The Salzburg Connection

The Salzburg Connection is a 1972 American thriller film directed by Lee H. Katzin, starring Barry Newman and Anna Karina .[2] It is based on a 1968 novel by Helen MacInnes. It was filmed in DeLuxe Color and Panavision.

The Salzburg Connection
Video cover
Directed byLee H. Katzin
Produced byIngo Preminger
Written byEdward Anhalt
Oscar Millard
Based onThe Salzburg Connection
1968 novel
by Helen MacInnes
StarringBarry Newman
Anna Karina
Music byBronislau Kaper
CinematographyWolfgang Treu
Edited byJohn Woodcock
Distributed byTwentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release date
  • August 1972 (1972-08)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.95 million[1]


After a chest is brought up from the bottom of an Austrian lake, the diver, Richard Bryant (Patrick Jordan), is found murdered. Bill Mathison (Barry Newman) is an American lawyer on vacation in Austria. He stops by a photography shop to meet with a man who is compiling a book of photographs of Austrian Lakes, as a favor to the publisher, and meets the photographer's wife Anna (Anna Karina). The photographer has disappeared. Mathison gets caught up in trying to find the chest recovered by Bryant. It is revealed to contain a list of former members of the Nazi party who could be embarrassingly connected to current United States politics.

An American woman, Elissa Lang (Karen Jensen), pretending to be a recent college graduate on a European tour, is also after the chest, on behalf of an underground group of surviving Nazis. They all end up fighting for their lives, as well as for possession of the chest, along with a group of CIA agents.



Roger Greenspun of The New York Times wrote, "With twice too many characters and three times too much plot, the Oscar Millard screenplay of 'The Salzburg Connection' might have defeated the best of directors. Against Lee H. Katzin ('Le Mans,' 'Heaven With a Gun') it isn't even a contest."[3] Arthur D. Murphy of Variety described the film as "erratically limp" as "[t]he action plods through some beautiful scenery," adding, "The score sounds like a mish-mash of badly-selected transcription library stock themes."[4] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film half of one star out of four, calling it "a lethargic and completely confusing spy story" that amounted to little more than "90 minutes of 'box, box, what's in the box?' This, of course, isn't revealed until the final minutes, at which point there is nothing that could be in the box which would save the movie."[5] Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times called it "the worst motion picture I've seen all year. Not one of the, the. The least comprehensible, the least involving, the least interesting, the least entertaining, the least well-conceived, the least successful at bringing off what it set out to bring off."[6] Gary Arnold of The Washington Post declared it "one of the least exciting espionage thrillers I've ever laid eyes on," adding, "As the movie wends its unsuspenseful, uncharismatic, confusing-to-boring way, you hear the audience squirm and feel its spirits sag."[7] Clyde Jeavons of The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote, "Full advantage is taken of the picturesque Salzburg locations ... But nothing can redeem the indecipherable storyline and ham-handed direction (which includes gross misuse of slow-motion and freeze); and even the most indulgent aficionado of the spy genre will find this example hard to take."[8]


  1. Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p257
  2. Greenspun, Roger. "NY The Salzburg Connection". Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  3. Greenspun, Roger (31 August 1972). "Screen: 'Salzburg Connection' Opens". The New York Times. 29.
  4. Murphy, Arthur D. (2 August 1972). "Film Reviews: The Salzburg Connection". Variety. 18.
  5. Siskel, Gene (29 August 1972). "Salzburg & Piper". Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 4.
  6. Champlin, Charles (27 September 1972). "Prize of Sorts for 'Salzburg'". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 16.
  7. Arnold, Gary (14 August 1972). "The Wrong 'Connection'". The Washington Post. B7.
  8. Jeavons, Clyde (February 1973). "The Salzburg Connection". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 40 (469): 34.
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