Sonja Henie and the Olympics

This week I keep my footing (with skates) on home turf with Sonja Henie.
I have never seen a Sonja Henie or even heard of any of her films, and still she was the highest paid movie star of her time. A bona fide movie star and one of only two Norwegians to get a star in Hollywood walk of fame (for some reason Liv Ullmann is not one of them). It also gave me an excuse to see the other olympics themes movies.

One in a Million (1936)
Sonja Henie’s first real movie. A fluffy and silly romantic comedy with the star Sonja Henie being absent for big parts of the movie. Maybe a clever choice as her acting skills is not all that. But her skating scenes are outstanding, of course.
Nominated for best dance direction for “Skating Ensemble” in 1937.

Thin Ice (1937)
A fluffy and silly romantic comedy again. This time Sonja gets more screen time and has to act more. Still not a very good actor, but the skating scenes are still outstanding.
Nominated for best dance direction for “Prince Igor Suite” in 1938.

Ali Baba Goes To Town (1937)
Not really a Sonja Henie movie, she just shows up in a very small cameo at the end. But it is a nice change of pace. I would characterize this movie as a political satire, and it has some funny and clever moments.
Nominated for best dance direction for “Swing Is Here to Stay” in 1938.

Second Fiddle (1939)
A fluffy and silly comedy. Sonja Henie is still not that great of a actor, but her skating scenes are outstanding. Wait, what is happening?
Nominated for best music-original song for “I Poured My Heart Into a Song” in 1940.

Sun Valley Serenade (1941)
A creepy and scary horror movie. Sonja Henie is either a bad actor or a brilliant one in this film. No joking. I think this is meant to be a fluffy and silly comedy (the statistics says so), but it is a scary movie. It also has Glenn Miller with some really nice musical scenes. It also has the most abrupt and tone deaf ending ever. I enjoyed it.
Nominated for best cinematography (black-and-white), best music-original song for “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and best music-scoring of a musical picture in 1942.

The Grand Olympics (1961)
Yes, I love olympics documentaries. Even though these are twice as long as the average Sonja Henie flick, it feels like just a blink of the eye compared to them. Okay, that’s a bit unfair, it’s just that marathoning the Henie films got a little tedious. Watching real marathons on the other hand is for some reason really fascinating. The cinematography is great, and the editing likewise.
Nominated for best documentary-features in 1962.

The Olympics in Mexico (1969)
Everything good about The Grand Olympics and a tad more. Maybe because the events of the olympics in Mexico where more noteworthy than in Rome. But my oh my, the cinematography and editing is incredible. I love it!
Nominated for best documentary-features in 1970.

Chariots of Fire (1981)
This is the big one. I really liked the slow pace and the fact that it is not overly dramatic. The Vangelis score on its own is fantastic, but during some parts of the movie it got really distracting and did not fit the feel of the film at all. But kudos for giving an electronic score the award, even though he should have got it for Blade Runner.
Winner of best picture, best writing-screenplay written directly for the screen, best costume design and best music-original score. nominated for best actor in a supporting role (Ian Holm), best director and best film editing in 1982.

One Day in September (1999)
A great documentary showing what a cluster fuck the 1972 Munich massacre was. From every side of the event, from terrorists to police to the media, everyone just totally incompetent, resulting the deaths of 11 athletes.
Winner of best documentary-features in 2000.

Ice Castles (1978)
Well performed, but really poor storytelling. The characters feels very schizofrenic as their emotional behaviors just suddenly flips on a dime all the time, and I think the filmmakers know why they do, but just fails to convey it. I really had a hard time trying to understand what and why the character felt and did what they did. Also, the song is really cheesy and bad.
Nominated for best music-original song for “Theme from Ice Castles (Through the Eyes of Love)” in 1980.

Murderball (2005)
The film is filled to the brim with machoness and testosteron, so much in fact I am not sure if I think it is funny or sad. There is a scene where one of the players respons to why they don’t wear helmets because it makes them less manly. There is also a scene where someone is made fun of because he is not a fan of big boobs. It’s probably just cranked to the max to because of how their injury makes them feel. But the film is truly inspirational and the men are inspiring. They find the light in the darkness, and helps others along the way.
Nominated for best documentary-features in 2006.

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