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During WW2, American G.I. Frank Keeler has a job driving a supply truck for the company's quartermaster.His unit is stationed in Amalfi, Itali. Frank steals many goods from the quartermaster and he sells them on the black market, garnering a small fortune. When the Military Police gets alerted about his activities, Frank decides to bury his money along the highway.He marks a nearby tree with his carved initials.Despite his efforts, the Army arrests him and sends him to a military gaol for 4 years.After his release, Frank decides to return to Italy and retrieve his hidden loot.He gets a job on a freighter in order to gain trans-Atlantic passage to Italy. Aboard the freighter, Frank gambles with other sailors, looses, and writes many IOUs to his friend Vince whom he assures of prompt re-payment of debt once they arrive in Italy.On their arrival in Naples, Frank goes ashore to retrieve his loot and Vince becoming suspicious of Frank decides to follow him ashore.When Frank arrives at the ... Written by
Excellent Amalfi locations as Lloyd Bridges tries to recover his black market money
I have my favorites in movies (lots of them) that I can watch again and again. This is one of them. The direction is excellent. I don't know why W. Lee Wilder gets a bad rap apart from being Billy's brother. I've never seen one of his movies I didn't like. Lloyd Bridges is such a good actor. He just handles the part superbly and smoothly. In support is Aldo Fabrizi, a tremendous presence. He was the priest in Open City and here too he has a religious presence. Bridges' girl friend is a fiery and independent woman played by Lea Padovani. I will look for her in Barrier of the Law when I get to watching it. Plus there is a bevy of supporting well done roles, terrific location work, a nonlinear story, some good nighttime noir scenes (this is a film noir), and some good music, including two songs. What's not to like? I will admit that I did not follow the whole story's ins and outs, although I've seen it twice. Bridges was in the quartermaster corps in WW II and he made money on the black market. He's not a bad guy, just ready to turn a profit. He gets caught but not before burying his 4 million lira on the road to Napoli. After serving time, 4 years, he comes back to dig up his dough. He bumps into Lea Padovani and they are soon renewing a torrid attraction (made clear in various non-explicit ways). But when he goes to get his money, complications set in. He witnesses the dumping of a body by local racketeers and the police drag him into it. The police start following him. The racketeers have caught on to his mission, Lea is partly involved, another body piles up, and things start spinning around Amalfi. Fabrizi has a secret all of his own, and he makes appearances, watching over Lloyd like a guardian angel at times. Lea resists Lloyd for awhile because he stood her up and she doesn't know why. Lloyd is not the kind of guy that says too much about his business. He always prefers to deflect questions.
Wilder and his cinematographer give us some nice shots of all the proceedings, handled skillfully, interiors and exteriors. Many locals appear as extras, adding to the realistic feel.
The character arc of Bridges involves a degree of guilt and redemption as he encounters people who were seriously affected by the war from which he profited. Fabrizi plays a role in that part of the story, and it is built up nicely in various scenes as the story progresses. The really hard-boiled characters are the local gangsters, not Bridges.
By this time in his career, Bridges was a seasoned professional. He is one of those actors like Richard Widmark, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Victor Mature whose presence in a movie guarantees that, no matter what, it will be worthwhile to watch.
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