|THE ICE FOLLIES OF 1939 (director: Reinhold Schunzel; screenwriters: story by Leonard Praskins/Leonard PraskinsFlorence Ryerson/Edgar Allan Woolf ; cinematographer: Joseph Ruttenberg; editor: W Donn Hayes; music: Roger Edens; cast: Joan Crawford (Mary McKay), James Stewart (Larry Hall), Lew Ayres (Eddie Burgess), Lewis Stone (Douglas Tolliver), Bess Ehrhardt (Kitty Sherman), Lionel Stander (Mort Hodges), Charles D. Brown (Barney), Truman Bradley (Melvyn Rodney), Marie Blake (Effie Lane) and The International Ice Follies with Bess Ehrhardt, Roy Shipshad, Eddie Shipshad and Oscar Johnson; Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harry Rapf; WB Archive Collection (MGM); 1939)|
musical romantic comedy that skates on thin
by Dennis Schwartz
lavish musical romantic comedy that skates on thin
ice. It was shot in black and white except for the
final seventeen-minutes shot in Technicolor, as it
presented a portion of the Cinderella
fantasy by the International Ice Follies. The script
by Leonard Praskins, Florence Ryerson and Edgar
Allan Woolf, is based on the story by Praskins. The
story is only secondary to the ice show. German-born
filmmaker Reinhold Schunzel ("The Irene
Girl"/"Melody Master"/"Cairo Season") never makes the
story seem believable or exciting. The result is both
a box office flop and a critically savaged film.
Hall (James Stewart) and Eddie Burgess (Lew Ayres) are
partners as professional showbiz ice skaters in LA.
When Mary McKay (Joan Crawford) joins the act, the
trio can't keep the small jobs they once had. On an
impulse, after being fired, Larry marries Mary. Eddie
tries to put on a happy face. Meanwhile Mary contacts
a big-time Hollywood producer (Lewis Stone) over a
fender-bender incident and after telling him she's not
interested in getting an acting job winds up starring
in the producer's next film, and when that's a hit is
signed with a lucrative contract for another film.
Eddie leaves for the East, and Larry feels useless
doing domestic duty. Soon Larry also splits for the
East. By accident the former partners meet in NYC in
the office of producer Mort Hodges (Lionel Stander)
and reunite. Larry finally gets to do his impresario
thing and his Ice Follies show is a hit.
Everything works out for the couple, who find a way to reunite, which is strictly Hollywood mush. Of the two songs Joan sings that were not deleted from the film, her voice is dubbed by Jeanette MacDonald.
REVIEWED ON 5/23/2015 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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