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Snowbound (1948 film)

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Directed byDavid MacDonald
Written byKeith Campbell
David Evans
Based onthe novel The Lonely Skier
by Hammond Innes
Produced byAubrey Baring
Sydney Box
StarringRobert Newton
Dennis Price
Stanley Holloway
Herbert Lom
Marcel Dalio
Guy Middleton
Mila Parély
CinematographyStephen Dade
Reg Johnson
Edited byJames Needs
Music byCedric Thorpe Davie
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors
RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • 3 May 1948 (1948-05-03)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£120,000 by 1953[1]

Snowbound is a 1948 British thriller film directed by David MacDonald and starring Robert Newton, Dennis Price, Stanley Holloway, Herbert Lom, Marcel Dalio and Guy Middleton and introducing Mila Parély.[2] The screenplay concerns a group of people searching for treasure hidden by the Nazis in the Alps following the Second World War. It was based on the 1947 novel The Lonely Skier by Hammond Innes. The film's sets were designed by the art director Maurice Carter.


British film director Derek Engles recognises Neil Blair, an extra on his set. In order to investigate some intelligence which he had picked up in Italy, Engles offers Blair a new job because he trusts him (he used to be Blair's commanding officer). He wants Blair to keep him posted on the activities of everyone who stays at a ski lodge, whilst posing as a scriptwriter. Blair accepts this offer and travels to Italy with a cameraman, Joe Wesson, to accompany him.

At a tavern, Aldo, the innkeeper, tells Blair there are no rooms available, however another guest, Stefano Valdini, helps them to find lodging. Blair soon encounters the Comtessa Forelli and a Greek named Keramikos who also arrives.

When Blair makes his first report, Engles is particularly interested that the lodge is to be auctioned off the next day. The proprietor of a nearby hotel tells Blair that the auction is rigged in his favour, but instead there is a heated bidding war, with a lawyer for an unknown party making an excessive winning bid.

Keramikos tells Blair that he knows he isn't really writing a script and also claims that Mayne was a deserter from the British Army who worked for him in Greece. Blair begins falling in love with the Comtessa, who admits her real name is Carla Rometta. Also, Blair observes Keramikos speaking German with another man.

The next day Mayne invites Blair to go skiing. When Blair crashes and is knocked unconscious, Mayne leaves him behind in the freezing snow and just reports that Blair is missing. Carla overhears and telephones Mancini, who organises a search party and Blair is rescued.

Engles arrives at the lodge, just before a snowstorm that leaves all the parties stranded for the night. At dinner, Engles confirms he was a colonel in British Intelligence and identifies Keramikos as Von Kellerman, a Gestapo special agent based in Venice. When Italy was being over-run by the Allies, Kellerman was ordered to transport the gold reserves of the Bank of Italy to Germany. He assigned the task to Captain Heinrich Stelben, unaware Stelben was involved with Carla Rometta. At Carla's urging, Stelben left the gold at the lodge and, after shooting his own men, reported he had been ambushed. One of the men is only wounded and Kellerman learns of the gold's whereabouts, which he wants to finance the rebuilding of a new fascist Germany.

When Carla attacks Mayne after learning that he had agreed to kill her and Valdini, he knocks her unconscious. Valdini throws a knife at him. Mayne shoots him dead, but is knifed in the back by Aldo on Kellerman's order. Kellerman produces a pistol, has Carla locked up, and orders the Englishmen to dig for the gold. Mayne comes to and tries to free Carla, but knocks over a lamp that sets the building on fire, then succumbs. When no gold is found, Kellerman does not believe that Engles does not know where it is and shoots him. In the ensuing fight, Wesson drags the unconscious Blair out of the basement. The burning hut collapses on the others. Carla reveals that she knows where the gold is, but cradling Blair, declares she will never reveal its location, as it has caused too many deaths.



Hammond Innes' novel The Lonely Skier was published in 1947. Film rights were bought by Sydney Box at Gainsborough Studios. The film involved location shooting in the French Alps.[3] A unit was sent to shoot exteriors in the Alps while directed David MacDonald finished Good Time Girl for Gainsborough.[4]

Studio filming at the Lime Grove Studios in Shepherd's Bush took place in July 1947.[5]



The March 1948 Variety review was not especially favourable, complaining that the "Main failing of the yarn is that situations do not thrill sufficiently", and "For the romantic interest Mila Parely was imported from Paris, an experiment difficult to justify by results."[6]

The Los Angeles Times wrote that "the British flair for making gripping spine chillers explodes excitingly" in the film.[7]

Box office

By July 1953, the film earned a net revenue of £120,000.[1]


  1. ^ a b Andrew Spicer, Sydney Box Manchester Uni Press 2006 p 210
  2. ^ Snowbound at the British Film Institute
  3. ^ Nepean, Edith (1 November 1947). "Round the British Studios". Picture Show. London. 52 (1327): 7. ProQuest 1879613867.
  4. ^ "and From". The Mail. 35 (1, 806). Adelaide. 4 January 1947. p. 9 (Sunday Magazine). Retrieved 6 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "[?] RAC Teams again with Katharine HEPBURN". The Mercury. CLXVI (23, 909). Tasmania. 26 July 1947. p. 3 (The Mercury Magazine). Retrieved 6 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "Film Reviews: Snowbound". Variety. 31 March 1948.
  7. ^ "G, K.". ENGLISH COMEDY, DRAMA PAIRED ON ESQUIRE BILL. Los Angeles Times. 7 February 1949. ProQuest 165910325.
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Snowbound (1948 film)
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