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SONJA HENIE MOVIES

For Hicksflicks.com, Jan. 3, 2014

Ice-skating phenom Sonja Henie was a three-time Olympic champ and had won more world titles than any other female skater when she hung up her amateur status in 1936 at the age of 22.

That's when she signed a long-term contract with Twentieth Century Fox and became a bona fide movie star in 11 films over the next dozen years.

Henie's first, "One in a Million" (1937), made on a B-movie budget, was a big hit, launched her career, and  — despite her thick accent — led to her subsequent films climbing onto Fox's A-list with bigger budgets and bigger co-stars.

Ten of Henie's 11 films were released on VHS in the 1990s but only one had been officially released on DVD before now; her 1945 film "It's a Pleasure!" made the transition in 2008, probably to test the waters and because it's her only color movie.

But now the Fox Cinema Archives manufacture-on-demand label has released six more of her films: "One in a Million," "Thin Ice" (1937), "Happy Landing" (1938), "My Lucky Star" (1938), "Iceland" (1942) and "Wintertime" (1943).

Some of these films are mediocre efforts that only Henie's ardent fans will enjoy but several are a lot of fun for a wider audience.

"One in a Million" has a freshness that pays homage to (and capitalizes on) Henie's Olympic status, and features the zany Ritz Brothers in support.

"Thin Ice" co-stars Tyrone Power, and that film and "My Lucky Star" both boast fine comic support from Joan Davis.

How these particular six titles were chosen is anyone's guess but Henie fans won't care. They'll just be happy to have any of them on DVD.

Sadly, however, the title I'm most often asked about, "Sun Valley Serenade" (1941), which is arguably Henie's best-remembered picture, remains missing in action. (Although it's still available on VHS at Amazon.com.)