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Lizards in Movies
Sorcerer (1977)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
Sorcerer Sorcerer Sorcerer
When I learned that William Friedkin had re-made "The Wages of Fear" I had no interest in seeing it because I though nothing could improve the classic 1953 French film (other than not having to read subtitles - my French is lousy.) But when I finally watched it I was surprised at how great it is, with lots of suspense and amazing action sequences (filmed on location in the jungle). It also has an unusually heavy mood of despair and failure for an action movie and a happy, but not so happy, ending. These things are probably why the movie was a commercial disaster. It didn't help that Star Wars going into wide release at the same time Sorcerer opened. The mysterious title and the lack of a big name star also helped to doom it. Friedkin says he had the name (in French) painted on one of the nitroglycerin trucks after listening to the Miles Davis album "Sorcerer," then he decided to make it the name of the movie (which was originally going to be called "Ballbreaker.")

Roy Scheider stars as Jackie Scanlon, an American outcast forced to hide out from the Mob in a squalid village in South America. When we first see him in the village, we see several shots of the poverty and wretchedness of the place where he ended up - drunks sleeping on piles of garbage, naked babies walking on dirty streets, bloody animal carcasses carried through town, ramshackle tin-roofed buildings, and then we see a large green anole lizard on a cloth curtain inside the crowded grimy barracks where Scanlon is living. The camera pans down the lizard to Scanlon's hand clenched and sweating as he sleeps, having nightmares about his violent past. Then he wakes up and we are treated to more glamourous views of his 5 star accomodations.

In context, it looks like we're supposed to see the lizard as part of the horrible squalor of his living situation: his quarters are so disgusting that there are lizards hanging over his bed. It's certainly a less than minor detail and hardly worth putting on my list, but did I mention how great this movie is?