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W.S. Van Dyke,
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Breaking The Ice was a film designed to showcase the singing talents of young Bobby Breen. The boy soprano whose career ended when he hit puberty is a Mennonite kid who is living with his mother Dolores Costello as a guest of Uncle Robert Barrat and Aunt Dorothy Peterson. And Breen and Costello never are allowed to forget they're guests.
This is a weird film because the Mennonites are hardly shown in the best light in the person of Barrat. He is one harsh, unforgiving man who blames young Breen when $20.00 goes missing. Breen and Costello want to get out from under and Breen runs away and joins up with Charlie Ruggles who is always in the area looking for antiques from the Mennonites. They've got all kinds of furniture they don't know how valuable it is.
Quite frankly Ruggles creeped me out. He's a ruthless con man despite his bumbling manner and he takes advantage of Breen when the young man's singing talents are noticed by the owners of an ice show. Young ice dancer Irene Dare is featured as well. Ruggles takes an 80/20 split with Breen with him getting the 80.
Bobby does some pleasant songs and that in itself did not compute. His singing of other than hymns would have been frowned on by his people. When he grows up, Breen would probably have lit out of the Pennsylvania Dutch country pronto.
Still the singing and skating is nice, but this was not Bobby Breen's best.
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