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Amphibians In Movies





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The Salamander  (1981)
 
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
 
The Salamander
Despite the title, there are no salamanders in this movie. I watched it because I thought there would be an action superhero called "The Salamander" who wears a skin-tight black jumpsuit with yellow spots on it and rides a flaming motorcycle to her hideout under a saturated log somewhere out in the woods, but no such luck. It's a thriller without many thrills. Not terrible, but not great. The cast is decent, (Sybil Danning the B-movie queen looks great, Christopher Lee hardly does anything), the locations in Italy and Switzerland are all scenic enough, it's based on a best-selling book, and the director previously won an oscar for editing The Deer Hunter (but never directed another movie), but it all still falls flat.
A murderer leaves cards with a drawing of a salamander on them next to the victims. (The salamander looks more like a dragon than an amphibian, being covered with fire and topped with a crown.) When describing the first salamander card the police Captain says "The design - obviously a salamander. It's a durable legendary little beast who stands for justice and survives even fire."…"The design could have been a coat of arms."  The Carabinieri Colonel, played by the guy who was the spaghetti western Django, finds a wealthy businessman, Anthony Quinn, who went by the name "The Salamander" during the war and afterwards forced war criminals to commit suicide and left a salamander card with their bodies. But there doesn't seem to be any connection between him and the new salamander cards, and after we learn that he is The Salamander there is no more information about the cards at all. And that's all revealed early in the movie. Quinn plays an important role in the rest of the movie, but the whole Salamander thing is not very important to the plot at all.
 

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