Three Steps North


1h 25m 1951

Film Details

Release Date
Jun 15, 1951
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Continentalcine; W. Lee Wilder
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
Italy and United States
Location
Amalfi,Italy; Naples,Italy; Rome,Italy; Rome,Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Film Length
7,349ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

In Italy, toward the end of World War II, American G.I. Frank Keeler, who has a job driving a supply truck for the company's quartermaster, is pilfering many of the supplies and selling them on the black market. Tipped off that his racket has been discovered, Frank decides to hide his profits, about six thousand dollars, in the hope of reclaiming it later. After burying the cash in an explosives box, in a field approximately three kilometers from Amalfi on the road to Naples, Frank is arrested and sentenced to four years in an army prison in the United States. When he is eventually released with a dishonorable discharge, he makes a deal with a seaman named Vince to smuggle him back into Italy so that he can recover the cash. When the ship docks in Naples, Frank assures Vince that he will return in a few hours to pay him off, then boards a bus to Amalfi. There he rents a bicycle and heads for the site where he buried the cash, but discovers that the field is now part of a G.I. cemetery that does not yet have any graves in his specific area. When Pietro, the cemetery's caretaker, asks him why he is there, Frank tells him that he is Frank Day, the brother of William Day, one of the men buried there. Unable to do any digging, Frank returns to Amalfi and looks up Elena Ravezza, a former girl friend, who is not pleased to see him as she feels he deserted her and resents the fact that he has not communicated with her in four years. After Frank leaves the bar where Elena works for local gangster, The Greek, he is assaulted and his fake passport is stolen. Massina, the police commissario, insists that Frank remains there until the loss can be reported to the U.S. Consulate in Naples. That night, after Vince arrives looking for his money, Frank cycles to the site and starts digging, but is interrupted when Pietro, who lives in a small house on the site, offers him hospitality and tells him that his son and wife were killed during the war. As the frustrated Frank rides away, he sees a car pull up near a low bridge over a grotto. Two passengers emerge from the car and struggle until one kills the other and shoves him off the bridge. After the car drives away, Frank discovers Vince's body in a stream below the bridge. The next day, because Frank and Vince had been seen arguing the night before and Frank cannot explain his whereabouts, Massina orders that he be detained. Elena, however, unexpectedly, gives Frank an alibi by saying that he was with her all night. Frank then meets Jack Conway, a minor racketeer from New Jersey, who is hiding out in Italy from U.S. tax evasion charges. Conway points out to Frank that he is being followed by the police and proposes that, for a percentage, he could help recover a large sum of money Vince was carrying and help Frank leave Italy. Frank declines, then later talks with Baldori, a local private detective who does odd jobs for the police force and who is following him. They go to the bar where Vince was last seen, and the bartender, Guido, tells Frank that he will come to his hotel room later with information. After Conway and his henchmen pick up Elena and beat her up, Frank asks her about her relationship with Conway, but she changes the subject by having him explain why he abandoned her during the war. After unexpectedly meeting the visiting mother of William Day, who is unaware Frank is posing as a brother of her dead son, Frank meets Guido in his room, but just as he is about to tell Frank who killed Vince, he is killed by an unseen knife-thrower. Later, after Frank asks Elena to leave with him, she asks if he has money and he replies that he soon will have. They agree to meet at the site where the cash is buried, then Elena steals a passport from The Greek, but is shot in the arm by him. Meanwhile, outside Pietro's house, Frank finds a spade and starts digging. Elena arrives, but is followed by The Greek, who points a gun at Frank and tells him to keep digging. Baldori and Massina, who have also been following Frank's movements, walk up behind The Greek as Frank tricks him into confessing that he killed Vince and works for Conway. Just then Frank pulls the explosives box out of the ground and lunges at The Greek, who runs off shooting, but is killed by Massina. The commotion awakens Pietro and, after Elena faints as a result of her wound, everyone goes to his house where Frank refuses to hand over the box. When he finally opens it, there is no cash, only a note advising the owner of the contents to consult the Amalfi police. Massina then states that the money was found and brought to him and that after a year had passed and no one had claimed it, it was returned to the finder, Pietro. When Frank asks Pietro what he did with the money, the caretaker shows him a modest chapel, which is being built with Frank's money in the cemetery. Frank is philosophical about his loss and, when Pietro invites him to stay to see the chapel completed, he agrees.

Film Details

Release Date
Jun 15, 1951
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Continentalcine; W. Lee Wilder
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
Italy and United States
Location
Amalfi,Italy; Naples,Italy; Rome,Italy; Rome,Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Film Length
7,349ft (9 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film's opening title reads: "W. Lee Wilder in association with Continentalcine presents." Wilder's production company, Meteor Pictures, was based in Beverly Hills, CA. The film was shot in various locations in Italy, including Amalfi, Naples and Rome.