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William A. Seiter
Lili is a skating instructor at a grand hotel in the Alps. An international conference is booked at the hotel. The conference is led by Prince Rudolph, whose plan is really to keep a pair of feuding countries at odds with each other. Feining illness, the Prince moves into a small inn so he can enjoy some skiing in private -- and delay the conference. One morning he meets Lili on the slopes and they hit it off; but she has no idea her "Rudy" is the Prince. That evening Lili is seen leaving the Prince's car, having been given a ride home by her beau, a cousin of the Prince's chauffeur. Tongues wag and Lili is thought to be romantically involved with the Prince. This gets her lots of attention and a starring role in her own ice skating revue. But when she finds out people think she is involved with the Prince she is horrified, while Rudy is amused and plays along. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <email@example.com>
The original play opened in Budapest in 1922. An English translation of the play by Fanny Hatton and Frederic Hatton opened in New York on 23 October 1930 with the title "His Majesty's Car." It starred Miriam Hopkins and ran for 12 performances. See more »
Certainly the giggly prepubescent females who flocked to the movies in the 1930s just loved this silly comedy starring the Queen of the Ice, Sonja Henie and up and coming matinée idol Tyrone Power. "Thin Ice" skates on a pretty thin script but has some standout ice numbers by Henie. While some of her skating positions and landings look awkward compared to today's skaters, she was a consummate performer and a dazzling skater - fast, with amazing spins and great dance moves. She is responsible for the ice show in this country, the creation of skating costumes rather than dresses, for combining ice skating and dance, for making skating popular, and for of all things - white skates, which flew off the shelves when audiences first saw her skate in them!
The threadbare plot consists of a pact between countries, a prince disguised as a vacationer at a European ski resort, and lots of misunderstandings. Power sports two Groucho Marx-type disguises in the course of the film. Though Zanuck did not want to waste his new leading man in such a weak comedy concocted for Sonja's skating, Henie, who was having an affair with Power, insisted on him as her costar. When Zanuck said no, she told him, not too politely, to teach Shirley Temple her skating routines and left the studio. She got her way finally, as she would throughout her entire life.
Probably 22 when "Thin Ice" was filmed, Tyrone Power was flawlessly pretty. It would be a couple of years before his looks matured to the point where he would be so spectacularly handsome that this viewer's jaw would drop at the mere sight of him. But I can imagine his effect in 1936-1937 on teens. I saw a photo on ebay recently of Power and Henie, sitting side by side, holding hands and talking to the director between takes of this movie. (According to screenwriter Milton Sperling, they couldn't get the two of them onto the set from Henie's dressing room, and when they finally did, "Power looked like he was going to collapse.") If I'd been Sonja, I'd have had my clutches in him as well. She was as smart as she was talented. As an added plus, there are two ridiculous numbers by Joan Davis, who was always worth watching. For those who remember "I Married Joan," it's a delight to see her as the leader of a female orchestra in this.
Take "Thin Ice" for the entertainment value that it has and enjoy it.
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