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One In A Million

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

An American theatrical manager discovers a Swiss skater preparing for the Olympics in Switzerland and brings her to Madison Square Garden to make her a star on the ice show circuit. The Hollywood debut of Sonja Henie, this Academy Award®-nominated film features Adolphe Menjou, and Don Ameche with The Ritz Brothers. Shown in 4:3 full frame presentation.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sonja Henie, Adolphe Menjou, Don Ameche, Ned Sparks, Jean Hersholt
  • Directors: Sidney Lanfield
  • Writers: Leonard Praskins, Mark Kelly
  • Producers: Raymond Griffith, Ben Silvey
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
  • DVD Release Date: December 30, 2013
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00GTSVPHY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,318 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 2, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
The finale of this pleasant little diversion from 1936 is Sonja Henie's (pronounced Sunya Henny) triumphant professional debut at Madison Square Garden where, in real life, she made her professional debut in March of that year. The movie gives the cute-as-a-button Norwegian Henie a chance to skate and have a screen boyfriend in the person of Don Ameche (in real life, during this time, she was going with Tyrone Power). 20th Century Fox had to cover its rink with frozen milk because the refrigeration pipes showed through ice water. Executives also had to train chorus dancers to be ice skaters because they couldn't train ice skaters to do chorus routines! Fox paid Henie $100,000 to appear in this film, an astonishing amount for an unknown actress in 1936. In 1927, when she was fourteen, Sonja won her first world's figure skating championship; in 1936, she took her third; this movie is actually semi-autobiographical - Hollywood-style.
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Format: VHS Tape
One in a Million borrowed a lot from Sonja`s own life. For starters, Sonja`s father Wilhelm was Norway`s first World Champion ever - winning a bicycle race in the late 1890s. He didn`t have to give back his medal like Jean Hersholt`s character in the film though. The dilemma concerning professionalism in the film is also from Sonja`s life. Swedish ice-skater Vivi-Ann Hulten`s mother tried several times to diminish Sonja`s reputation and Papa Henie`s "unethical" methods. Anyway. ONE IN A MILLION is a showcase for Sonja and indeed Darryl F. Zanuck injected a lot of talent including the Ritz Brothers in order to secure the movie at the box-office. He needn`t worry. Sonja became a star of the first magnitude and was Queen at the box-office until 1939 when the skating craze had ended... It is a showfilm really, made like a music video 2 showcase its talents in the film. Not unlike THE GOLDWYN FOLLIES really...
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Format: VHS Tape
I'm not really that big a fan of Sonja Henie's skating. Rather, it's her fresh-faced screen presence which I find so engaging. Sonja Henie was a Norwegian skating darling who won the figure skating gold medal in the 1928, 1932, and 1936 Olympics. In 1936, she successfully transitioned from skating into film acting with the delightful ONE IN A MILLION. Off the top of my head, the only other woman athlete who managed to finagle her sports stardom into a lucrative film career is gorgeous swimmer Esther Williams (although I could do without her swimming gimmicks as well). ONE IN A MILLION was only one of the many musical comedies which bombarded Hollywood in this era, but it stood out not only because of Sonja Henie's fine debut, but because of the acting of the rest of the cast, the lighthearted storyline, the catchy songs, and the breezy, slightly wacky comedy.

Showman Thadeus Spencer (Adolphe Menjou) is stranded in the Swiss Alps with his troupe of entertainers but with no funds. After watching the innkeeper's daughter Greta skating on the ice rink, Spencer hits on the idea of showcasing a new novelty act: Dancing on Ice, with Greta as the featured skater. Greta, aspiring to compete in the Olympic Winter Games as a figure skater, thinks that she's skating in a tryout performance, unawares that Spencer is raking in the dough. This now calls her Olympic eligibility into question, and, really, that's the main plot in a nutshell. Don Ameche plays a fast-talking American newspaperman and Henie's potential love interest, come to the Alps to investigate a hotel fire. He ends up sticking around to help Greta out of her jam.

For those who only know Don Ameche as that old dude in COCOON, it might come as a surprise that the guy can sing, and sing well.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Several of Sonja Henie's film have been released on dvd by
20th Century Fox's Screen Archives in the last few months:
Thin Ice 1937, Happy Landing 1938, My Lucky Star 1938, Iceland 1942
and Wintertime 1943, but One In A Million 1936 marks Sonja Henie's
screen debut. Her two best films, Second Fiddle 1939 and
Sun Valley Serenade 1941, have been over-looked thus far.
One In A Million features Adolphe Menjou and his all-girl orchestra,
the Ritz Brothers and Don Ameche as the love interest.

The story lines are very thin. All her films follow the same formula
allowing for Sonja Henie to skate in various production numbers
usually ending in a spectacular finale.

These films are all in black and white and the quality varies
from very good to excellent. They are all very entertaining,
but in all honesty, I will have to watch them again in order
to distinguish one film from the other. However, all her skating
numbers are special and very enjoyable. There are no extras.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
While Sonja Henie was never a great actress, 20th Century Fox knew how to build up this charming new star by showcasing what she did best: Skate like a beautiful swan on the ice. Whether you're watching the DVD for Henie, Don Ameche, the Ritz Brothers or whomever, this is undeniably a high-gloss Fox production (produced by former silent screen actor-comedian Raymond Griffith).
Our tale takes us to Switzerland with a tour group of entertainers who discover to their surprise that their big gig has gone up in ashes (quite literally---the hotel they were to appear burns to the ground). Just when things look bleak, their manager (Adolph Menjou) spots young Henie training for the Winter Olympics, and schemes to make her into a star performing at Madison Garden. Of course, things get sticky (and bitterly cold) with the inclusion of a reporter (Ameche) who sees a human interest story developing, much to his delight and Henie's annoyance, along with a scandal from Henie's father's past that comes back to haunt them. So yep, it's a rocky romance from the start (in typical old movie fashion). But eventually, it all turns out well.
The cast is top-notch, and Fox gives each act on the bill their chance to shine. The Ritzes, who were still brand new on the Fox roster, have some of the best moments. The running gag with brother Harry (always the centerpiece of the act, much like Curly Howard was to The Three Stooges) scamming Al & Jimmy with a two-headed coin and the refreshingly unusual impersonations of movie "heavies" Peter Lorre, Charles Laughton & Boris Karloff demonstrate how wonderful the Ritzes really were. Even Borrah Minevitch & His Gang score with a riotously funny harmonica chorus (although Minevitch's solo bits with the harmonica prior get tiresome).
An entertaining reminder of how enchanting movies of the Old Hollywood could be!
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