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Golden Salamander (1950, Trevor Howard, Anouk Aimée)

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In Golden Salamander Trevor Howard was strongly cast as an archaeologist who is sent to North Africa to collect valuable antiques for the luxurious home of Walter Rilla. Howard is accomodated at an inn run by Anouk and, as a result of an accident, Howard stumbles on a flourishing gun-running racket and recognises her brother Jacques Sernas as one of the gun-runners, along with Herbert Lom. Howard, who is falling in love with Anouk, realizes he must face the situation and arranges for Sernas to leave for Paris. Howard also tells Anouk of her brother’s activities. But Lom has learned of Sernas’ plans and, a few days later, Howard finds Sernas’ corpse. He is roused to action and devotes himself to unmasking the leader of the gun-runners …

Former cinematographer Neame, making his second film as director made vivid use of atmospheric Tunisian locations and the moody monochrome cinematography of Oswald Morris to give the narrative strong dramatic force, and brilliantly staged the tense climactic wild boar hunt-cum-chase over mountainous Tunisian countryside. Noted The Sunday Times , ‘the brilliant light and sharp outlines of the background lend freshness to the tale’ while, stated the Sundav Graphic , ‘the photography is magnificent and much to the credit of Oswald Morris, whose first film as lighting cameraman this’.

Neame was just as successful with the key performances as with his telling mise en scene and, wrote Variety, ‘Howard is fine … Anouk … is real. Herbert Lom is brilliant … and Miles Malleson plays a double-crossing chief of police with complete conviction-. ‘Anouk’, opined The Times , ‘with her thin face, her broken English, and her general air of patience and composure, at once waif-like and patrician, is an actress in the true sense of the word’, and, reported CEA Film Report , ‘Howard is well suited to the role… Anouk makes her first appearance in a British picture, and not only makes an attractive heroine, but acts well … first-rate supporting portrayals come from Jacques Sernas, Wilfrid Hyde-White and Peter Copley’.

production details
UK / 97 minutes / 1950

Director: Ronald Neame
Writers: Ronald Neame, Lesley Storm, Victor Canning, from the novel by Victor Canning,,

cast
Trevor Howard as David Redfern
Anouk Aimée as Anna
Herbert Lom as Rankl
Walter Rilla as Serafis
Miles Malleson as Douvet
Jacques Sernas as Max
Wilfrid Hyde-White as Agno
Peter Copley as Aribi
Marcel Poncin as Dommic
Kathleen Boutall as Mdm. Guillard
Eugene Deckers as Police Chief

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