|WINTERTIME (director: John Brahm; screenwriters: E. Edwin Moran/Jack Jevne and Lynn Starling/from a story by Arthur Kober; cinematographers: Glen MacWilliams/Joe MacDonald; editor: Louis Loeffler; music: Leo Robin/Nacio Herb Brown; cast: Sonja Henie (Nora), Jack Oakie (Skip Hutton), Cesar Romero (Brad Barton), S. Z. Sakall (Hjalmar Ostgaard), Cornel Wilde (Freddy Austin), Helene Reynolds (Marian Daly), Carole Landis (Flossie), Don Douglas (Mr. Rogers), Woody Herman (Himself, Band Leader); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Le Baron; 20th Century-Fox Cinema Archives; 1943)|
|"A sub-par Sonja Henie
vehicle that still manages to skate
through its charmless love story without
falling on its face."
by Dennis Schwartz
sub-par Sonja Henie vehicle that still
manages to skate through its charmless love story
without falling on its face. Director John Brahm ("The
Locket"/"Face to Face"/ "Singapore") invigorates the
stiff musical comedy with a few amusing slapstick
sketches, but can't skate out of trouble entirely with
such a childish love story. The pic is most animated
when Henie is on ice. Otherwise it's pleasant enough
fluff, that treats the Nazi invasion of Norway as just
so much more fluff. It's based on a story by Arthur
Kober, and is painlessly written by E.
Edwin Moran, Jack Jevne and Lynn Starling.
save the old Chateau Promenade from foreclosure, the
Canadian hotel's economically strapped co-owner Skip
Hutton (Jack Oakie) manages to divert the train of
Norwegian refugees, the Norwegian ice champion Nora (Sonja
Henie) and her millionaire uncle Ostgaard
(S. Z. Sakall), from staying at Canada's
finest hotel, the Chateau Frontenac,
Quebec, to unwittingly staying at his
rundown but scenic winter wonderland hotel. Co-owner
Freddy Austin (Cornel Wilde) meets their
train and falls in love with Nora at first sight.
Since she likewise falls in love and wishes to stay in
the hotel to get to know Freddy better, she lets on to
Skip that Uncle once bought a hotel in Oslo just to
fire a rude clerk. The next morning Skip schemes to
get Uncle to buy the hotel just to fire the irritating
hotel singer Brad Barton (Cesar Romero), who acts as a
rude room service waiter when promised by Skip that he
will receive his back pay immediately for this service
and thereby spills hot coffee on Uncle.
problem arises when the influential editor of a
popular winter sports magazine, Marian Daly (Helene
Reynolds), comes to the new owner's hotel to
watch Nora perform on ice, and Freddy fawns over her
to get a good review for the hotel. Nora saves the
hotel, as the hotel is fully booked to catch her act.
But through a misunderstanding over Freddy's attention
to the editor, the love-birds break-up. Meanwhile
Brad, still on the payroll, resorts to hiding from the
new owner by being in disguise, runs from his
possessively jealous love interest and singing
partner Flossie (Carole Landis), but
dumps her when he gets a chance to court Nora. The
other problem is that Uncle's assets, all in Norway,
are frozen during the Nazi occupation, and he needs
money to run the hotel's modernization program and pay
off the bills. Uncle thereby encourages Nora to accept
from big-time NYC ice show promoter, Mr Rogers (Don
Douglas), his generous offer for her to star in
his ice special.
Henie does a ballroom dance, accompanied by
Mr. Romero to the tune "Later Tonight," but she's
much more entertaining when on ice.
This is the last of Henie's musicals for Fox, and it's too bad it turned out so routine.
REVIEWED ON 9/25/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ