(director: H. Bruce Humberstone; screenwriters: Robert Ellis/Helen Logan; cinematographer: Arthur C. Miller; editor: James B. Clark; music: Mack Gordon; cast: Sonja Henie (Katina Jonsdottir), John Payne (Corp. James Murfin), Jack Oakie (Slip Riggs), Felix Bressart (Papa Jonsdottir), Osa Massen (Helga Jonsdottier), Joan Merrill (Adele Wynn), Fritz Feld (Herr Tegner), Sterling Holloway (Sverdrup Svensson), Duke Adlon (Valtyr Olafson), Sammy Kaye (Himself, leader of the Sammy Kaye Orchestra); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William LeBaron; Twentieth Century-Fox Film; 1942)
“An upbeat escapist wartime romantic/comedy musical that skates along thin ice and relies on the pixie charm and skating turns by Sonja Henie to stay upright.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An upbeat escapist wartime romantic/comedy musical that skates along thin ice and relies on the pixie charm and skating turns by Sonja Henie to stay upright. Norway’s Sonja Henie won Olympic gold medals for her skating in 1928, 1932 & 1936 and then the ice queen turned to Hollywood to make a number of similar typed lightweight pictures that highlighted her affability, good looks and skating skills. Iceland is directed with workmanlike efficiency and patriotic fervor for the USA by H. Bruce Humberstone (“Hello, Frisco, Hello”/”Sun Valley Serenade”/”Pin-Up Girl”) and written by Robert Ellis and Helen Logan. The Sammy Kaye Orchestra introduces the film’s hit song ‘There Will Never Be Another You.’
During WW II the marines are stationed in Reykjavik, Iceland, and ladies man Corporal James Murfin (John Payne) picks up local sweetie pie Katina Jonsdottir (Sonja Henie), who is not happy with her dull gentleman caller Sverdrup Svensson (Sterling Holloway) and tries to put off his advances by making up a story about a prior suitor in Switzerland who kissed her. A mixup occurs when Sverdrup sees Katina dancing at the Hotel Jorg with Murfin and assumes he’s the lover from Switzerland and reluctantly steps out of the picture. Things take a more serious turn when Katina introduces Murfin to her family and they plan their oldest daughter’s marriage so that the younger daughter Helga (Osa Massen) can marry Valtyr Olafson, whose wealthy father insists on adhering to an old tradition that the elder sister must marry first.
Murfin conspires with his army buddy Slip Riggs (Jack Oakie) to discourage Katina from going through with any wedding plans involving him, even introducing her to the nightclub singer Adele Wynn (Joan Merrill) who was his old flame that he jilted for another. By the third act Murfin is head over heels in love with Katina and all the previous plot machinations are forgotten as they decide to tie the knot. To say everything about this farce was unreal, is tell you all you want to know about this entertaining but superficial pic.
REVIEWED ON 5/12/2008 GRADE: C+