Salamander Episodes 4 & 5
Penultimate and final episodes
Minor spoilers only
Notes on Episode 4
The King’s assistant:
“I want a head”!
Literally translated as :
“Je veux une tête”!
Vincent Nöel is proper creepy. He has a whole tub of Brylcreem in his hair. A cleft in his chin as deep as a crevasse and some particularly hideous shiny black suits and shirts and ties. Nice touch when we see Vincent nervously slick back his hair. Viewed from the back of his head in close-up!
Nb. It is Brother Victor, not Brother Fraser (as i previously wrote) who has the photograph at the monastery.
The Secret seeming rooms:
The secretary of the Public Prosecutor seems to go through a secret room. So does the Prime Minister. He goes through a mirrored door.
Mr. Percigal to the Minister of The Interior:
“You poor soul, you poor bastard!”
There is a fabulous arch that looks a little like the Arc De Triomphe in Paris.
Mei, Maart, Juni, but October, November and December are the same!
Geradi’s hotel is called the L’Aubierge Autrichenne.
There are some stunning night scenes:
One in particular where we see a rippled ink blue and neon night sky above a street with a row of buildings. One of the buildings is palest cream and has an echoing neon blue under-lighting beneath it’s arched entrance. This blue is pale like bone china teacups of baby blue.
Episode 5-Final episode
Well Salamander turned out to be a veritable humdinger of a yarn. In the vein of The 39 Steps, a ripping yarn if you like. There was a point at which i paused this final episode to nip out of the room which left Paul Geradi in action, inching excitedly for the viewer, round a wall and a corner which was most suspenseful indeed.
Paul, pronounced like owl with a p. He did dramatically deliver though the likelihood of him triumphing over his very deadly foe i felt. was low. Shorn of his lovely lank locks and stubbly white beard right at the end i momentarily didn’t recognise Paul Geradi. However i enjoyed the cheerful upbeat twist in the last few seconds. As the screenplay let us think, depressingly, otherwise. I do like happy endings.
Still, much as i grew a certain fondness for Geradi over time and realised that women generally swooned over him wherever he went, that he certainly could wear a suit and had much better suits than the dastardly Nöel (what was with the white one?!) Geradi, i have to say was woefully wooden all in all.
So was Sophie, robotic, even zombieish in her expressionless demeanour. Clunky Klaus who barely spoke except on his many mobiles was more prepossessing and interesting than Geradi and Sophie.
The building of the story was patchy and thin of pace, emotion and viewer connection.
The plucky Public Prosecutor Mr. Percigal and Karl were more affecting and interesting than Geradi. who mostly loped about looking mournful like a giant wooden Pinocchio.
The episode in which Gerad was mostly missing until the very end and we follow the Public Prosecutor, other men including Karl and Brother Fraser, the politicians and nasty Nöel
proved to me that it was far better and more interesting the longer that Geradi was absent.
The intersection and introduction of the black and white war time flashbacks interspersed with the action became the thread which slowly and assiduously sewed a real, interesting and affecting story together.
Yes, the story of Gill Wullf and Gill Wullf himself made Salamander for me. Corny and dated though the device of the flashbacks might have appeared to be, it somehow was not. We slowly built sympathy with the character of Gill and he, along with the Public Prosecutor, Karl and even Vic Adams & stylish sidekick who i missed for their inherent slapstick ways, were the making of Salamander.
Nb. Nöel Vincent’s crew made Vic Adams and his slick haired sidekick look like Tom & Jerry in Loony Tunes.
Gills Wullf, not Geradi, was the truly star turn. An excellent performance.
A special mention to the rare but treasured by me, spectacular and momentary stylised scenes where light and building are set like stage pieces at night, and the green hedges and stone white bricks of Gill Wullf’s mansion shimmer and melt around the edges for split seconds of surreally signified horror.