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  • Spondonman1 May 2005
    I've always liked this Abbott & Costello outing, probably ranking it just in their top ten - but I really don't know why! The story is so contrived and abounding with plot leaps and non-sequiteurs I wonder what everyone was thinking about in the making and release of this. I think it must be the fun and inconsequential atmosphere created so effortlessly by Universal studios during the War that brings me back to re-watch Hit The Ice every few years, along with my love of A&C of course.

    Basically: 2 photographers are mixed up in bank robbery, the main perp of which is laid up as ill in hospital as an alibi. His doctor is going to Sun Valley to take up a new post, so the gangsters tag along with him taking the suspicious nurse in tow - plus A&C trying to clear their names. Ignoring all the plot inanities along the way, this would be a pleasant but ordinary comedy with ditto songs - which were beautifully produced and evocative of the time, but not very catchy. But A&C's packing and re-packing the grip routine still holds up well even with the overly childish conclusion to it. It's also a film that can be watched credulously at 10 years old, in middle age the link to the Keystone Kops is sadly more apparent - who finds them a Laugh Riot nowadays? On the other hand compared to Blazing Saddles (the personal yardstick that I regularly use to gauge the worth of various films) this is a beautiful work of Art - seriously!

    So the bottom line is if like me you can overlook plot and you like A&C then you'll do alright, if not, well, it's definitely not their best anyway!
  • Photographers Flash and Tubby believe they have land a paying job when they agree to cover a group of men coming out of a bank. Little do they know that the men are bank robbers who have mistaken the two for hired guns, booked to cover the entrance during the job. They discovery this too late and suddenly find themselves suspected of the robbery themselves. With only the photographs they took as leverage, the two follow the crooks to a mountain ski resort where they plan to expose them and clear their own names.

    Abbott & Costello are always a duo I come back to but yet they are also a duo that tend to deliver solid amusement rather than great films. Hit the Ice is another one of those because it is roundly "ok" even if it does have some bits that capture why people love these two. The plot is a simple affair with the usual misunderstandings and scrapes along the way but it does work, providing the love interest for Costello to flirt with and also the tough guys for him to face off against. There are a few routines that are good fun like the "teller" one or the bit where Costello packs and unpacks repeatedly, while the pratfalls and chases are amusing and are done with energy. It doesn't have enough to be considered a great film or anything but it is amusing enough to please fans and also children.

    The film is padded far too much with musical numbers. You expect one or maybe two but there are loads of them here and they never feel like anything other than filler. Abbott and Costello are both on pretty good form here, they feel like they are working well off one another – with Costello in particular putting effort into his falls and double-takes. Simms' songs perhaps don't appeal but she certainly does – stunningly beautiful and she has an easy screen presence that helps as well – I feel for Knox who has to compete but doesn't really. Leonard is fun as the main villain while Knowles is about as vanilla and dull as he could have been.

    Overall this is an OK piece of comedy that fans will like as well as kids. There are a couple of funny routines and, although it has too much of it, the pratfall-style comedy is OK too. The musical numbers are overused and slow the film down but at least you get to look at Simms while they are on (well, mostly). Solid but unremarkable.
  • Hit The Ice was Universal Studio's attempt to cash in on the popularity of 20th Century Fox's Sun Valley Serenade which mixed swing music with Sonja Henie's ice skating. Universal didn't have an ice skater of the caliber of Sonja Henie, but they did have Abbott&Costello and Costello on the ice was a sight to see.

    As for the swing music, Glenn Miller and his Orchestra were in Sun Valley Serenade and Universal didn't have them either. By this time Glenn Miller had gone to war. So they hired one of the good second line swing orchestras of the period led by violinist Johnny Long. And they also acquired Ginny Simms one of the best female singers from the Forties to appear with Long.

    However first and foremost the film is an Abbott&Costello effort and the boys do come through. They're first free lance photographers who take a picture of gangsters Sheldon Leonard, Marc Lawrence, and Joe Sawyer robbing a bank while Leonard is supposed to be in a hospital. Leonard's set up careful alibi about that even with doctor Patric Knowles and nurse Elyse Knox suspicious. Costello's camera work threatens to blow up some best laid plans.

    The whole cast winds up at Sun Valley during the ski season, setting up a most excellent chase sequence with the boys and the crooks going down slope. We're not quite sure who's chasing who, but the loot from the robbery is involved.

    Bud and Lou do some very good work. Sad to say that the film was badly edited and there are some plot problems because of it. Towards the end you see the boys in tuxedos waiting for Ginny Simms at a train station with no real explanation as to why they're in the formal wear. Simms also gets to play straight girl for the boys, part of her role is to vamp Costello and she does a good job. All that beauty and an incredible set of pipes.

    Hit The Ice is not one of their best efforts, but still better than some of what they did in the Fifties and should please Bud and Lou's strong legion of fans the world over.
  • ...but dangerously close.

    However, there is still enough here to keep the grin on the face and there is still a high production value within the structure, if only the same could be said of the writing! I tend to feel with Abbott & Costello movies it pays to take a break for a few months and then go back to further viewings refreshed and not feeling a sense of seen this before repetitiveness.

    This one sees the boys as photographers who unwittingly get mixed up in a bank robbery and have to flee to a ski resort to hopefully prove their innocence. The usual pratfalls are abound as Tubby constantly loses his pants, gets his bum set on fire, skis with a grizzly bear, and of course he tries to woo the pretty lady by bluffing he can play the piano. Music comes courtesy of Ginny Simms and the Johnny Long Orchestra, with stoic supporting acting duties falling to Patric Knowles, Elyse Knox and the always great Sheldon Leonard as the chief villain.

    Not close to being in the top five outings from the guys, but certainly an above average offering showing glimpses of just why they really were a special talent back in the day. 6/10
  • dougdoepke23 February 2012
    Underrated A&C slapstick. The boys are photographers who get mixed up with bank robbers, ending up in a whirlwind ski run at Sun Valley. It's a darn near perfect mix of Costello prat-falls, big band tunes, and mock theatrics. Note how Lou often plays to the camera, acknowledging our presence in humorous fashion.

    Plus, it's a great supporting cast of baddies, including a menacing Sheldon Leonard, a sinister Marc Lawrence, and a thuggish Joe Sawyer. And get a load of songstress Ginny Simms-. I'd stamp her name on my fuselage any day. Then there's the sweetly pretty Elyse Knox who, unfortunately, passed away just a short time ago.

    Happily, the gags fly thick and fast in a script loaded with clever gimmicks, such as the handkerchief trick that's no sure thing as Lou finds out. Plus, there's the ice rink that made me appreciate what an expert athlete Costello is despite his ungainly appearance.

    Anyway, the material is fresh, the boys are energetic, and the pacing is snappy, making this a top-notch entry in the A&C sweepstakes.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is an odd formula for an Abbott and Costello film. Instead of their usual locale, they find themselves going to the ski resort at Sun Valley to track some bank robbers, as the police think Bud and Lou did it. And, once they arrive at the resort, the viewers are treated to lots of song and dance numbers performed by Ginny Simms. The overall effect is a lot like taking a Sonja Henie film and shoving Abbott and Costello and some gangsters into it--a rather surreal experience to say the least!

    Like almost all of the teams prior films (aside from WHO DONE IT!), the film follows a typical formula. In addition to Bud and Lou's antics, there is a couple on hand for support (Patric Knowles is back from a previous outing with the boys and Elyse Knox is there a 'the blonde'--something found in all their previous films) and there are too many irrelevant song and dance numbers. People looking for pure Abbott and Costello without all the other rigmarole should either see their later films (which, fortunately lacked this) or WHO DONE IT!.

    Unfortunately, because this is set at a snow resort and apparently Bud and Lou apparently knew nothing about skiing or skating (either that or the studio was afraid they'd get hurt), the scenes of them doing these sports seem rather forced. When Lou is skating, it's pretty obviously not him and they tended to use lots of distance shots (the stuntman was actually too fat--and obviously not him). He did actually take a few good, hard falls up close but most of the work was clearly the stuntman. For the skiing scenes, they used a few stuntman shots but a lot of it was done with rear-projection--a common but incredibly unrealistic method of the day. This is a problem, as the film has less laughs and makes up for it by using more stunts--so this is obviously not one of their better films. It is still very watchable but certainly among their lesser efforts of the day.
  • I would like these sorts of movies a lot better if they didn't have the musical scenes. I watch these movies strictly to laugh. Certainly plenty of scenes made me laugh (namely the snowball scene). One can imagine being a fairly intelligent guy like Abbott's character always having to deal with a brainless sap like Costello's character and how annoying it would be.

    So, even though the singing drags the movie down, I recommend it overall. Pretty entertaining.

    Tied up for a while indeed...

    PS: Sheldon Leonard, who played Silky, later produced "The Danny Thomas Show" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show". He also provided his voice to Robert McKimson's cartoons "Kiddin' the Kitten" and "A Peck o' Trouble" as a lazy cat who tries to make a kitten do his work.
  • In this film, the boys are photographers who are mistaken for hired killers by bank robbers. A&C provide some funny moments, including the "All right" piano bit and the "Pack, Unpack" routine.

    Despite giving their best efforts, this film ranks as their weakest starring vehicle among their films from 1941 to 1943. There are two main reasons: first, the story and situations are contrived to the point of annoyance; the plotline relies on people constantly bumping into old friends. In the film, A&C meet up with Patrick Knowles whom they haven't seen in years, then they bump into old friend Johnny Long; Ginny Simms conveniently knows gangster Sheldon Leonard...and so on. Second, the musical numbers are back. One would think that Universal learned their lesson with the success of "Who Done It?" by having no numbers, but they are here, and there are plenty of them. Ginny Simms is a lovely lady with a great voice, but the movie boggs down by the sheer number of songs. (It doesn't help that she's no actress.)

    The supporting cast is fine, and A&C truly give the material their best. But it's not enough to save the film, considering the contrived situations and musical numbers. 4 out of 10.
  • www112515 April 2011
    Not one of Abbott and Costello's best, but it still manages to be above average. The film certainly ranks above a lot of their later films, and it captures them still in their prime, and it's the last time Costello has the same perfect quality he had in their previous films(after this film, Lou was stricken with rheumatic fever, and recovered only to have his baby boy drown two days prier to his first birthday. After these events, Lou was never quite the same. He was always hilarious and lovable, he just had a difficult time giving his all to the parts anymore.) The ice skating scene is a Lou Costello highlight, as is the ski scene. This film also features the best version of "Pack/Unpack".
  • The snowball that was Bud Abbott and Lou Costello was only getting bigger by the time they made this mistaken-identity farce in 1943, even if their variety-show-with-slapstick formula was beginning to wear thin.

    Tubby (Lou) and Flash (Bud) are enterprising city photographers who somehow get mistaken for hoods from Detroit by a trio of bank robbers faking a hospital stay for a post-heist alibi. The five of them all wind up at a ski resort in Sun Valley, where Tubby and Flash try to stay alive and one step ahead of discovery. It's a daunting task for any duo, especially these two.

    The weaknesses of "Hit The Ice" are immediately apparent, and make for some tedious moments, particularly in the first half. Whether it's getting stuck on a fire ladder or falling out of a speeding ambulance, the need to give their audience what they wanted pushes the envelope of believability early and often. As a caper comedy, "Hit The Ice" is neither as clever nor as intriguing as the Boys' prior efforts.

    At least the bad guys are fun. As played by Sheldon Leonard (Silky), Marc Lawrence (Phil), and Joe Sawyer (Buster), they make for worthy foils. Leonard was the prince of hoods in movies for a long time, and Lawrence even longer, as he made a mark in "Key Largo" and "The Man With The Golden Gun" almost 30 years apart. Sawyer has a nice bit with Lou where he is challenged to stand on a handkerchief and hit Tubby, which he does, even with a door between them.

    The mistaken-identity angle at least is good fun. Mistaken for hit men, the pair talk airily about "shooting" several people already that day. "We got to make a living, don't we?" Flash says. Somehow, the hoods buy this.

    To pad out the movie, there are several musical interludes, which prove real loyalty tests for A&C fans today. To be fair, the pair are only a little better even doing their routines, like the "Pack/Unpack" sequence and a bit where Lou pretends to play the piano to impress Ginny Simms as the band singer Marcia. These are fitfully amusing, but too obviously shoehorned in.

    Silky is being looked after by a doctor played by Yorkshireman Patric Knowles, who it turns out grew up on 18th Street with Tubby and Flash. Bandleader Johnny Long also grew up there, which is how Tubby and Flash find work in Sun Valley. Given Long's strong Southern accent, 18th Street must have been very long.

    The whole film has a slapdash quality to it. When it's on, it's okay, but it never rises to the level of A&C's best material. Knowles' character (Dr. Burns in the movie, Dr. Elliot in the end credits) has a chippy relationship with Elyse Knox's nurse character, who somehow puts up with his insulting demeanor long enough to fall in love with him. Everyone gets a girl by the end except Tubby, which is supposed to be funny somehow.

    At least the finale, a ski chase sequence, delivers some of the movie's best moments, incorporating sled dogs, a skunk, a rabbit, a bear, a mining hat, a bag with the stolen goods, and the aforementioned handkerchief trick.

    "Hit The Ice" was the last A&C movie made before the pair began to lose their stature as top box-office draws and personal tragedy began rocking their boat. One wishes it could have been better under the circumstances, instead of a by-the-numbers assembly-line project, but it still amuses enough in places to keep you watching, if not as happily as in the halcyon days of "Buck Privates" or "Hold That Ghost."
  • LeRoyMarko6 December 2001
    Fun Abbott & Costello movie! In this one, they play photographs who get tangled in a bank robbery. Funny scenes like the one where Costello is packing and unpacking. Or the one where they're skiing down the hill. Or even the one on the ice rink. Look also for a small bit by Mantan Moreland. That guy is so funny!

    On the negative side, there's a bit too much singing in this one. Why turned this into a half-musical when the jokes and pirouettes of our two guys are enough?

    Out of 100, I gave it 79. That's good for *** on a **** stars rating system.

    Seen at home, in Welland, on December 6th, 2001.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Almost lost in Abbott & Costello's prodigious output of the early forties is a funny little movie called 'Hit The Ice.' It's easy to see why it's been overlooked; in one two-year period, 1941-42, the team came out with EIGHT new films. After that, they slowed down to a more reasonable pace of two to three movies a year. And while 'Hit The Ice' isn't as well-known as the earlier 'Buck Privates' or the later classic, 'Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein,' it shows the duo still at a peak of humor and popularity, operating like a well-oiled machine, turning out hit comedy after hit comedy. If there was a problem, it was the obvious strain on the comedians and their writers to come up with enough new funny material to sustain such a production schedule. This is why A&C films almost inevitably feel 'padded,' with too much attention paid to either a pair of young lovers or musical numbers. In 'Hit The Ice,' it's definitely the latter. The big band singer Ginny Simms has way too much screen time, singing five songs (or maybe six; forgive me for not counting), which is all the more unforgivable as none of them are memorable and a couple are stupid beyond belief. There is one sung at an ice-skating rink called 'The Slap-Happy Polka,' during which the women skating periodically slap their partners. And no, unfortunately it does not evoke a Monty Pythonesque sense of humor. Abbott & Costello though have a number of funny scenes and the film starts off with a couple of the best. Playing photographers who hope to prove their worth to the local newspaper, they stumble upon a crook playing sick in a hospital (Sheldon Leonard) and his two thugs, who mistake them for a pair of hit men from Detroit. There is a hilarious exchange of dialogue between the bad guys and A&C, built entirely around double entendres. A short time later, Bud and Lou are accused of robbing a bank and so consider leaving town. While Abbott delivers a long monologue where he agonizes between leaving and staying, so Costello alternately packs and unpacks a suitcase, another great example of the team's expertise at physical comedy and timing. The rest of the film takes place at a ski resort; A&C's hopes of clearing themselves depend on them proving the crooks from the hospital guilty. This leads to another funny scene in a log cabin where Bud and Lou try to bluff the bad guys (as only they can). A climactic ski chase down the slopes suffers from too much rear-screen projection and obvious stunt work and is typical of comedies at the time, not just Abbott & Costello's. Then we get yet ANOTHER song from Ms. Simms before the not-so-happy (for Lou anyway) ending. 'Hit The Ice' is very much worth seeing, and one of the nice things about it is that the boys' routines are not as familiar as from some of their better-known pictures. I know for me, it was almost like watching a 'new' Abbott & Costello film. And you can always fast-forward through those godawful songs.
  • HIT THE ICE (Universal, 1943), directed by Charles Lamont, certainly has the distinction of being another one of many ice skating musicals starring Olympic skating champion, Sonja Henie. Though Henie doesn't appear, much of the icing goes to Universal's top comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. While there are good songs and some ice skating involved, HIT THE ICE also has the distinction of other fine things presented that truly indicate why Abbott and Costello movies were so successful during the World War II years. Though they don't really hit the ice, they surely were hitting their stride.

    The story opens at Fulton Hospital where Harry "Silky" Fellowsby (Sheldon Leonard) occupies a room feigning feverish illness in order to establish an alibi as he and his fellow mobster pals, Phil (Marc Lawrence) and Buster (Joseph Sawyer) sneak out of the hospital to rob the bank across the street. While Bill Burns (Patric Knowles) is doctor in the case, his nurse, Peggy Osborne (Elyse Knox) suspects foul play. As the gangsters await for the arrival of a couple of gunmen from Detroit, Doctor Burns meets up with a couple of friends from his childhood days, Flash Fulton (Bud Abbott) and Tubby McCoy (Lou Costello), now photographers hoping to get some pictures for the newspaper where they hope to obtain employment. Inviting the boys to come along on an emergency call via ambulance, naturally when Flash and Tubby unintentionally encounter Silky and his gang at the hospital, they are mistaken for the boys from Detroit. Unwittingly assisting the gangsters in the bank robbery, it's Flash and Tubby who are accused with their photo sketches placed on the newspaper's front page. As the dual attempt to prove their innocence and return the bank money by following the gangsters via train to Sun Valley, Silky and his gang keep watch on Flash and Tubby believing they hold actual photos of them at the robbery. In the meantime, as Silky hides the loot in his mountain cabin, Burns, now a resident physician at Sun Valley accompanied by his ever suspicious nurse, Flash and Tubby, working as waiters, soon meet up with another friend from their boyhood days, orchestra leader Johnny Long (Johnny Long), whose vocalist, Marcia Manning (Ginny Simms), might have some connection with Silky and his gang. Then the fun really begins.

    Aside from great comedy routines in the true Abbott and Costello fashion, including some clever verbal exchanges (one resembling their classic "baseball" routine), pack and unpack, Costello's "all right" piano playing to a recording (a scene usually edited from broadcast TV channels to allot for extended commercial breaks, and a routine later recreated in an episode to their 1950s TV series, "The Abbott and Costello Show"), and the handkerchief and punch-me gag, there's the usual time-out song interludes to showcase some musical talent, in this case, the vocalization of the gorgeous Ginny Simms. Songs scored by Harry Revel and Paul Francis Webster include: "I'm Like a Fish Out of Water" (no connection to the same title tune from the 1937 Warner Brothers musical, "Hollywood Hotel"); "I Like to Set You to Music" (sung by Ginny Simms, The Four Teens, and Johnny Long); "Slap Happy Polka" (sung by Simms and skaters) and "Happiness Bound" (sung by band members). Of the four tunes, "Slap Happy Polka" and "Happiness Bound" are at its listening best, with the Polka number staged in hilarious fashion as Costello gets himself entangled in an ice skating ensemble, to hilarious results. If that's not hilarious enough, be sure not to miss Abbott and Costello's climatic chase coming down the mountain on skis.

    With frequent broadcast television revivals, especially on New York City's WPIX Channel 11 Abbott and Costello Sunday morning movies(1971-1990), and prior to that on WNBC, Channel 4's late show through much of the late sixties, HIT THE ICE, which was then one of the most widely known among Abbott and Costello film titles, has become sadly overlooked through the passage of time, which is a shame because it's still 84 minutes of old-style non-stop fun.

    Formerly available on video cassette around the 1990s, HIT THE ICE can still be seen in its full glory on DVD, along with other Abbott and Costello titles on the same disc as IN SOCIETY (1944) and THE NAUGHTY NINETIES (1945). Take note that while Costello is called "Tubby" throughout the story, he's listed in the closing cast credits under the name of "Weejie." Now that's really hitting the ice. (***)
  • Enjoyable-enough Abbott and Costello romp where they start out as two average photographers, only to get mixed up with a group of bank robbers lead by Sheldon Leonard. The crooks mistake Bud and Lou (called Flash and Tubby here) for hired hit men when they talk of "how many people they've shot". This leads to the boys becoming nailed for a robbery, and they have to get away to the snowy Alps while trying to expose the real bad guys and prove their innocence. Nothing original, but Abbott and Costello have a few good comic routines to keep you laughing. Among the high points are: Bud constantly telling Lou to "Pack!" and then "Unpack!" when he can't make up his mind if they should get out of town or not. Also featured is the "Alright!" bit where Lou tries to impress glamor gal Ginny Simms by "playing the piano" for her while Bud hides in the background with a record player, waiting for his friend's cue. Speaking of Miss Simms, she's rather a detriment to these proceedings at times, often bursting into singing which slows things to a snail-like pace. And what's more, her songs aren't very good. **1/2 out of ****
  • One very interesting aspect of this film is that most of the story is set in Sun Valley, Idaho, while the U.S. was right in the middle of World War II. The film came out in June 1943 but wasn't filmed at the Sun Valley Resort which had been closed and converted to a convalescent hospital for the U.S. Navy. It stayed that way into 1946. So, the actual filming took place at Boreal Mountain Resort in California, with footage from Sun Valley edited into the film.

    By the early 1940s, the public had become fascinated with Sun Valley from the publicity about the famous ski resort. It was built by the Union Pacific Railroad in the last 1930s. While this film story is set in Sun Valley, one wonders how many of the public knew that the famous lodge had been by then for wartime use.

    "Hit the Ice" is in an early group of Abbott and Costello films that had a little bit of everything - comedy, big band music, singers, and crime or mystery. But the talent list of supporters for this film is very thin. There are no big-name stars to give the film a boost. The most recognizable of the rest of the cast is Sheldon Leonard. He plays Silky Fellowsby, a sleazy criminal role for which he became known. The acting by Patric Knowles (Dr. Bill Elliot,), Ginny Simms (Marcia Manning), and Elyse Knox (nurse Peggy Osborne) is weak and lacks energy. Johnny Long and his orchestra are okay, but nothing special. And the singing by Simms and Knox is forgettable.

    Bud Abbott and Lou Costello have a couple of scenes where they do their stuff together. And, one scene of a chase on skis is funny. But the rest of the comedy in group scenes is mostly flat. Audiences in 1943 might have thought skating scenes in which Lou crashes into gates and pulls awning poles down to be funny, but I'm a little skeptical even of that. When I first saw this film on TV in the 1950s, I didn't think it was very funny then.

    It may be a stretch to give this film five stars. But for Abbott and Costello fans, most viewers won't find this film more than just passable.
  • This is another awesome bud Abbott and Lou Costello film and for all the same reasons it has great comedy it has a good story line to it the acting is good in it the actors are good in it everything is good in it so i'm sure that you will not be disappointed with hit the ice. So make sure that you rent or buy hit the ice because it is an awesome bud Abbott and Lou Costello film. and i'm sure that you will have a good time watching it and that you will watch it over and over again. because i still watch it and laugh.

    overall score ********* out of **********

    **** out of *****
  • Bud and Lou walk into an apparently empty bank:

    B: "Teller!"

    L: "I'll tell her, where is she?"

    B: "Where is who? I said teller"

    L: "Tell her what?"

    B: "Tell her nothing. I want a teller"

    L: "Go ahead and tell her, I don't care!"

    B: "No, teller in the bank"

    L: "Tell her in the bank, tell her on the street, tell her anywhere you want, I won't listen"

    "Hit the Ice" has some very funny verbal exchanges (the aforementioned "teller" routine had me in tears, followed by the "pack the grip" - "unpack the grip" one), and also some absurdist moments (check out the way they enter the mountain cabin). Less successful are Lou's pratfalls in the skating ring (seeing him fall flat on his face is not so funny after the 10th time it happens), and the climactic ski chase suffers from the obviousness of the rear projection. Kids will probably enjoy the slapstick parts more, but I imagine that most adults will prefer the verbal humor.

    Ginny Simms' songs are forgettable and time-wasting, but at least we get to look at her - she was a remarkably beautiful woman. (**1/2)
  • HIT THE ICE (1943) *** Bud Abbott, Lou Costello,Ginny Simms. Fast and freewheeling Abbott and Costello comedy with the boys as inept street photographers mistaken for bank robbers on the trail of the real thugs to clear their names. Pratfalls aplenty in Sun Valley.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Given the venue of frozen lakes and slippery slopes. Abbott and Costello go in for more than their usual amount of pratfalls and slapstick in "Hit the Ice". That's only to be expected, with Lou taking more than his share of bumps, especially in the ice skating scene. He was obviously stunted for some of the actual skating, but he was right there giving it his best in some of those sequences where he actually did hit the ice. You have to give him credit for getting up and coming back for more.

    As far as villains go, this picture hit a trifecta with Sheldon Leonard, Joe Sawyer and Marc Lawrence all on board; each one had appeared at least once in another A&C film. But they're not very effective bad guys if the boys can effectively put one over on them, which is exactly the case by the time the movie winds down. As usual, most of the fun involves Lou's character Tubby, as in the pack/unpack routine and the piano bit to impress lounge singer Marcia (Ginny Simms). I read where a number of viewers frown on the song numbers plopped into these stories but I don't mind them too much. This one had it's share, and I can agree on the fact that they're mostly time fillers.

    I didn't think this picture was a particularly strong entry in the A&C canon but you can still have some fun with it. Seen through an adult's eyes it appears to be more suited for the younger set who would get a kick out of Lou's double takes and sight gags. along with the other stuff I mentioned earlier. This would be a good one to watch in the winter when it's snowing outside, and you can settle back without worrying about the weather. Have a glass of brandy ready too.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    PRINCIPAL MIRACLE: Although Hit the Ice failed to make the topmost ranks of 1943's domestic ticket champions, the movie must have filled plenty of seats, because both Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were voted equal third (to Betty Grable and Bob Hope) as the year's most popular stars by motion picture exhibitors in the U.S.A.

    COMMENT: In this one, Sheldon Leonard has the bright idea of committing a bank robbery while hospitalized with a phony fever. He ropes the boys in to cover him while he does the job. Unfortunately, the rest of the film is not as imaginative as this original premise.

    The boys are in good form and perform their usual routines (the best of which is a stint in which Costello pretends to play the piano while Bud plays a record behind) quite ably, but the jokes supplied to them by scriptwriters Robert Lees, Frederic Rinaldo and John Grant are pretty feeble: "Teller!" - "Tell who?" - "Teller in the bank!" - "Tell who in the bank?" - "Listen, stupid, I want a teller in the bank!" - "Well go ahead and tell her! Who's stopping you?"

    Their acts are interspersed with some pleasant but forgettable songs, and there is the usual chase finale, this time on skis.

    The kids will love the movie anyway. For connoisseurs, however, the film is somewhat of a lesser joy. Charles Lamont's direction is as dull as can be. It's a long way down the scale from the smoothly confident competence of an Arthur Lubin or an S. Sylvan Simon. Fortunately, quality photography, sets and sound help take up the slack.

    OTHER VIEWS: Nicely photographed, fast-moving fun, complete with neat routines, crazy gags, plus polished musical numbers courtesy of Ginny Simms, Helen Young and The Four Teens, Johnny Long and his Orchestra. PRINCIPAL MIRACLE: Although Hit the Ice failed to make the topmost ranks of 1943's domestic ticket champions, the movie must have filled plenty of seats, because both Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were voted equal third (to Betty Grable and Bob Hope) as the year's most popular stars by motion picture exhibitors in the U.S.A.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    About half the action in this musical comedy supposedly takes place at the Sun Valley ski resort in Idaho. However, all of the action actually takes place in various California locations. Two years earlier, Fox had released the very popular musical comedy "Sun Valley Serenade", much of which was filmed at Sun Valley. The theme song was "It Happened in Sun Valley", which I chose as my review title.

    As in nearly all of the early Abbott and Costello(A&C) films(excepting "Who Done It) there are a number of songs, probably too many, all concentrated in the latter half, supposedly in Sun Valley. Willowy, and beautifully elegant, Ginny Simms is the primary soloist, often abetted by The Four Teens(who looked to be older than teens) and/or a larger chorus, and with Johnny Long's Orchestra supplying the melody. All the songs are well suited to Ginny's style, and all were composed by the team of Harry Revel and Paul Francis Webster. This duo also composed the songs for the previous A&C film "It Ain't Hay". If you would like to see and hear Ginny in Technicolor, I can recommend "Night and Day" or "Broadway Rhythm". For Ginny's character, 'It happened in Sun Valley', as she became engaged to orchestra leader Johnny Long by film's end, disappointing Costello who thought he was going to be the groom.

    I thought the verbal comedy was especially strong here. I take notes for my reviews, and my notes for this film were especially copious, which usually means I found it interesting.

    The screen play begins with gangster Silky Fellowsly in the hospital, with his only apparent symptom a vacillating fever(induced by a pill he takes). He's hoping to slip out of the hospital unnoticed, rob a nearby bank, and slip back into his bed without anyone noticing(quite an achievement!) That way, he has an apparent alibi for not being at the scene of the robbery. Unfortunately for him, his nurse noticed his absence, but by the time she got the doctor to confirm it, Silky was back in his bed, so the doctor didn't believe he disappeared. Before the robbery, A&C entered his room(why?)with their cameras. They talk about shooting(photographing) people, so Silky assumes that they are the 2 hit men from Detroit that are supposed to show up for the robbery(Apparently, the real hit men never showed up). The miscommunication between Silky and the boys is hilarious. Examples: Silky:" What do you do for a living?" Lou: "We shoot people". Silky: How do you shoot them?" Lou: "We stand them up against a wall". Lou: "That gives me time to shoot a couple other people first". A&C still think their role in the robbery is to take pictures of the gangsters when they emerge from the bank, which they do. However, A&C become the prime suspects, as they enter the bank(why?) and find everyone gaged and tied up in the vault. "They're all tied up in the back" explains Abbott to the policeman when he inquires where everyone is. Accidentally, Costello hits the burglar alarm button, and police swarm. But, both the robbers and A&C manage to get on the train for Sun Valley. The boys don't even attempt to disguise themselves, despite good drawings of them having appeared in the paper! Silky's doctor and nurse also get on the train, as do Ginny and Johnny Long's band. The nurse tries to make a play for the doctor, but he doesn't respond, so she is mad.

    A&C are hired as waiters and Costello has quite a time trying to deliver orders on skates. He 'hits the ice' many times. Abbott does much better. Meanwhile, they attempt to recover at least some of the stolen money by blackmailing the gangsters with said photos of them exiting from the bank. They refuse to show the photo, but the gangsters reluctantly take their word for it, until Lou is knocked out and they find the worthless photo on his body.

    A&C find the satchel with the money in it in a ski cabin. They try to make a getaway on their dog sled, but only Ginny gets away(At the cabin, she seemingly changed from being the gangsters' moll into aiding A&C). The boys then don skis they find in a shed and get a head start on the gangsters, who are not far behind them on skis. Of course, Costello, especially, has a perilous journey on his skis. At one point, he lands on top of Abbott. Then, a bear is on the back of his skis for a while. He ends up inside a giant snowball, with Silky, the other 2 gangsters having been knocked out by hitting a tree.

    Yes, it's all silliness, often disjointed, and unbelievable, but that's what A&C films are all about. If you can't accept that, better not watch them. For that reason, they are best suited for kids.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Ginny Sims sings four times! Even one at the finish! That being said, the rest of the film is pretty good, Lou is very funny as the worst ice skating waiter ever. Some pretty-fancy ice dancing and a great location. Here a song seems to fit in. The ski-chase climax would have us believe that bumbling "Tubby" is a whiz on skis. Sheldon Leonard plays his usual gangster self and threatens to "take care of everybody". Most of that action is predictable, and the only thing that spices it up is that he thinks that Bud and Lou are "the shooters from Detroit" and they get mistakenly blamed for the bank robbery. There is a doctor, nurse, singer, and a band leader along for the romance (yawn.) Back to the chase: It involves everything from sled dogs to a (man in a) polar bear suit! Somehow "Tubby" gets the idea he was proposed to and shows up at the train station with flowers and formal wear. As the before-mentioned "4 lovers" pull away at the station, he loses his pants, once again, on the mailbag hook! If not for the chases, I would have only gave it a "7". Terrible songs!
  • Abbott & Costello play Flash Fulton & Tubby McCoy, two newspaper photographers who are mistaken for hit men by a trio of gangsters(played by Sheldon Leonard, Marc Lawrence, & Joe Sawyer) who plan to rob a bank while have an alibi of being in the hospital. The boys become prime suspects for the crime, so flee to a ski lodge where they meet old friend Johnny Long and his orchestra, along with singer Ginny Simms, who get them jobs, while they dodge the gangsters and clear their names. Patrick Knowles & Elyse Knox play the doctor and nurse fooled into helping the "sick" gang leader. Very funny comedy with pleasant setting, good cast and songs. Quite underrated comedy with the team.