Iceland (1942) Poster

(I) (1942)

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Sonja Skates - Script Sinks
Ron Oliver6 July 2002
A pretty miss in ICELAND falls for an American Marine corporal stationed there temporarily during World War Two.

Sonja Henie was Norway's ice queen when she won Olympic gold medals for skating in 1928, 1932 & 1936. After going professional, she began a celebrated movie career at 20th Century Fox in 1936 with her American film debut, ONE IN A MILLION. Beautiful & talented, as well as being a natural in front of the cameras, she carved out her own special niche during Hollywood's Golden Age. Although Miss Henie's ice routines may look antiquated by comparison to modern champions, there was nothing antique about her dazzling smile or sparkling personality. In this regard, some of today's snowflake princesses could still learn a great deal from her.

As her career progressed, it became increasingly difficult for 20th Century Fox to find decent stories for Miss Henie and the excuses for the lavish ice dancing numbers were often implausible. No matter. Audiences did not flock to her films to watch Sonja recite Shakespeare. The movies were meant to be pure escapist fantasy, plain & simple.

ICELAND is no exception and its story is often quite ludicrous. However, the skating episodes are pleasing and there is a generous amount of band music supplied by the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, which introduces 'There Will Never Be Another You,' by Mack Gordon & Harry Warren.

Thanks to the script, John Payne's romance with Sonja is kept a rather dull affair. As Payne's sidekick, Jack Oakie comes across as loud & annoying. Felix Bressart, a fine actor when given something decent to work with, plays Sonja's silly Papa.

Fritz Feld makes the most of his few minutes as an inquisitive Icelandic functionary. Movie mavens will recognize an oddly uncredited Sterling Holloway, who is very funny as Sonja's erstwhile suitor.

Ultimately, though, this is Sonja's show. She glides effortlessly into the viewer's heart, while balancing on a thin edge of silver, suspended over frozen water.
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Sonja skates
blanche-227 August 2008
1942's Iceland is a wartime film about a playboy marine, James Murfin (John Payne) stationed in Iceland. There he meets Katina (Henie), a lovely young woman in a hurry to get married so that her sister can marry a man who will bring some much-needed cash into the family. As in many cultures, the older girl must marry first. Katina, however, isn't crazy about the man who has proposed something like 36 times (Sterling Holloway), so when she meets Murfin, she says they met a few years earlier and are in love. Before Murfin knows it, he's engaged, the marriage license has been registered, and at one point, the family believes that he's Katina's husband.

There's not much of a story here, but some of the music is pleasant enough and well sung by Joan Merrill. Sonja has some great skating sequences. Figure skating was different in those days - much more dance oriented with no big jumps - barrel rolls and singles were about it. Sonja was a dazzling performer who had great speed and a thrilling signature spin that started slowly and went faster and faster, until she resembled a whirling dervish. Her contribution to the world of figure skating is invaluable: She popularized figure skating, invented the skating show, and made white skating boots the thing to wear! John Payne is handsome and does a good job as Murfin, but he doesn't get to really sing. He had such a nice voice, it's a shame. Felix Bressart plays Katina's father and is a joy as always. Jack Oakie is Murfin's comic buddy, and he's good as well.

However, when you're watching a Sonja Henie movie, it's Sonja's skating that's the true star. This isn't her best film, but it's still entertaining.
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ICELAND attempts to duplicate the success of "Sun Valley Serenade"...
Doylenf1 February 2004
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.
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Poor Movie --- Good Music
ajrtz4 December 2006
The storyline for the movie was nothing special. The skating was excellent for its' time and the music from the SK Orch. was excellent. Of course, I was partial to the Dad was in the band as lead trumpet player at the time and I watched the movie for that reason. He was front and center most of the time and it was neat to see him in the movie and think that as I was watching him in the movie, I was older than he was then. My Dad passed away in 1991 and it was really nice to finally find this movie on a few years ago. My sister and I "taped" it to have for the memories. John Payne did all he could with the poor storyline and made it enjoyable. Sterling Holliway was a pleasant surprise since my Dad talked about him often and that they were friends.
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For Serious WWII History Buffs
Aitchbee5 November 2010
Whatever the merits of Ms. Henie and Mr. Payne, this movie is a must for all World War II buffs. It is the only movie that I know of about the United States's invasion of Iceland. Hardly anyone knows that the United States occupied Iceland in July of 1941, five months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The U. S. took over occupation from U. K. forces who had been there since 1940. The reason this occupation was that Iceland was a superb base to protect the North Atlantic sea lanes.

The invasion was part of conspiracy theorists's belief that Roosevelt and Churchill plotted to get the United States into the war.

Besides, Sonja may be the best ice skater of all time -- look up her Olympic record -- and is as cute as a button.
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US Marines in Iceland
flarepilot10 May 2014
The reason US Marines went to Iceland prior to Pearl Harbor was part of a deal to relieve English troops so they could fight in North Africa and other locations. Denmark, the country actually responsible for Iceland allowed this to happen . It was not part of any conspiracy.

Contrary to many of the reviews, this is a fine, entertaining movie. I like this movie better than "Sun Valley Serenade". Anyone interested in Sonja Henie films will find this delightful.

The cast is actually quite good. Sterling Holloway is quite amusing. Jack Oakie is laugh out loud. The stars are very attractive.

And you can swing and sway with Sammy Kay.
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Iceland was perhaps one of the weakest of the Sonja Henie vehicles I've yet seen watching her films in chronological order
tavm21 September 2018
Having seen all previous Sonja Henie movies-including Sun Valley Serenade which also featured her leading man John Payne and was directed by Bruce Humberstone, same as this one-this one is perhaps even more contrived than those others. It concerns a mixup between Ms. Henie and Payne concerning whether a wedding between them will be held or not. This was made while the US was involved in World War II so the numbers are of the patriotic kind as performed by Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra with singer Joan Merrill. Those numbers were highly enjoyable as were Ms. Henie's skate dances of which one of them has her partnered with Eugene Turner, a US skating champion. Supporting player Jack Oakie provides some funny lines, Sterling Holloway was also amusing in his brief scenes. But the banter between Ms. Henie and Payne wasn't funny and got increasingly tiring at the end. Good thing the movie's only about 90 minutes. So on that note, Iceland is worth a look for any Sonja Henie fans and nothing more.
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Good Ice Skating-but that's where it ends
Tiffanywatson12316 August 2018
Of course, you couldn't expect much more from a Sonja Henie movie. The plot was thin, basically about an Icelandic girl who falls in love with a Marine stationed in Iceland, who is reluctant to get married.

The skating numbers and music were terrific. The one where Sonja Henie dressed in Chinese, Hawaiian, and Latin costumes and skates around is exceptionally well done. The end number is also fantastic, and the songs, especially "There Will Never Be Another You" were all good.

This doesn't hold a candle to Sun Valley Serenade, but if you like light entertainment that involves ice skating, I'd say give this a try.
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Some of 'Katina' floats beautifully, some of it sinks badly
TheLittleSongbird9 December 2016
Sonja Henie was always watchable, even in her weakest films, and a marvel at ice skating.

Her filmography was very much a mixed bag. There are charmers and gems such as 'Sun Valley Serenade', 'Second Fiddle' and 'Lovely to Look At'. However, there are also wildly uneven and average films such as 'It's a Pleasure', 'Everything Happens at Night' and 'One in a Million'. Have yet to see a film of hers, though there is more to see, that's less than mediocre or terrible.

'Katina' (or 'Iceland') falls more in the latter category. Certainly not a terrible film, but is a case of some elements working far better than others. Some elements such as the music, Henie, the production values and the ice skating float beautifully, others such as the comedy, the romance, the script and the story sink badly.

It's beautifully photographed and the production values are suitably elegant and couldn't have been more perfectly complemented by the photography. Another high point is the music which is delightful and every bit as delightfully played and sung. "There Will Never Be Another You" is particularly note-worthy. John Payne sings gloriously, while Sterling Holloway is effective in his role as is Felix Besshart.

The best things about it are Henie, who charms as an actress and dazzles in the ice skating routines, and the ice skating sequences, which are full of energy and grace. Most envious on both counts.

On the other hand, the story is little more than (very) thinly plotted and very dull filler, with a romance that rarely goes anywhere and betraying a lack of chemistry. The comedy is similarly as limp as a kipper, especially with Jack Oakie who tries to compensate for that and instead overdoes it.

Payne has little to do and is rather wooden, while the pacing and the direction are leaden.

All in all, an uneven film that floats beautifully with some elements and sinks badly in others. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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The Marines Land----In Rejkavik
bkoganbing5 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Between the musical numbers involving Sammy Kaye's Orchestra, singer Joan Merrill and Sonja Henie's skating there was very little room for a plot in Iceland. But this film which involved the occupation of Iceland for several months by the US Marines squeezed in a plot where John Payne woos and wins Sonja Henie after a fashion. The story line is similar to Rita Hayworth's You Were Never Lovelier where she had three younger sisters trying to get her married to someone, anyone so they could get married to their boyfriends. Sonja only had Osa Massen as a younger sister. The pickings in Iceland were mighty slim as she only has an offer from Sterling Holloway.

But the Marines land and John Payne lands with them and that's the story. But this film is really for fans Sonja Henie and her skating. I'm surprised that the Harry Warren-Mack Gordon song There Will Never Be Another You got in the film and got any attention. John Payne and Joan Merrill sang it in the film and it became a big old hit. As was the fashion of 20th Century Fox players Payne never recorded the song. In fact I'm not sure if he ever made any records. At least I've never located any commercial recordings. A pity too.

Fans of Sonja Henie and her skating will love Iceland.
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