One in a Million


1h 35m 1937

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1, 1937
Premiere Information
New York opening: 31 Dec 1936
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,487ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

American showman Thadeus Spencer is stuck without money in the Swiss Alps with his wife, a girls' band, a comedy trio and a recent harmonica-playing discovery when the group learns that the Grand Palace Hotel in Ardetz, where they were to perform, has burned down. Upon seeing Greta Muller, an innkeeper's daughter, ice-skate, Spencer has a vision of her performing with a skating ballet that will make him millions. Spencer arranges for her to skate in a tryout performance at a St. Moritz casino for which he will get paid 950 francs. American reporter Bob Harris from the Paris Herald arrives at the inn to investigate the hotel fire which, rumor has it, was an attempt to kill a European premier. Bob has his photographer, Danny Simpson, trail Ratoffsky, a suspicious-looking bearded guest, and tries to romance Greta, who is sullen after a band member has Bob massage her neck. When Bob learns that Greta's father Heinrich, a 1908 Olympic figure skating champion who lost his medal because he accepted money as a gift for teaching, has trained Greta for twelve years for the upcoming Olympics, he follows the troupe to St. Moritz and stops Greta after her first number, warning that she is risking her Olympic eligibility. Unaware that her exhibition involved money, Greta is grateful to Bob as they ride back on a sleigh. At the Olympics, Greta wins first place in figure skating, but when she refuses to turn professional and skate for Spencer in New York, he threatens to expose her St. Moritz performance to the ruling committee. Heinrich returns Greta's medals himself when he learns of the St. Moritz exhibition, but Bob takes Spencer to explain the situation to the secretary of the committee, Sir Frederick Brooks, who earlier was vacationing in the Alps incognito as Ratoffsky. As Greta received no payment and Spencer used all the money he received for expenses, Brooks declares Greta's eligibility proven, and the whole troupe, with Greta now as the star, performs in Madison Square Garden.

Cast

Sonja Henie

Greta Muller

Adolphe Menjou

[Thadeus] Tad Spencer

Jean Hersholt

Heinrich Muller

Ned Sparks

Danny Simpson

Don Ameche

Bob Harris

Ritz Brothers

Themselves

Arline Judge

Billie Spencer

Borrah Minevitch

Adolphe

Dixie Dunbar

Goldie

Leah Ray

Girl in band

Shirley Deane

Girl in band

Montagu Love

Ratoffsky [alias of Sir Frederick Brooks]

Albert Conti

Hotel manager

Julius Tannen

Chapelle

June Gale

Girls' band

Lillian Porter

Girls' band

Helen Ericson

Girls' band

Diane Cook

Girls' band

Bonnie Bannon

Girls' band

June Wilkins

Girls' band

Clarice Sherry

Girls' band

Pauline Craig

Girls' band

Margot Webster

French skater

Frederick Giermann

German announcer

Egon Brecher

Chairman

Paul Mcvey

Announcer at Madison Square Garden

Bess Flowers

Woman in box

Bert Sprotte

Driver of sleigh

Albert Morin

Palmer Morrison

Mary Bracken

Emily Fitzpatrick

Gus Hyland

Bob Layton

Bob Heasley

Art Manuel

H. E. Schaller

Bob Parrish

Nat Harty

Hal Welling

Aileen Riggin

Earl Robson

Fran Sawyer

James Sisk

Martha Manning

Lindsay Chambers

Vivian Cox

Margaret Fitzpatrick

Dorothy Hope

Betty Kiss

Alma Johnson

John Mcdonald

Grant Peasley

Aaron Phillips

Don Maxwell

Matt Farrell

Frank Chase

Lloyd Carlos

Marianne Brudie

Valerie Traxler

Kathleen Turner

Frank Abel

Gordon Merrick

Annabelle Brudie

Ann Taylor

Hope Taylor

Bright Stanley

Marie Stewart

Alice Stombs

Virginia Ray

Jeanne Robinson

Louise Seidel

Lucille Stafford

Dickie Moore

Jerre Murphy

Adele Pearce

Patsy Perrin

Patricia Monroe

Dagmar Moody

Patsy Lee

Mary Jane Hodge

Adelaide Kaye

Crystal Keate

Lynne Kelly

Joyce Hinds

Alyce Gaering

Joan Gray

Josephine Hall

Edith Haskins

Clarette Ellis

Julie Cabanne

Peggy Carroll

Marian Duval

Kathryn Barnes

Sue Barstead

Harriet Bertrand

Louise Allen

Rudy Shaves

Russ Silver

Marvin Sleeper

Robert Spencer

Léon Vallée

Bob Weldon

Kenny Williams

Sam Rice Jr.

Al Siegel

Jimmy Natarro

Emmett O'brien

Bob Milton

Jack Morton

Don Ackerman

Ward Arnold

John Benson

Carlyle Blackwell Jr.

Jack Boyle

Ted Bradford

Bill Brande

Les Clark

Jackie Coogan

Jimmy Gonzalez

Ron Dexter

Jerry James

Allen Mathews

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1, 1937
Premiere Information
New York opening: 31 Dec 1936
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,487ft (10 reels)

Award Nominations

Best Dance Direction

1937

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

This was the first film of Sonja Henie, who won the gold medal for figure skating at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics, and according to a news item, won more championships than any other single athlete in history. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, the studio paid Henie $60,000 to be in this picture. According to a June 1937 New York Times article, when Henie first quoted $75,000 as her price to be in a film, no studio accepted the offer. She then hired an ice rink and put on a few evening shows, in which she made $28,000, $8,000 of which she donated to charity. With proof of her drawing power, she approached Darryl Zanuck, and he agreed to the figure she desired. After making this film, Henie attempted to arrange a tour of the skating rinks of the country, but promoters balked at her demanded guarantee of $10,000 a night. Again, to prove her drawing power, she rented a rink in Hershey, PA and made $28,000 in three nights. Promoters then agreed to her terms. When she returned to Hollywood, she asked Zanuck for $100,000 a film plus additional money if shooting ran over schedule, and because of the success of One in a Million, Zanuck agreed. New York Times noted that studios which earlier ignored her, offered Fox double her salary for one film after the success of One in a Million.
       In story conference notes found in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also at UCLA, Zanuck advised the writers, "You should give the story a smart, fresh development, and treat it like Thanks a Million [see below] rather than Sing, Baby, Sing [see below]. In other words, don't make it too hokey or too broad." According to the legal records, Diane Cook, Bonnie Bannon, June Wilkins, Clarice Sherry and Pauline Craig were borrowed from M-G-M. Georgia Spence was originally cast as one of the members of the girls' band, but she was not in the final film. In one of their musical numbers, the Ritz Brothers appear as Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton and Peter Lorre, the "horror boys from Hollywood." According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Samuel Pokrass and Edward Cherkose contributed special material for the Ritz Brothers. Borrah Minevitch, a newcomer to films according to Motion Picture Herald, performed with his "Gang of Harmonica Rascals." According to information in the Produced Scripts Collection, Larry Adler was originally scheduled to play "Adolphe," the role that Minevitch took. According to Henie's biography, ice skating became very popular in the United States after the release of this film.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1936

Released in United States on Video February 16, 1994

Feature film debut for three-time Olympic gold medalist Sonja Henie.

Released in United States 1936

Released in United States on Video February 16, 1994