THE SALTZBURG CONNECTION. Director: Lee Katzin. Screenplay: Oscar Millard. Stars: Barry Newman, Anna Karina. Distributor: Fox Rank.
It’s a great pity this Austrian set concoction, swiftly made and named to cash in on a recent success, has such a lousy script, because it has several assets, which might have helped to create a sequel worthy of the word “connection”.
There’s the direction, attempting to be expansive and imaginative, in its panning, atmospheric shots of the Austrian scenery; attempting to inject some documentary semi-reality in its fast cuts to people inthe streets’ faces. There’s also Barry Newman, perpetuator of the modern car chase, in “Vanishing Point”, and also one of the few modern stars out of the Redford/Reynolds stable, who doesn’t have an expressionless face, and who can actually act.
The contrived, leaden script, having the character of an extended TV episode, has cardboard figures from the KGB, the CIA, Israel and the Neo-Nazi Party chasing after the same crate of German wartime secret papers, suitably placed at the bottom of a very cold, shallow lake. Cliches abound, and after the regulation shootings, car chase and double crossings, there isn’t really anything left of the 92 futile minutes to make us laugh, cry, think or tremble with excitement.