6.4/10
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12 user 6 critic

One in a Million (1936)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 1 January 1937 (USA)
American theatrical manager (Menjou) discovers Henie preparing for the Olympics in Switzerland and brings her to Madison Square Garden.

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Writers:

(story), (story) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Tad Spencer
...
Heinrich Muller
...
Danny Simpson
...
Bob Harris
...
...
Billie Spencer
Borrah Minevitch ...
Adolphe
...
Harmonica Ensemble (as Borrah Minevitch and His Rascals)
...
Goldie
...
Girl in Band
Shirley Deane ...
Girl in Band
Albert Conti ...
Hotel Manager
...
Chapelle
...
Girl in Band
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Storyline

American theatrical manager (Menjou) discovers Henie preparing for the Olympics in Switzerland and brings her to Madison Square Garden.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 January 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tourbillon blanc  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

USA Film debut of Sonja Henie. See more »

Connections

References Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Can Can
from "Orpheus in the Underworld"
Music by Jacques Offenbach
Played during The Ritz Brothers' spoof of bullfighting
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User Reviews

 
one in a million...well, not really
22 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Twentieth Century Fox's "One in a Million" provides some light entertainment as well as the skating of Sonja Henie. The film has historic interest in that part of it takes place at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany, though politics are never mentioned. Henie actually won the Olympics in 1928, 1932, and 1936. This film was released in December 1936 and apparently was done before the 1936 Winter Olympics took place.

It's a slight story - Menjou and his troupe of performers arrive to work at a Swiss hotel, but find it has been burned down. They seek shelter at a nearby inn, run by Greta (Henie) and her father (Jean Hersholt). Reporter Don Ameche arrives to get the dope on the burnt hotel, apparently destroyed by an anarchist. Instead, he becomes interested in Greta and her Olympic quest and also her father's story. He was stripped of his Olympic medal in 1908 because he supposedly had worked as a professional, though he really hadn't. Menjou winds up endangering Greta's Olympic status in his zeal of signing her for his show.

There is lots of music in "One in a Million" but most of it, including the title song, isn't all that great. "Who's Afraid of Love?" is pretty, particularly when sung by Ameche, who had a lovely, light tenor voice that matched his charming film persona. Though Ameche continued to star in 20th Century Fox films and had a marvelous career, after Tyrone Power arrived, the roles that would have been intended for him went to Power, including Power's breakout role in "Lloyds of London." Menjou is a little over the top, and the Ritz Brothers I'm sure entertained the kiddie crowd with their slapstick. Arline Judge, as Menjou's wife, gives one of the best performances with her dry delivery. She had the best lines, too, so I suppose that helped. Hersholt as usual is sympathetic and wonderful.

Pretty, petite Henie was a natural for film. A vibrant presence on the ice, her skating, of course, was much less athletic than one sees today. As far as speed, spins, and showmanship, she could compete today. Some of her moves are no longer done - the pirouettes, which were really lovely, and that trademark dancing on "point" like a ballerina. The jump landings are interesting - rather than getting out of the jump quickly, the style in those days was to let the front leg continue to turn the skater into several circles, and jumps were landed with the head and body pointed downward. Some turns were done with a bent back leg, which looks really strange when viewed now. But Henie in her day elevated the sport of skating and should be appreciated for what she brought to it.

"One in a Million" is interesting for being Henie's debut. If you fast forward through the Ritz Brothers, you'll find it a lot more palatable.


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