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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Salamander aka "La salamandra" [Blu-ray]


(Peter Zinner, 1981)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

Video: Scorpion Releasing



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:41:25.120 

Disc Size: 24,479,530,108 bytes

Feature Size: 22,983,979,008 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.43 Mbps

Chapters: 17

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 31st, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video




DTS-HD Master Audio English 1989 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1989 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB






Audio commentary with producer Paul Maslansky
Interview John Steiner - The Salamander (5:53)

The Salamander (2:19)
Barbarosa (1:48)
City on Fire (0:32)
Killer Force (2:34)





Description: A Scorpion Release! An all-star cast heads this suspense-filled movie based on Morris West s best selling novel of political intrigue and love! In the dark underworld of treasonous Italian politics, finance and high society, Special Agent Dante (Franco Nero, Hitch-Hike, Django) must investigate the mysterious murder of a high-ranking general where the only clue at the murder scene is a calling card bearing the crest of The Salamander. Dante soon discovers a conspiracy trail leading straight to top government officials, his own superiors, and must rely on his wits to survive. Also starring screen legends Anthony Quinn (The Savage Innocents), Christopher Lee (The City of the Dead), Eli Wallach (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly) with Martin Balsam (Tora! Tora! Tora!), Sybil Danning (The Salamander), Cleavon Little (Blazing Saddles), Paul Smith (Midnight Express), John Steiner (The Devil Within Her) and screen goddess Claudia Cardinale (Once Upon A Time In The West), with a score by the great Jerry Goldsmith (The Omen). Now see it for the first time in HD and Widescreen.



The Film:

Dante Matucci (Franco Nero), a counter-intelligence officer, uncovers a fascist plot to overthrow the Italian government, and as he begins to investigate, he has an ally in Bruno Manzini (Anthony Quinn), a man dedicated to hunting down war criminals. Bruno and other operatives, including the beautiful and frosty Lili Anders (Sybil Danning) report to Matucci as he coordinates their work. Most of the drama (not all) takes place off-screen, and Matucci essentially narrates the story -- making this one of the least exciting spy dramas around -- even the affair between Matucci and Anders is several degrees cooler than the norm. The inertia of the film continues through to the end, as the final denouement has all the suspects herded into one room ( la Agatha Christie or Dashiell Hammett) while Matucci and Manzini discuss the case.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Set in Italy in the dark underworld of treasonous politics, finance and high society, Special Agent Dante must investigate the mysterious murder of a high-ranking general where the only clue is a calling card bearing the crest of The Salamander. Sante soon discovers a conspiracy trail leading straight to top government officials, his own superiors and must enlist the aid of The Salamander to bring the villains to justice...

Excerpt from YesAsia located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The single-layered Scorpion Releasing Blu-ray of The Salamander has some pleasing depth and sharpness in 1080P. The source is imperfect with a few inconsistencies but the transfer seems adept and there are sequences of tight colors. The grain is not abundant but I see no untoward digitization.  The film's frequent close-ups show plenty of detail. It is in the, bastardized, 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This Blu-ray gave me a pleasurable viewing in regards to the picture quality.

























Audio :

Scorpion Releasing use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1989 kbps (24-bit) in the English language. There are aggressive effects in the film - cars, guns and the score by the great Jerry Goldsmith (Breakout, The Mephisto Waltz, Seconds, Hoosiers, The Blue Max, Breakheart Pass, The Omen) which accentuates the film's action and tension. It adds an atmosphere of mystery and desperation supported well via the lossless. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Scorpion Releasing augment the release with extras including an audio commentary with producer Paul Maslansky and a couple of moderators. He does a lot f reminiscing also exporting details and he's pretty laid back - enjoying the discussion. I liked the varied details of filmmaking that he imparted. There is also a 6-minute interview with John Steiner who played Captain Roditi in The Salamander as he discusses his memories of the film and his contribution to it. There are also trailers for 3 films as well as one for The Salamander.



The Salamander is stacked with star power; Franco Nero, Anthony Quinn, Martin Balsam, Christopher Lee, Eli Wallach. Fans with expectations for
Sybil Danning and Claudia Cardinale in terms of their mammarial assets - will be disappointed. However, the former is a major, appealing, character. The film, though, is all Nero who is, always, a super protagonist. The Scorpion Releasing Blu-ray has a ton of value for this political thriller cum detective drama. It's no masterpiece but, in the right mood - yes, I would watch it again...

Gary Tooze

November 6th, 2017


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Gary W. Tooze





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