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Ice Palace
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10 from 220 votes
Release: 2 January 1960 (USA) /

Ice Palace

Genre: Adventure, Drama, History
Director: Vincent Sherman,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: At the end of World War I, Zeb Kennedy, a canner, and Thor Storm, a fishing boat captain, set up a fish cannery in Alaska and through the years find themselves on opposite sides of Alaska's bid for statehood. Zeb is determined to let nothing and no one stop him from building his business and gaining great wealth. At first Zeb and Thor's girlfriend, Birdie, are only good friends. But even though Zeb and Birdie fall in love, Zeb remains devoted to his greater love: money. Zeb goes off to Seattle to find money for his business. There he marries Dorothy, the heir to his former employer. When Dorothy and Thor find out that Zeb and Birdie are secret lovers, Thor attacks Zeb, knocking him out. His friendship with Zeb ended, Thor heads off into the Alaskan wilderness, where he is rescued by an Eskimo family. There, Thor begins to work for Alaskan statehood, while Zeb works to advance himself through his business. Written by alfiehitchie

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Critic Reviews


"Ice Palace" (1960) adapts to the screen a big Edna Ferber novel that covers several generations. Such adaptations are always a large challenge. This one is moderately successful. It lacks really high spots, but still holds one's attention for 144 minutes. It does this by decent acting, by the background of Alaska, by good cinematography, by rapid shifts in time and events that cover 41 years or so (1918-1959), and by a very interesting set of personal relationships that involve native Eskimos and whites. We are able to see the main actors when they are young and when they are grandfathers.

Richard Burton is magnetic as the rough-and-ready soldier returning from World War I. He's got a chip on his shoulder and makes up for it with ambition and business sense, becoming an Alaskan mogul (czar in the film). He starts off pals with fisherman Robert Ryan but they split over Carolyn Jones, who ends up marrying neither. Burton's character is very interesting, as he marries Martha Hyer only to get financing for his first cannery venture. Ryan graduates to politics in his drive to thwart Burton's excesses, which include over-trapping salmon. Carolyn Jones, in my opinion, shines and sparkles, especially in the earlier reels. This part allowed her to show what she was capable of as an actress, and it was a great deal. Jim Backus provided sturdy support as Burton's right-hand man. Ray Danton put in a typically smooth appearance as a lawyer being promoted by Burton into another disastrous marriage of convenience like his own.

The movie doesn't capture as much depth as one might hope for or expect. It's not as good as "Gone With the Wind", but then, what is? This is more typical Hollywood fare, meeting a reasonably high standard but clearly having some screenplay problems as lives and deaths seem sometimes to rush by. The makeup (aging) also falters at times. It still came out as quite good and the IMDb rating of 6.3 suggests accurately a movie modestly above the norm. I rate it 7. It has a good deal of energy and zest along with some surprising turns.

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