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Thin Ice (1937)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 3 September 1937 (USA)
A Swiss hotel's ski instructor falls in love with a man who goes skiing every morning.


Sidney Lanfield


Boris Ingster (screenplay), Milton Sperling (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sonja Henie ... Lili Heiser
Tyrone Power ... Prince Rudolph
Arthur Treacher ... Nottingham
Raymond Walburn ... Uncle Dornik
Joan Davis ... Orchestra Leader
Sig Ruman ... Prime Minister Ulricht (as Sig Rumann)
Alan Hale ... Baron
Leah Ray ... Singer
Melville Cooper ... Krantz
Maurice Cass Maurice Cass ... Count
George Givot ... Alex
Greta Meyer ... Martha
Egon Brecher Egon Brecher ... Janitor
Torben Meyer ... Chauffeur
George Davis George Davis ... Waiter


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 <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

3 September 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le Prince X See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


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 »


Referenced in Hollywood Steps Out (1941) See more »


Jingle Bells
Written by James Pierpont
Played as background music several times
See more »

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User Reviews

The Prince and the Ice Skater
25 December 2016 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

THIN ICE (20th Century-Fox, 1937), directed by Sidney Lanfield, stars Olympic skating champion, Sonja Henie, in her second ice skating musical and her first of two opposite the studio's then rising young leading actor by the name of Tyrone Power. With screenplay by Boris Ingster and Milton Sperling, it's basically fluff-type material consisting of mistaken identity between two people highlighted by song and ice skating production sequences that was no doubt back in 1937 to be another sure winner for the One in a Million Sonja Henie.

Plot Summary: Christmas is fast approaching in the Swiss Alps but at 82 degrees, there seems to be no signs of snow in the forecast. With three weeks before the season, Herr Kratz (Melville Cooper), manager of the Grand Hotel Imperial of St. Christoph, prays for a miracle of snow so Christmas will find his empty hotel full of ski going guests. A miracle does happen: Nottingham (Arthur Treacher), the butler to Prince Rudolph (Tyrone Power), makes reservations for 81 rooms and three suites for an upcoming convention shortly before the much needed snow starts falling down from the clouds above. Some time later, Prince Rudolph and Nottingham arrive by train. After coming to the Grand Hotel Imperial on wheelchair pretending to be sick, Rudolph sneaks away with his servant to the quaint Billage Inn where he remains to have his privacy. While on the ski slopes, he encounters Lily Heiser (Sonja Henie), a skating instructor at the Grand Hotel. Unaware of his identity, the prince passes himself off as Rudy Miller, a newspaper man covering the convention at the hotel where she works. After Lily is seen returning to the hotel exiting the prince's royal car driven by her chauffeur boyfriend, Alex (George Givot), rumors spread rapidly throughout the village of Lily being romantically involved with the prince. Feeling this news to be good publicity for his hotel business, Krantz allows Lily to display her skating skills to the guests at the hotel's ice skating musical programs. With Lily is a bit confused by all the attention and gifted presents, she claims to have never even met the prince before. Later Lily finds herself being watched by some elderly gentleman in the audience bearing bushy mustache and glasses during her slating exhibitions, unaware it's Rudy in disguise, leading to a series of complicated events for all. Also in the cast are Raymond Walburn (Lily's Uncle Dornic); Sig Ruman (Prime Minister Ulrich); Alan Hale (The Baron); Maurice Cass (The Count); and Greta Meyer (Martha). Look fast for Lon Chaney Jr., a few years before his Universal horror fame of the 1940s, glimpsed as one of the newspaper reporters.

New songs by Lew Pollack and Sidney Mitchell are as follows: "Over Night" (vocalized over opening credits); "My Secret Love Affair" (sung by Leah Ray); "Olga of the Volga" (by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel, sung by Joan Davis); "The Polovetsian Dances" from PRINCE IGOR (skating number with Sonja Henie and ensemble); "My Swiss Hilly-Billy" (sung in comic fashion by Joan Davis); "Tales of the Vienna Woods" (by Johann Strauss/skate number with by Henie); and "Over Night" (finale, sung by chorus, skate number with Henie). Leah Ray offers a beautiful rendition to "My Secret Love Affair," a title tune that might have served better as its movie title considering the royalty meets commoner theme involved. Skating numbers, choreographed by Harry Losee, is well staged with Henie, naturally, as its center of attention.

Formerly broadcast on commercial (1960s) and later public television (1980s, where the closing cast credits was edited), THIN ICE would come to pass again in its entirety on video cassette and DVD, plus cable television availability as American Movie Classics (1992-93, and 2001) and occasionally on Fox Movie Channel where other Henie musicals are shown.

THIN ICE is short (77 minutes), sweet and to the point romantic fairy tale type caper with Henie and Power appearing to be enjoying their assignment together as they would again in the second film together of SECOND FIDDLE (1939). While the plotting may be a bit thin with ice only part of the skating sequences, there's enough entertainment to go around for anyone's enjoyment. (***1/2)

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