One in a Million (1936 film)

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One in a Million
Directed by Sidney Lanfield
Produced by Raymond Griffth
Ben Silvey
Written by Leonard Praskins
Mark Kelly
Eddie Cherkose
Lester Lee
Samuel Porkass
Harold Rome
Starring Sonja Henie
Adolphe Menjou
Jean Hersholt
Ned Sparks
Don Ameche
The Ritz Brothers
Arline Judge
Borrah Minevitch
Julius Tannen
Montagu Love
Music by David Buttolph
Charles Maxwell
Louis Silvers
Cinematography Edward Cronjager
John Van Wormer
Edited by Robert L. Simpson
John Brady
Jack Wells
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Release date
  • December 31, 1936 (1936-12-31) (Premiere-New York City)[1]
  • January 1, 1937 (1937-01-01) (US)[1]
Running time
95 min
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.3 million[2]

One in a Million is a 1936 American film which marked the Hollywood debut of Sonja Henie. It features footage from the 1936 Winter Olympic Games. Jack Haskell received an Academy Award nomination in Best Dance Direction at the 9th Academy Awards.


American showman Thadeus Spencer (Adolphe Menjou) is stuck without money in the Swiss Alps with his wife (Arline Judge), a girls' band, a comedy trio (The Ritz Brothers) and a recent harmonica-playing discovery (Borrah Minevitch) when the group learns that the Grand Palace Hotel in Ardetz, where they were to perform, has burned down. Upon seeing Greta Muller (Sonja Henie), 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 (Don Ameche) 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 (Ned Sparks), trail Ratoffsky (Montagu Love), 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 (Jean Hersholt), 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 (Montagu Love), 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.



Jack Haskell nominated for Best Dance Direction


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