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Mary and Larry are are a modestly successful skating team. Shortly after their marriage, Mary gets a picture contract, while Larry is sitting at home, out of work. To prove that he can accomplish things on his own, he leaves Hollywood and convinces a former partner to put on an ice revue in Canada. The show is a huge success, but it makes it impossible for him to be with his wife, but the studio boss has a wonderful idea. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the career of every big star, there often seem to be a few films that in hindsight you wonder why they chose to be in this doomed project. While Jimmy Stewart was NOT an established star in 1939 and can't be blamed for appearing in such an awful film, you wonder how one of MGM's biggest stars could get hooked into this awful mess! Joan Crawford certainly deserved more than this, though I must say that she seemed to try very hard to be a professional--even if the writers were apparently chimps. Even Joan's later super-low budget films like TROG and BERSERK are amazingly competent films compared to THE ICE FOLLIES OF 1939! The biggest problems with the film were the wretched writing and the impossibly dumb casting. Imagine Stewart and Crawford cast as ice follies skaters! Interestingly, you never really see them dance or skate--yet it's THE central theme of the movie. And who would have thought that the public would have wanted THIS sort of a film?! My assumption is that Fox's Sonja Henie movies must have been box office smashes for MGM to try to cash in on this ice skating craze in such a cheap and haphazard fashion.
Now if you remove the silly ice follies elements, you still are left with an incredibly terrible film. The movie actually made my entire family cringe at the terrible clichés--especially when the film tried to rip off A STAR IS BORN. How Crawford was "discovered" and became a star was totally ludicrous--and had the worst "discovery scene" in film history. It really looked like every rotten cliché about film-making was thrown into a goulash-like mess of a film--including the (uggh) ending where the studio makes Stewart a producer and director--even though his greatest prior success was directing and skating in an ice follies show!
Horrible writing, dumb situations, terribly long and ridiculous Busby Berkeley-style ice skating numbers and an over-abundance of clichés sink this one. I truly feel that the other reviewers were being far too kind to this turkey--perhaps because Stewart and Crawford have a lot of fans out there.
As far as the magnitude of this bomb, I'd rank this up among PARNELL (Clark Gable and Myrna Loy) and SWING YOUR LADY (Humphrey Bogart) for 1930s bombs by mega-stars. In Bogart's defense, he was not yet a major star when he made his bomb--what's Crawford's excuse?
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