1 February 2004 | Doylenf
ICELAND attempts to duplicate the success of "Sun Valley Serenade"...
20th Century-Fox showed little imagination when they decided to team SONJA HENIE and JOHN PAYNE again after the huge success of SUN VALLEY SERENADE. Unfortunately, it doesn't work this time, despite the presence of some likable supporting players and Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra.
The gave a wartime slant to the story by having John Payne as a stubborn marine in love with a flirtatious Norwegian skater (Henie) who sets her cap for him despite a series of misunderstandings and mishaps. Add a band like Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra, a couple of potential hit ballads ("There Will Never Be Another You" and "I Love A Military Man") and a little comic relief (Jack Oakie, Sterling Holloway) and you have a formula for a successful Fox musical.
Not so. Everything about the plot seems like nothing more than filler material to fill in between skating interludes. Henie smiles her dimpled smile and and goes through her part with her usual enthusiasm but this time the romance with John Payne is as weak as the silly storyline that has him duped into pretending they're married.
The film's biggest compensations are the skating sequences and here the star is shown in pretty costumes during an extensive and rather extravagant routine in which she skates to various tempos of popular music--but there are just too many dull stretches and limp comic moments between skating to bring the film up to SUN VALLEY SERENADE's standard.
The supporting cast can't be blamed. Felix Brassert, Stanley Holloway (uncredited) and Jack Oakie are all up to the comedy relief their roles offer and do their best with some passable material.
Nevertheless, the film was a huge money-maker for Fox due to the commercial success of Henie's previous hit--but be warned. It's no "Sun Valley Serenade". If you don't expect too much, perhaps Sonja's big skating number will be worth waiting for.