Sun Valley Serenade (1941)
Another 1940s musical that exceeded my expectations. I saw Sun Valley Serenade as a kid and frankly Sonja Henie was not a very good actress, not even as good as mediocre. Henie made up for it with a sweet smile and charming disposition to go along with her figure skating talent. Her character is a bubbly Norwegian refugee sent to a pianist (John Payne) who was expecting a child not a cute grown woman. She can cook, ski, skate, and dance the polka. With these talents she snags Payne from his cold girlfriend (Lynn Bari).
John Payne and Sonja Henie dance the Polka
The film has many merits that make you forget the silly plot. Firstly Henie’s skating but also the Glenn Miller Orchestra playing “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “Moonlight Serenade,” and “In the Mood.” The Nicholas Brothers and a very young Dorothy Dandridge also perform to “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” This movie was Oscar-nominated for B&W cinematography and Best music. There is also Milton Berle as comedic relief.
This video includes Milton Berle, The Glenn Miller Orchestra and Lynn Bari. Dandridge and The Nicholas Brothers start performing at 5:00 minutes. Enjoy!