STRANGE SHADOWS IN AN EMPTY ROOM. Fida Cinematografica, Italy, 1976, as Una Magnum Special per Tony Saitta. American International, US, 1977. Stuart Whitman, John Saxon, Martin Landau, Tisa Farrow, Carole Laure, Jean Leclerc, Gayle Hunnicutt. Director: Alberto De Martino.

   Stuart Whitman does his best as a Canadian Dirty Harry in Strange Shadows in an Empty Room, an Italian crime movie filmed in Ottawa and Montreal. Sleazy with giallo flourishes, the movie follows Ottawa policeman Tony Saitta (Whitman) as he attempts to make sense of his sister’s bizarre poisoning death in Montreal.

   The top suspect is physician George Tracer (Martin Landau), who was having an affair with the young university student. But there are a few other people with secrets of their own who may have had something to do with the shocking crime.

   The movie follows Tony as he, along with his Montreal counterpart Ned Matthews (John Saxon), traverse the boulevards and back streets of Quebec’s largest city in an attempt to figure out what Tony’s sister’s death may have had to do with a murder and jewelry theft in Toronto. Along the way, Tony investigates the death of a transvestite, helps a blind woman stalked by a killer, and uncovers a romantic affair involving Tracer’s son.

   There’s a ridiculous car chase scene that goes on way too long, a fight scene in which Tony takes on three violent transvestites, and a series of illogical and implausible scenarios all culminating in a final shootout in which our antihero shoots down a helicopter with his Magnum.

   Not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but a surprisingly engrossing one for those in the mood for something that could only have been produced in 1970s Italy.