Thin Ice, 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.
Smooth Skating With Sonja Henie
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. 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. Some of today’s snowflake princesses could still learn a great deal from her.
The plot of THIN ICE is utterly ludicrous, but this was never meant to be anything but escapist fare. All that’s required of Sonja is that she smile & skate, which she manages very nicely. Her routines based on themes inspired by Old Russia & ‘The Tales of the Vienna Woods’ are particularly pleasing.
Tyrone Power, 20th Century Fox’s young prince, plays Sonja’s love interest. He exhibits much of the boyish charm which was about to make him a major celebrity.
Supporting the two stars is a flurry of wonderful character actors: stiff-upper-lipped Arthur Treacher, conniving Raymond Walburn, blustery Alan Hale, frantic Melville Cooper, Sig Rumann, George Givot & Greta Meyer. Slapstick comedienne Joan Davis surfaces long enough to sing a couple of wacky songs, most notably ‘I’m Olga From The Volga.’
Ultimately, though, this is Sonja’s show. She glides into the viewer’s heart, while balancing on a thin edge of silver over frozen water.