MOVIEGOER

At the Met

Here's a theory about why "Iceland" was ever produced. It's a plot on the part of the writers to prove that all obnoxious characters don't wear Nazi uniforms, as well as an attempt to see how many odious individuals they can get into one picture. They've succeeded so well that the result is a wonderful argument for sad endings in the movies.

Just to give you a rough idea of what kind of people they've dragged into the story, we'll start off with John Payne. Now Payne plays an honest-to-gosh heel; he's the "love 'em and leave 'em" Marine again. In any other context he'd be soundly hissed and hooted at; in "Iceland" he looks by contrast like the prime contender for the Florence Nightingale humanity award.

When it comes to being obnoxious, he's overshadowed by everyone else in the cast. First of all, there's Sterling Holloway. Holloway looks, acts, and grovels like a local vice-president of the Cretin's Union, who models strait-jackets in his spare time. After him comes Felix Bressart, who is probably a nice fellow to his own friends, but then who wants to bother with those missing links? Bressart, lovable chap that he is, divides his time between kicking Holloway around and trying to marry his own daughter off to the local herring czar so he won't go broke, or something like that. In all this bhe is aided by a pair of sadistic old wenches, presumably his wife and mother, who, in addition to stepping all over our idiot's face--by now a popular indoor sport--seem to take immense joy in pushing young girls into bedrooms with strong men. They're lovable, too.

So much for the old heels. Now for the young ones, and there are plenty of them. There's the girl who plays Sonia Henie's sister. She's only mildly disgusting, since all she screams for is for Sister Sonia to marry someone so she can sink her hooks into a high-voiced young Icelander who looks like something the WAACS would probably be glad to have. Of course, both of them gallop over the worn visage of poor Holloway.

But these are all babes in the woods compared to the picture's star, Sonia Henie, Hollywood's biggest bid for mercy killing. Within the course of an evening, Miss Henie stands up her date, necks with a Marine she's picked up, convinces her family she's engaged to him, scares the daylights out of the poor fellow, kicks Holloway in the face--what did you expect? --lies to the preacher, then tells her family she's married, then tells them she was only kidding, and so on--far into the night.

One thing could have made the picture satisfactory; packing everybody away in a shipping case and dropping it overboard somewhere. But since they didn't do that--send us more Nazis!