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Silver Skates (1943)

6.4
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Claire (Patricia Morison), owner of an ice-show, faces bankruptcy because Belita (Belita), star of the show, is about to leave and marry her sweetheart Tom (Henry Wadsworth). Danny (Kenny ... See full summary »

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Title: Silver Skates (1943)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kenny Baker ...
Danny Donovan
Belita ...
Belita
Patricia Morison ...
Claire Thomas
Werner Groebli ...
Frick, Comedy Skating Act Frick and Frack
Hans Mauch ...
Frack, Comedy Skating Act Frick and Frack
Irene Dare ...
Juvenile Skater Katrina
Danny Shaw ...
Juvenile Skater Billy Baxter
Eugene Turner ...
1941 National Skating Champion
...
Lucille
...
Eddie
Paul McVey ...
Roscoe Hayes
John Maxwell ...
Blake
Henry Wadsworth ...
Tom
George Stewart ...
Jitterbug Skater
Joann Dean ...
Jo Ann Dean, Jitterbug Skater (as Jo Ann Dean)
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Storyline

Claire (Patricia Morison), owner of an ice-show, faces bankruptcy because Belita (Belita), star of the show, is about to leave and marry her sweetheart Tom (Henry Wadsworth). Danny (Kenny Baker), singer with the show, and Claire are in love but Claire refuses to wed until she can get the show back on its feet. Katrina (Irene Dare), 10-year-old orphaned refugee from Holland, comes to the show looking for her uncle, now in the service. Claire wants to adopt the girl but has to be married, so she decides to accept Danny's proposal. He, however, has been making a play for Belita, hoping to keep her with the show. Belita quarrels with her fiancee and Danny soon, and unintentionally, finds himself engaged to both Claire and Belita. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ice skating

Genres:

Musical | Sport

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 February 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Patins de Prata  »

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Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Love Is a Beautiful Song
Written by Dave Oppenheim (as David Oppenheim) and Roy Ingraham
Sung by Kenny Baker with the Ted Fio Rito Orchestra
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User Reviews

 
Soapsuds on the ice, starring Frick & Frack
13 February 2004 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

Figure-skating isn't the most promising basis for a film, nor for an acting career. Esther Williams's movie stardom was based on swimming, but at least MGM could just occasionally hang a decent plot line on that talent. Until somebody makes a movie about Tonya Harding, I don't think I'll ever see a genuinely exciting movie about figure-skating. (Don't let's mention 'Ice Follies of 1939', one of the worst movies ever made.)

In American movies, the most famous skater was Sonja Henie, whilst England had Belita. Both women were blonde and attractive with it, especially in their short-skirted cozzies and high-topped skates. Apart from their skating techniques, the biggest difference between these two ladies on screen was their personalities. Henie always played a 'good girl' type: a frosted ice-virgin who didn't seem aware of her own nubile appeal. Belita, on the other hand, was sexy and she knew it. There's a big production number in 'Silver Skates' in which Belita does some spectacular ice-dancing, then she finishes by striking a proud pose at the centre of the rink and running her hands down the front of her own shapely torso while she throws her head backwards in rapture. This is clearly a lady who's very comfortable with her own body.

I wish that 'Silver Skates' gave more screen time to the beauteous Belita and less time to its ridiculous soap-opera plot. During WW2, Hollywood made a lot of movies depicting America's homefront, in which the characters briefly pay lip-service to the war effort before immersing themselves in a plot line entirely unrelated to the war. 'Silver Skates' is one of those films. Hitler and Stalin are carving up Europe, but the characters in this movie are more concerned about staging an ice carnival. The presence in the States of the English-born Belita (given nearly no dialogue, alas) is attributed to wartime problems back home. Apart from this, the only wartime reference in this movie is a very brief appearance by a war refugee: a little Dutch girl named Katrina (played by a Yank child actress) whose residency in America has been sponsored by Claire (the ice-show's producer) because Katrina is such a good skater. I guess if she couldn't skate, she would still be back in Rotterdam fending off the Nazis. Claire is played by Patricia Morison, a Broadway actress (she starred in the original 'Kiss Me Kate') whose film career never took off.

Apart from Belita's scenes, the most interesting things about 'Silver Skates' are a couple of brief skating turns by Frick and Frack, the comedy ice-skaters. The first time I ever heard of Frick and Frack was when Jackie Gleason did a comedy routine about a (fictitious) vaudeville act with that name, so I assumed that Frick and Frack were American vaudevillains. It turns out they were European, and they got a surprising amount of comedic mileage out of their ice-skating gimmick. Frick was tall and lanky with it, the moustached Frack was short and slightly-built. Their most impressive gag takes advantage of their disparate physiques: the two men skate directly towards each other, in trajectories so rapid that neither man can turn aside. A collision seems imminent. At the last instant, Frick spreads his feet and Frack ducks. Frack goes *between* Frick's legs, then both men straighten again. This is done so quickly that it very nearly looks as if they went right through each other! Frick and Frack perform this gag *twice* in 'Silver Skates', and they do it so skilfully that it's just as funny the second time as the first. (After Frack's death, his partner continued to perform as a single-act named Mister Frick.)

Unfortunately, the skating routines (and Belita's good looks) are the only high points in this film. For most of its screen time, we get a banal soap-opera plot about people marrying one another for contrived reasons. Will the ice show go on, or not? (Take a wild guess.) Kenny Baker stinks up this movie with his presence. Kenny Baker was a 'singer' who appeared in several big-budget musicals of the '30s and '40s, but he's invariably the dullest performer on screen in each of his movies. In 'Silver Skates', Kenny Baker never sets foot on the ice rink, but I kept hoping the ice would crack open long enough for him to fall through and drown.

'Silver Skates' would make a great ice-skating short if somebody would cut out all the argle-bargle subplots and just leave the skating routines by Belita, Frick and Frack and that little Dutch girl. As it stands, I'll rate this movie only 5 out of 10.


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