Sun Valley Serenade
|Sun Valley Serenade|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||H. Bruce Humberstone|
|Produced by||Milton Sperling|
|Written by||Robert Ellis (screenplay)
Helen Logan (screenplay)
Art Arthur (story)
Robert Harari (story)
|Release date(s)||August 21, 1941|
|Running time||86 minutes|
Sun Valley Serenade is a 1941 musical film starring Sonja Henie, John Payne, Glenn Miller, Milton Berle, and Lynn Bari. It features The Glenn Miller Orchestra as well as dancing by The Nicholas Brothers and Dorothy Dandridge, performing "Chattanooga Choo Choo", which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1996, and was awarded the first Gold Record for sales of 1.2 million.
Ted Scott (Payne) is a band pianist whose publicity manager decides that, for good press, the band should adopt a foreign refugee. The band goes to Ellis Island to meet the girl and soon discovers that the refugee isn't a 10-year-old child, but a young woman, Karen Benson (Henie). The surprise comes right before the band is to travel to Sun Valley, Idaho for a Christmas gig. While on the ski slopes Ted soon falls for Karen's inventive schemes to win the heart of her new sponsor, much to the chagrin of his girlfriend, Vivian Dawn (Bari), a soloist with the band. Vivian promptly quits the band out of jealousy, and Karen stages an elaborate ice show as a substitute.
Of particular note is the "Chattanooga Choo Choo" song and dance scene by Dorothy Dandridge and The Nicholas Brothers. This scene begins in the practice studio with the Glenn Miller Orchestra practicing "Chattanooga Choo Choo". The scene includes two choruses of the song sung by Tex Beneke in a musical exchange with The Modernaires. In a scene transition that incorporates no introduction or integration with the practice studio or other actors, Dandridge and The Nicholas Brothers begin singing and dancing in a railway station set (the transition was a concession to Southern movie exhibitors, who often deleted sequences featuring black performers in mainstream films).
Sun Valley Serenade is the first of the only two movies featuring The Glenn Miller Orchestra (the other is 1942's Orchestra Wives). Besides "Chattanooga Choo Choo", other Glenn Miller tunes in the film are "Moonlight Serenade", "It Happened in Sun Valley", "I Know Why (And So Do You)", and "In the Mood".
An instrumental version of "At Last" was recorded by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra as well as a version with vocals by John Payne and Pat Friday, but these recordings would remain unused and unissued. "At Last" can be heard in the movie, however, in an orchestral performance by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra in the Lido Terrace night club after they perform "In the Mood", as part of the orchestral background score in a scene between John Payne and Lynn Bari, and in an orchestral version with vocalization but without lyrics about a minute and twenty seconds in length during the closing skating sequence with Sonja Henie. "At Last" would also appear in the 1942 follow-up movie Orchestra Wives performed by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra with vocals by Ray Eberle and Pat Friday.
Cast listing 
|Sonja Henie||Karen Benson|
|John Payne||Ted Scott|
|Glenn Miller||Phil Corey|
|Milton Berle||Jerome K. 'Nifty' Allen|
|Lynn Bari||Vivian Dawn|
|Joan Davis||Miss Carstairs|
|Dorothy Dandridge||Specialty Act|
|The Nicholas Brothers||Themselves|
|Glenn Miller Orchestra||Phil Corey Orchestra / The Dartmouth Troubadours|
The movie was filmed in March 1941, by Darryl Zanuck, on spring snow. The film became a Hollywood hit, and served as a recruiting effort for the elite ski corps of the 10th Mountain Division stationed at Camp Hale in Colorado. Sun Valley's ski school director, Otto Lang, of St. Anton, oversaw the skiing scenes in the film. The musical numbers were recorded in stereophonic sound and have been included in home video releases of the film.
The film is shown with no admission charge every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at the Opera House in the Sun Valley Village, and 24 hours a day on a dedicated television channel available to all rooms at the Sun Valley Lodge and Inn.
Award nominations 
- Nominated: Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Edward Cronjager (1942)
- Nominated: Best Music, Original Song for "Chattanooga Choo Choo" Harry Warren (music), Mack Gordon (lyrics) (1942)
- Nominated: Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture, Emil Newman (1942)
- Soundtracks for Sun Valley Serenade. IMDB.
- Shelton, Peter. Climb to Conquer: The Untold Story of WWII's 10th Mountain Division. Scribner, 2003. ISBN 0-7432-2606-2. p. 48
- Official Website of the Sun Valley Resort, "Things to Do"
- Cinema Treasures, Sun Valley Opera House
- Sun Valley Serenade at AllRovi
- Sun Valley Serenade at the Internet Movie Database
- Sun Valley Serenade at Rotten Tomatoes