The Story of a Three-Day Pass

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The Story of a Three-Day Pass
Directed by Melvin Van Peebles
Produced by Guy Belfond
Written by Melvin Van Peebles
Starring Harry Baird
Nicole Berger
Music by Melvin Van Peebles
Cinematography Michel Kelber
Edited by Liliane Korb
Distributed by Sigma III Corp. (1968, original)
Xenon Pictures (current)
Release date
  • 8 July 1968 (1968-07-08)
Running time
87 min.
Country France
Language English

The Story of a Three-Day Pass (French title La Permission) is a black-and-white film written and directed, often in a French New Wave style, by Melvin Van Peebles, based on a novel he wrote in French, La Permission. Although made in 1967, the film was not released in the U.S. until July 8, 1968.[1] Van Peebles also collaborated on the score with Mickey Baker and sings one of the two songs written for the film, "When My Number Gonna Hit". The other song, "Hard Times", is a man-woman duet; one of the singers is Mickey Baker.


The film tells the story of Turner (Harry Baird), a Black U.S. army man stationed in France whose captain gives him a three-day pass just after he promotes him. As Turner gets ready to leave, his reflection in the mirror accuses him of being an Uncle Tom, but this is not the only time his reflection criticizes him or makes him doubt himself.

Turner goes to Paris, where he wanders mostly aimlessly for the first day. He finds himself in a nightclub, where he meets a white French shop clerk named Miriam (Nicole Berger). The pair spends the rest of the weekend together, enjoying their romance but also struggling with the complexities of racism. Eventually their miscegenation is reported to Turner's captain (Hal Brav) and Turner is restricted to barracks, where he decides that such amorous adventures are futile.


Harry Baird as Turner Nicole Berger as Miriam Hal Brav as Turner's captain


The movie is currently distributed through Xenon Pictures.


  1. ^ [1] The Story of a Three-Day Pass at Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed September 24, 2010.

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