Ice Palace (1960)

Genres - Action, Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Adventure  |   Run Time - 143 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Ice Palace is a surprisingly forgotten adaptation of one of Edna Ferber's sprawling sagas, and when it is remembered, it is typically dismissed. In fact, it's a moderately entertaining film, albeit one with huge flaws. Palace could have been a very memorable picture, something on the scale of Giant. Unfortunately, it lacks two things that Giant had: a visionary director like George Stevens who had a real feeling for the demands of the story, and a screenwriter that knew how to select the essential elements in Ferber's work and translate them into cinematic terms. Palace's director, Vincent Sherman, doesn't find the poetry in the characters and the situation, and he certainly doesn't find the poetry in the setting: most of the film is shot in a studio, and the on location shots, which should be key to creating the character of Alaska, are rudimentary. Harry Kleiner's screenplay tries to include too much of the novel; it's faithful, but it means that characters are simply sketched in and the plot is handled in the broadest strokes. Those flaws aside, there's still a real attraction to the story of two men who are both at odds with each other and fated to be a team, and in the many challenges that they and their families face. It's hokey, but it's undeniably appealing, especially with such personas as Richard Burton, Robert Ryan, Carolyn Jones and Martha Hyer around to add interest. None of these actors is giving an especially good performance, but they add considerable sparkle to the proceedings.