Friday, February 17, 2023

Snowbound ( 1948 )

Dennis Price and Stanley Holloway head to the Swiss Alps in the 1948 British thriller Snowbound. Price is assigned to pose as a screenwriter gathering material for a new film when in reality he is to gather information about the people who are staying at a mountain chalet and report that information to a former British espionage agent ( Leo Genn ). Within days, his cover is exposed and he quickly finds that everyone staying at the chalet is there for a secret reason...and not for "their health" as they claim. Among the suspicious characters are Marcel Dalio, Mila Parely, Herbert Lom, and Guy Middleton.

Snowbound is a quick thriller that has some nice Alpine location filming. While the story is easy to follow, the film could have been improved upon by a little less dialogue and more action. Aside from an occasional visit to the hotel down the mountain, most of the action takes place within the chalet, making it seem rather stage-like. This is surprising since the story is from a novel ( The Lonely Skier by Hammond Innes ) that was adapted directly to the screen. 

Variety magazine's review of the film claimed that the "main failing of the yarn is that situations do not thrill sufficiently", which is quite true. The action does not build up until the second half of the film, but then it does conclude with an exciting finale. 

Sydney Box produced the film, which was distributed stateside by RKO. Sydney was the head of Gainsborough Studios and produced a number of fine British films on his own as well. His sister Betty Box was also a prolific producer of many great British classics. 

Snowbound is worth watching for its cast of character actors ( Dennis Price makes a good "spy"  ) and its snowy mountain location. It is especially enjoyable to watch on a winter afternoon, but if you miss it airing on television, it really is not worth going out of your way to hunt it down.  

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