialog. It was not the worst film, it just did not live up to its potential

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