Musical Monday: Thin Ice (1937)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

thin ice 2This week’s musical:
Thin Ice (1937) – Musical #701

Studio:
20th Century Fox

Director:
Sidney Lanfield

Starring:
Sonja Henie, Tyrone Power, Joan Davis, Arthur Treacher, Raymond Walburn, Sig Ruman, Alan Hale, Leah Ray, Melville Cooper, George Givot

Plot:
An international conference is held at the ski resort, Grand Hotel Imperial in St. Christophe in the Alps, where a pact will be signed. Prince Rudolph (Power) pretends to be ill to create tensions before the pact is signed and goes skiing. While on skis, he meets the hotel’s skate instructor Lili (Henie). The two fall in love without Lili knowing who he is.

Trivia:
• It was nominated for the Academy Award Academy Award for Best Dance Direction. This award was only presented from 1935 to 1937.
• Working title was “Lovely to Look At”
• Sonja Henie’s second film, and Darryl F. Zanuck wanted Henie’s lines to be brief responses.
• Version of “My Lips Betray” (1933) and an adaptation of the play “Der Komet” by Attila Orbók.
• Elisha Cook was originally going to be in the film, but was replaced by George Givot.
• Sonja Henie’s brother Leif Henie appeared in “Thin Ice” in an uncredited role as a reporter. It was his only acting role.

thin ice3

Highlights:
• The ice skating numbers
• The all-girl band led by Joan Davis
• Tyrone Power in an elaborate disguise

Notable Songs and Numbers:
• “My Secret Love Affair” performed by Leah Ray
• “I’m Olga From the Volga” performed by Joan Davis
• “Swiss Hilly Billy” performed by Joan Davis
• “Polovetsian Dances” skated by Sonja Henie
• “Over Night” skated by Sonja Henie
• “The Blue Danube Waltz” skated by Sonja Henie

My review:
Filled with laughs, skiing and ice skating, THIN ICE (1937) is charming and funny.

The film follows Prince Rudolph (Power) who is in disguise while at a winter resort. He doesn’t want to be seen before international pact is signed. While skiing away from the international conference, he meets ice skater Lili (Henie). While Lili doesn’t know who Rudolph is, and as the two ski together, the village is a flutter with rumors of their romance.

Tyrone Power shines in this role still early in his career. He’s incredibly handsome with a bright grin. But he also gets to show off his comedic skills. Power gets to be both romantic and humorous in this film. There are some funny moments when he is dressed in a disguise so he can see Lili skate.

thin iceIce skater turned actress Sonja Henie, in her second film, became a movie star after her success in the Olympics. Acting wise, Henie is fine, but she’s even better on ice. Her skating style is a bit different than we are used to today, with her running tip toe steps on the ice. But nevertheless, it’s beautiful and graceful.

The ice skating numbers are magnificent. They are elaborate and interestingly filmed, with an impressive number of ice skaters performing with Henie.

My only real complaint is that per usual, Joan Davis is wasted. She gets to show some of her comedic skills while she sings, but that’s all Davis is limited to here—a singer. Her character leads an all-female band.

Despite that, “Thin Ice” (1937) is a fun, winter romp.

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