"Salamander" ( English The Salamander , ital. La salamandra ) - a film in the genre of political thriller directed by Peter Zinner , released in 1981 .
|Robert Katz |
Morris West (novel)
|In the main|
|Anthony Quinn |
|A country|| Italy |
This debut film by Zinner is based on the eponymous bestseller of 1973 by the popular thriller author Morris West . The film tells about the investigation into the murder of the head of the headquarters of the Italian army, which is led by the colonel of the Italian counterintelligence Dante Matucci ( Franco Nero ). As Dante reveals new facts indicating that a neo-fascist conspiracy was being prepared in the country, the number of victims among the people involved in the investigation is increasing. In the end, with the help of an influential industrialist and war hero known under the pseudonym Salamander ( Anthony Quinn ), Dante succeeds in finding and exposing the perpetrators of the crimes, and also in preventing a conspiracy to overthrow the country's government.
The film premiered in the UK in 1981. The premiere of the film in the United States took place on May 23, 1983  .
In Italy, the headquarters of the headquarters of the Italian army, General Pantaleone, was shot in his office. A visiting card with a picture of a salamander was found on his desk. Although according to the official version, the general died of natural causes in his bed, in fact, he fell victim to a conspiracy. At the funeral of the General’s funeral in the Roman Pantheon are influential political and military figures of the country, among them General Leporello ( Eli Wallach ) and his wife Elena ( Claudia Cardinale ), director of counterintelligence, Prince Baldasar ( Christopher Lee ), Vice-Consul of Poland in Milan Woodpecker ( Jacques Erlen ), a good friend, lover General Anders Lily ( Sybil Dunning ), "obscene rich" manufacturer Bruno Mancini ( Anthony Quinn ) which is "charming embodiment Caesar Borgia and Machiavelli " in one person, and e Colonel counterintelligence Dante Matuchchi ( Franco Nero ).
Dante, together with his colleague and his best friend, experienced captain Steffanelli ( Martin Bolsam ), begins an investigation into the murder of Pantaleone, whose papers after the murder turned out to be with his lawyer Giovanni Bandanelli. Dante meets first with Lily Anders, and then with Woodpecker, finding out that they are Polish spies who spy on Pantaleone, Leporello and other high-profile supporters of neo-fascism . During a meeting with Leporello at one of the secret bases for training militants, Dante informs him that Pantaleone’s documents indicating his involvement in neo-fascist activities are now in the office of the killed general’s lawyer. When Dante and Steffanelli come to the office of Bandanelli, they discover that the lawyer, as well as the counterintelligence officer who worked on the papers of Pantaleone, had just been strangled, and all the documents from the safe were stolen. Dante reports on the progress of the investigation to his boss, Prince Baldasar, pushing the version that the papers of Pantaleone were abducted by Leporello, as Dante told him about where they are. By warning Dante that "those who are our enemies today may be friends tomorrow," Baldasar instructs him to continue the investigation.
Dante meets with Manzini, who during the war under the pseudonym Salamander was a legendary fighter against Nazism and fascism, and, according to some information, was involved in the physical elimination of some major Nazi criminals after the war. Manzini, who is Pantaleone’s stepbrother, claims that the General’s papers contain a plan for a coup d'état in Italy. In the counterintelligence building, Dante becomes a casual witness to how “a professional executioner with sadistic inclinations Surgeon” ( Paul Smith ) cruelly tortures Woodpecker, and then throws him out the window. The next day, at a reception at the Chinese embassy, Dante tells Lily about the tragic death of her boss and countryman. That evening, at dinner, a romantic relationship arises between them, and they spend the night together. The next morning, the unknown block the street and open fire on Dante and Lily. They manage to escape from the environment and in the course of the chase through the streets of Rome to escape from their pursuers. Lily reports that the second part of the Pantaleone papers is stored in a cache in his country villa on the island of Ponza .
With the help of his friend, the American NATO Marine Corps Officer, Major Karl Malinowski ( Cliveon Little ), Dante and Lily reach the island of Ponza, where Lily retrieves a secret document capsule from the cache. At this moment they are surrounded by an armed detachment led by Assistant Leporello, Captain Roditi ( John Steiner ), but when Malinovsky opens a warning fire, the captain lets Dante and Lily leave. On the way from Dante Island, the papers of Pantaleone, which contain a detailed plan for a coup d’état, are examined. Dante delivers the paper to Baldasar, who praises Dante for the work done, picks up the paper and effectively removes him from further business, making it clear that if he and Lily do not fly to Zurich today, they will be killed.
Dante is forced to obey, and together with Lily goes to Switzerland, where two days later Manzini invites them to his villa. Dante asks the industrialist for advice on how to prevent a coup and at the same time stay alive. Manzini asks Dante to prepare a detailed report on the investigation, and then, as an employee of his company, he will send him to Italy to continue the investigation of the neo-fascist conspiracy. After a trip to Rome, Manzini reports that Leporello held a secret meeting with Baltasar, to which he was invited, and moreover, he agreed to become a member of their club. The next day, Dante flies to Italy, leaving Lily in Switzerland.
In the Milan Cathedral, Dante secretly meets with Major Giorgione ( Renzo Palmer ), according to whom, Leporello already controls the army, placing his people everywhere, and his assistant Roditi is creating underground commando groups. In the evening, Giorgione gives Dante a dossier on Leporello and his subordinates, "which should begin to operate in 24 hours." The next day, when Steffanelli is waiting for Giorgione to return his documents to him, unknown people kidnap him in front of Dante. Dante immediately goes to Leporello, offering a deal to the general: if he lets go of Giorgione and Steffanelli, then Dante stops his investigation and leaves Manzini. However, it turns out that Stefannelli was killed, and before his death he was tortured.
Under the threat of a weapon, Dante makes Roditi confess that Helen Leporello had been his lover for six years, and he was the father of her children. The general himself is only interested in young girls, while the captain provides him with protection during these meetings. For his own insurance, Roditi made notes and photographs of Leporello's dates, which are kept in the bank. At the request of Dante, they are sent to the bank, but when Roditi gets into his car and turns the ignition key, an explosion occurs.
Eight hours later, a warrant is issued for the arrest of Dante on charges of killing Roditi. Meanwhile, Dante arrives in Venice to meet with Elena. In a cafe on St. Mark’s Square, he hands her a record of his last conversation with Roditi. Elena says that the situation has changed, and now she wants to be with her husband. When she leaves, eight men surround Dante. Then the surgeon tortures him long and hard. At some point, armed people of Manzini appear in the torture room, who kill the Surgeon and take Dante away. After some time, Dante comes to his senses at Villa Manzini, who has already removed all Rodity's documents from the bank and found out the exact date of the coup - after three weeks, "when everyone who should be arrested, will return from holidays."
A few days later, in one of his palaces, Manzini holds a smart reception, where the defense minister, the Italian aristocracy, famous politicians, high-ranking officials and representatives of the business world are invited. He asks the guests to go to the auditorium, where he shows a film in which Dante with facts in his hands exposes a neo-fascist conspiracy and those who stand behind him. He claims that the murders of Pantaleone, lawyer Bandinelli and Captain Rigoli were committed on the orders of General Leporello. In the papers of Pantaleone, a plan of a military coup was found, which should take place in eight days. In addition, a secret Polish agent and Captain Steffanelli, who was tortured before his death, were killed, and Major Giorgione lost his mind after the torture. Roditi is also killed by a general because he knew too much. All these people were destroyed because they interfered with Leporello’s plans to lead the state. However, according to the owls of Dante, he would not have taken power, but Prince Baldasar, who organized the death of Pantaleone and the promotion of Leporello. After these words, Dante appears in the hall and, with the consent of the Minister of Defense, arrests Leporello and Baldasar.
Soon, Manzini informs Dante that he will be appointed new director of counterintelligence services. During a meeting with Lily, Dante lets her know that she will not be allowed to live in Italy, since she was a foreign spy. She replies that she loves him and, before parting, leaves him his address in Geneva .
Film makers and leading actors
This film was the first and only directorial work of Peter Zinner , "one of the most revered Hollywood film editors, " who gained recognition through working on films such as The Godfather (1972; he was awarded an Oscar nomination for this film) and " The Godfather 2 ”(1974),“ The Star was Born ”(1976),“ The Deer Hunter ”(1978, Oscar for Best Installation) and“ The Officer and Gentleman ”(1982, Oscar nomination)   .
Italian actor Franco Nero played leading roles in crime thrillers and dramas Damiano Damiani “ Owl 's Day ” (1968, with Claudia Cardinale ), “ Confession of a police commissioner to the republic's prosecutor ” (1971, with Martin Bolsam ), “ The investigation is over: forget ” (1971) and “ Why Judges Are Killed ” (1974, from Cardinale), and also “ Police Act Acts ” (1973) and “ Cobra Day ” (1980, from Dunning ) by director Enzo Castellari and “ Corruption in the Palace of Justice ” (1975) [4 ] .
The famous Hollywood actor Anthony Quinn was twice awarded the Oscar for supporting roles in the films “ Viva Zapata! ”(1952) and“ Thirst for Life ”(1956), and was twice nominated for an Oscar for the main roles in the films“ Wild Wind ”(1957) and“ The Greek Zorba ”(1964)  . He is also known for his lead roles in Federico Fellini ’s film “ The Road ” (1954), for a series of dramas that are active in the Middle East , such as “ Lawrence of Arabia ” (1962), “ Mohammed is a messenger of God ” (1976) and “ Leo of the Desert "(1980), as well as the criminal comedy" Bluff "(1976) with Adriano Celentano  .
American actor Martin Bolsam won an Oscar for a supporting role in the film “ A Thousand Clowns ” (1965)  . He is also known for supporting roles in such significant films as “ In the Port ” (1954), “ 12 Angry Men ” (1957), “ Psycho ” (1960), “ Breakfast at Tiffany’s ” (1961), “ Seven Days in May ”(1964) and“ All Presidential Host ”(1976)  . English actor Christopher Lee at that time was best known for playing the main roles in horror films of the Hammer studio , such as The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula (1958), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) and Exit the Devil "(1968), as well as an antihero in the James Bond film " The Man with the Golden Gun "(1974). In the 2000s, he is most remembered as the performer of the role of Saruman in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003), as well as the role of Count Dooku in Star Wars episodes Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith ( 2005)  . Claudia Cardinale is best known for the films Lucino Visconti “ Rocco and his brothers ” (1960), “The Leopard ” (1963), “The Foggy Stars of the Big Dipper ” (1965) and “The Family Portrait in the Interior ” (1974), as well as for the films " Eight and a half " (1963) Fellini, " Once Upon a Time in the Wild West " (1968) by Leone and Fitzcarraldo (1982) by Herzog  .
The film was made in the genre of political thriller , which was extremely popular in Italy in the 1970s. This genre includes, in particular, Damiano Damiani ’s films “ Recognition of the Police Commissioner to the Republic Prosecutor ” (1971), “ The Investigation Is Over, Forget ” (1971) and “ I Am Afraid ” (1977), films by Francesco Rosi “ Mattei Deed ” (1972) and “ Glorious corpses ” (1976), as well as such paintings as “ On the first page murder ” (1972) of Marco Belokko and “ The Last Shot ” (1975) of Sergio Martino .
Movie evaluation by criticism
Overall film score
Despite the star cast, the film went almost unnoticed by both specialists and the audience. The main drawback of the film, in the general opinion of the critics, was Zinner’s poor directorial work and the unsuccessful casting of actors for certain roles. As Adam Arseno wrote, “this is one of those long-forgotten films languishing in obscurity, which only actors remember who were filmed in it, and even that, very dimly”  .
After the US premiere of the film in 1983, film critic Vincent Canby in the New York Times called him “a comatose melodrama about a neo-fascist plot to seize the Italian government,” noting that “although the film was made in Italy, it is so devoid of character , nationality and individuality, that he could have been made on the Isle of Wight . ” Canby summarizes his opinion with the words that for Peter Zinner this film “is unlikely to be a matter of pride, however, as for anyone else”  .
Later, Adam Arseno wrote that the film "contains all the components of a thriller for all times." In particular, he "has a stellar cast, including Christopher Lee , Anthony Quinn and Franco Nero , setting completed film editing Oscar-winning superstar Peter Zinner , music was written by the prolific Jerry Goldsmith , is based on in roman- bestseller Morris West , and arranged for the movie performed King film adaptations Rod Sterling ... Plus it contains car chases on the amazing streets of Rome to boot. " Кроме того, в фильме есть «потрясающие натурные съёмки в Италии и Швейцарии и достаточно увлекательный сценарий», а в качестве «петляющего и сложного шпионского триллера „Саламандра“ закрутит Вас как тетербол , когда вы будете пытаться уследить за хитрыми сюжетными поворотами, заговорами и переворотами». То есть, по мнению Аресено, «в теории, фильм имеет всё, что необходимо», и, «по всем понятиям, должен быть классикой», но «о нём почти никто не слышал». Далее Арсено отмечает, что в фильме есть основа для «острого, построенного вокруг политической интриги, хорошо сыгранного шпионского шедевра, и всё-таки фильм умудряется загасить собственное пламя ещё до того, как даёт возможность ему ярко разгореться». В итоге получается всего лишь очередной « шпионский фильм категории В начала 1980-х годов»  .
Кэнби отмечает, что «сценарий Роберта Катца по роману Морриса Уэста, к сожалению, очевиден во многом потому, что всё в фильме по большей части рассказывается словами, а не передаётся с помощью драматических образов»  . Киновед Элинор Манникка также обращает внимание на то, что «большая часть драмы (но не вся) остаётся за кадром, а Матуччи по существу рассказывает словами всю историю — что делает этот фильм одной из самых неинтересных шпионских драм. Даже роман между Матуччи и Андерс на несколько градусов холоднее, чем норма». Далее Манникка пишет: «Фильм по инерции движется к финалу, когда в развязке всех подозреваемых загоняют в одну комнату (а-ля Агата Кристи или Дэшилл Хэмметт ), в которой Матуччи и Манцини объясняют всем суть дела»  .
У Арсено сложилось впечатление, что «как это часто бывает с хорошими шпионскими триллерами, от переноса книги на экран пропало многое из содержащихся в ней гневных обличений и сложных вопросов». Критик считает, что «в попытке остаться верным исходному материалу, фильм, кажется, жертвует темпом повествования». Он сравнивает фильм с «неуправляемыми американскими горками», которые «чередуют скуку и безумное буйство, ускоряясь и замедляясь без каких-либо переходов». В частности, «в течение первых десяти минут зрителя бросает по самую шею в политические интриги, тайны, заговоры и шпионаж, и когда, наконец, удаётся перехватить дыхание, темп фильма замедляется и фактически замирает. Так идёт и дальше вплоть до кульминации и драматически напряжённой развязки». К сожалению, по словам Арсено, запоминаются скорее «неприятное замедление темпа и неопределённость фильма, а не его напряжённые моменты». «И поразительно, что вместо того, чтобы просто разыгрывать события, главный герой в буквальном смысле рассказывает фильм от первого лица, пытаясь таким образом сгладить несовместимые куски или те непонятные моменты, которые возникли после удаления больших фрагментов оригинальной истории». Это, по мнению Арсено, «слишком дешёвый способ выйти из положения»  .
Оценка актёрской игры
На фоне режиссёрских промахов актёрская игра не привлекла к себе особого внимания. Кэнби иронически замечает, что Неро приходится иметь дело с такими «итальянцами», как Илай Уоллак , Энтони Куинн , Мартин Болсам и Кристофер Ли . Что же касается актрис, то « Клаудиа Кардинале выглядит холодно и бледно, прохаживаясь несколько раз в красивых одеждах, а Сибил Даннинг играет крайне маловероятную роль польского агента»  . Арсено же считает, что «в то время, как игра Неро, Ли и Куинна высшего уровня, остальные актёры довольно ходульны»  .
- The Salamander (1981). Release Info (англ.) . International Movie Database. Дата обращения 29 апреля 2016.
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- Highest Rated Crime Feature Film Titles With Franco Nero (англ.) . International Movie Database. Дата обращения 29 апреля 2016.
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- Martin Balsam. Awards (англ.) . International Movie Database. Дата обращения 29 апреля 2016.
- Highest Rated Feature Film Titles With Martin Balsam (англ.) . International Movie Database. Дата обращения 29 апреля 2016.
- Highest Rated Feature Film Titles With Christopher Lee (англ.) . International Movie Database. Дата обращения 29 апреля 2016.
- Highest Rated Feature Film Titles With Claudia Cardinale (англ.) . International Movie Database. Дата обращения 29 апреля 2016.
- Adam Arseneau. The Salamander (англ.) . DVDVerdict (26 November 2004). Дата обращения 29 апреля 2016.
- Eleanor Mannikka. The Salamander. Synopsis (англ.) . AllMovie. Дата обращения 29 апреля 2016.