6.8/10
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7 user 6 critic

Happy Landing (1938)

Bandleader (Romero and manager (Ameche) discover skater (Henie) in Norway. They become rivals as she returns with them to America.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Trudy Ericksen
...
...
Herr Lars Ericksen
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Flo Kelly
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Duke Sargent
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Counter Man
Raymond Scott ...
Leader of Quintet (as Raymond Scott Quintet)
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Al Mahoney
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Specialty singer
Steve Condos ...
Specialty Number (as Condos Brothers)
Nick Condos ...
Specialty Number (as Condos Brothers)
El Brendel ...
Yonnie
...
Gypsy
...
Agent
...
Waiter
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Storyline

The Bride's Fair in a small Norwegian village is interrupted by the forced landing of Jimmy Hall and Duke Sargent, two Americans lost - really, really lost - while flying from New York to Paris. Jimmy is the manager of Duke, a publicity-seeking band leader. An old superstition points to Duke as the appointed husband-to-be (not likely) of Trudy Ericksen, daughter of villager Herr Ericksen. Duke, however, has an understanding with Flo Kelly back in the states, and leaves for Paris. Trudy follows him to New York, only to find he has left for Florida with Flo. Jimmy takes Trudy skating in Central Park, falls in love with her and is so impressed that he gets her a contract to skate professionally. Duke hears of her success and flies back and begins a series of romantic entanglements. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Plot Keywords:

skating | See All (1) »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical | Sport

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 January 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Eiskönigin  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in 20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

War Dance for Wooden Indians
Written by Raymond Scott
Performed by The Raymond Scott Quintet
Danced by Nick Condos and Steve Condos
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Miss Henie Skates - Miss Merman Sings
17 February 2002 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

After making a HAPPY LANDING in Norway, a flying bandleader and his manager both find themselves fascinated by a lovely young figure skater.

Sonja Henie was Norway's ice queen when she won Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932 & 1936. Quickly going professional, she began a celebrated movie career at 20th Century Fox in 1936 with ONE IN A MILLION, which was her American film debut. Beautiful & talented, as well as being a natural in front of the cameras, she carved out her niche during Hollywood's Golden Age. Although Henie's ice routines may look antiquated by comparison to modern champions, there was nothing antique about her dazzling smile or sparkling personality. In this regard, some of today's snowflake princesses could still learn a great deal from her.

As her career progressed, it became increasingly difficult for Fox to find decent stories for Henie and the excuses for the lavish ice dancing numbers were often implausible. No matter. Audiences did not flock to her films to watch Sonja recite Shakespeare. The movies were meant to be pure escapist fantasy, plain & simple.

HAPPY LANDING is no exception and its story is often quite silly - any film which relies on a striptease by comic Wally Vernon to supply a few chuckles seems a bit too eager to plunge into burlesque. However, the moments on the ice never bore and the co-stars are rather interesting.

As the manager, Don Ameche is stolid & faintly dour throughout, as though he rather disapproved of the entire proceedings. More fun is raffish Cesar Romero as the zany bandleader, who gives his natural proclivity for frivolity full rein - especially when teamed with brassy singer Ethel Merman. And although her songs are rather lackluster, there is nothing shy or demure about the way Merman steamrollers her way through her scenes.

Gentle Jean Hersholt usually provided an aura of quiet dignity to his films, but here, as Sonja's rather foolish papa, he does himself no favors. He must have been grateful to have been allowed to disappear from the film early on. Much funnier are Billy Gilbert as a diner owner desperate to serve pot roast, and dialect comedian El Brendel as an ice rink band conductor. In their single scenes each shows how to effortlessly steal the attention of the audience for a few moments.

Movie mavens will recognize an uncredited Lon Chaney Jr. as a reporter near the end of the film.

Ultimately, though, this is Sonja's show. She glides effortlessly into the viewer's heart, while balancing on a thin edge of silver suspended over frozen water.


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