Good and bad characters are stuck in a ski chalet near buried Nazi gold in the Alps.


John Chard
Funding the New World Order of the Fourth Reich. Snowbound is directed by David MacDonald and adapted to screenplay by David Evans and Keith Campbell from the novel "The Lonely Skier" written by Hammond Innes. It stars Dennis Price, Mila Parely, Stanley Holloway, Herbert Lom, Robert Newton and Guy Middleton. Music is by Cedric Thorpe Davie and cinematography by Stephen Dade. In short order form the plot basically finds a group of disparate people up in the Italian Alps involved in the search for Nazi treasure hidden somewhere abouts a ski resort. It's a league of nations up in them thar snowy hills, some with deadly motives, others just caught in the crossfire of nefarious plans. The screenplay is a little too tricksy for its own good, with the multiple shifts of the key players identities becoming tiresome in the last quarter of film. That it never gets going fully until late in the play is also an irritant, as is the fact there is a dynamite cast list assembled here that are sadly given one note characters to portray. In fact Newton is so criminally under used the writers and director should have been banished to the Alps as punishment. That said, the set designs, cinematography and a strong turn from Lom, make sure it stays above average as viewing entertainment. While the finale is gripping and features a resolution that's deliciously sly. Marked out by some as an entry in the British Noir pantheon, I'm not willing to suggest it as such myself. Certainly some of Stephen Dade's photography has the requisite noirish tints to it, and it could be argued there's an inevitable feeling of bleakness pervading the narrative that brings it into the film noir realm. As always, film noir is in the eye of the beholder, and to me this is just a better than average drama. Even if it does waste a great cast. 6/10

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