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Lake Placid Serenade

Lake Placid Serenade(1944)

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Ice skater Vera Haschek lives with her godfather, Jaroslav "Papa" Haschek, in a small Czechoslovakian village, where she diligantly practices for the country's championship skating match. The night before the competition, superstitious Papa presents Vera with a pair of silver skates that he has made for her by hand. Vera triumphs at the match and is crowned the Czechoslovakian champion, thereby drawing the attention of three visiting Americans who are seeking a star for their new ice show. The group consists of the rich Countess, impressario Carlton Webb and press agent Jiggers. Before they can approach Vera, however, she receives an invitation to appear at the Lake Placid Ice Carnival as a special guest. Papa and the other villagers bid Vera farewell at the train station, and one friend gives her a porcelein doll, which is supposed to summon the love of Vera's life. During the journey, Vera resists attempts by the Countess, Webb and Jiggers to sign her to a contract, and in Lake Placid, Vera is a hit in the show. Vera's happiness is destroyed though, by the news that Germany is about to invade Czechoslovakia. Vera rushes to New York, where she meets with Walter Benda, the Czech consul. Benda informs her that he has not been able to contact her godfather and advises her to find her uncle, Carl Cermak, who moved to the United States many years previously. Carl is now a successful businessman, and although they have never met before, he welcomes her to his home. There, Vera gets a mixed reception from Carl's daughters. Susan is friendly, but snobbish Irene is annoyed by her cousin's simple clothes and manners. In order to escape Irene, Vera practices skating on the backyard ice pond, and falls down just as Paul Jordan, Carl's junior partner, passes by. Vera, believing that Paul is the man sent by her porcelein doll, is immediately smitten, as is Paul with her. Paul promises to give her a skating lesson on Christmas Eve but must leave before learning her name or telling her his. Unknown to Vera, Irene is infatuated with Paul and calls him her fiancé, even though he has not proposed. Time passes as Carl grows more attached to Vera, who awaits the return of her mysterious suitor. On Christmas Eve, the family opens their presents, and Irene states that she is giving an expensive pipe to her fiancé. Vera then waits by the ice pond where Paul, who has returned from his business trip, arrives and greets her enthusiastically. The couple begins to skate, but when Vera sees the pipe fall from Paul's pocket, she realizes who he is and runs off without an explanation. Vera returns to Lake Placid, and there she and cowboy star Roy Rogers are crowned the queen and king of the winter carnival. Susan, who has deduced that Vera and Paul have fallen in love, arranges for them to meet, but when Paul declares his affection, Vera again disappears, although she accidentally leaves one of her handmade skates. Vera agrees to sign with the Countess and Webb, but only if her real name is not advertised, so Jiggers devises a campaign whereby she is billed as "The Cinderella Girl." After a number of successful shows, Jiggers engineers a publicity stunt whereby dozens of young men with skates will go to Madison Square Gardens during Vera's appearance there. Carl sees the newspaper ad for the show, which includes a photograph of Vera, and arranges for the attendance of Paul and Papa, who has been located and sent for by Carl. Vera is thrilled to see Papa, and after her show, Papa reveals that Paul is the one who found her skate. Irene apologizes for her earlier jealousy, and the happy Paul and Vera embrace.