23 August 2017 | kevinolzak
Sonja Henie's third Hollywood feature
1938's "Happy Landing" marked Darryl Zanuck's third serving of Sonja Henie on ice, Olympic skating champion-turned Hollywood sensation, her vehicles filled with light froth, musical numbers, and, of course, elaborate skating routines carefully choreographed by the star herself. Already quite wealthy, Sonja appeared to have more leeway with Zanuck so far as salary goes, but demands for dramatic material met with understandable resistance. At over 100 minutes it's just too much for one sitting, despite likable players such as Cesar Romero, Ethel Merman, and Don Ameche, who apparently despised Sonja as much as she hated him. Audiences didn't care about offscreen squabbles so long as they got to see plenty of skating, quite well done as expected, but the numbers leave much to be desired, Ethel Merman soon to abandon Hollywood for her first love, the stage. Among the unbilled newspaper reporters are Herold Goodwin, Robert Lowery, and Lon Chaney, the latter still struggling to make a name at Fox, essentially wasted in bits like this for two years and 30 films. Seen only at the 90 minute mark, Chaney gets a few inconsequential lines before rushing off to his next assignment, rarely credited on screen during this forgettable period (he'd already encountered Sonja Henie in her previous film, "Thin Ice," in an even more worthless reporter bit).