Sun Valley Serenade

When Sun Valley Serenade came on TCM I was ecstatic. I hadn’t seen that movie in several eons. Then I got to texting with my friend Sheila Schlesinger-Simon and well… the movie took on a new dimension. You know how it goes…you talk, you kibbitz, you ramble, you go off on tangents. The film stars John Payne, Lynn Bari, Milton Berle and the impressive three-time Olympic ice skating champion from Norway, SONJA HENIE. Read our  she said / she said about this campy but fun 1941 movie featuring Glenn Miller and his band…and the astounding dance team, the Nicholas Brothers.

SVS ( I )

CineMaven:  The Nicholas Brothers. can dance in the lodge but are not allowed anywhere near the slopes. I wonder where they sleep.

Sheila Schlesinger-Simon:  They must have had separate quarters. Didn’t realize Uncle Miltie was in movies.

CM:  Absolutely. Miltie mugs a lot but I love his hair. There’s Dorothy Dandridge. The Nicholases’ precision is amazing!!


SS-S:  I remember being at a hotel in the Catskills and Sammy Davis was performing. One of the kids in his party went swimming in the pool and several people complained, but the hotel stood their ground and the kid swam.

TB:  Yay!

SS-S:  At the time I thought it odd that anyone would care. Funny what you remember. I don’t think I ever saw this movie.

TB:  Wow. Harold on the left was married to Dandridge. And I’ve literally danced with  Fayard.*

SS-S:  LOL! Sonia is so tiny.

TB:  About 5’1” and won a gold medal in three different Olympics.

SS-S:  Is that Kay Kaiser?


TB:  Glenn Miller. His music…dreamy. It’s Glenn not Kay.

SS-S:  Thank you. I should have known.


TB:  I like Joan Davis too. Miltie is too much. Comic relief? Sheesh.

SS-S:  Practicing his material for tv.

TB:  Where’s his dress?

SS-S:  That sweater is perfect. I once knitted a sweater like that.

TB:  Whoa.

SS-S:  Tucked in sweater. Oy.


TB:  Well you don’t want your sweater riding up your midriff. Sweater tucked in AND a neck scarf. He’s certainly making sure no one gets in. Where’s Esther Williams?


TB:  Would Jews be allowed at Sun Valley?

SS-S:  Not likely. It’s a tough call which one of us would be allowed in, first.

TB:  You. I’ll carry your bags.

SS-S:  Only if I change my name and try and pass.

TB:  Esther acted better. More natural.

SS-S:  Henie’s English is very good.

TB:  Better than my Norwegian. THERE’S ANN DORAN! Oy vey Miltie’s mugging is gettin’ me down.

SS-S:  I guess they couldn’t get Phil Silvers or Jack Carson.

TB:  Hellzapoppin’ in the Borscht Belt.

SS-S:  I have to admit it’s more fun to watch it with you.


TB:  That’s what I do.

SS-S:  🙂  I never realized how many movies had such stupid plots that involved marriage.

TB:  It was the law. ONE MUST MARRY!

SS-S:  Didn’t see the beginning. Saw a piece of “Christmas in Connecticut” again. Stupid plot.

TB:  You could have written this. He thought he was getting a kid refugee and an Olympian shows up. Guess I’d have to keep him if John Payne’s the man.

SS-S:  LOL. He doesn’t do much for me.

TB:  You don’t like Payne?

SS-S:  Not really. Not in my top 10.

TB:  Top 20?

SS-S:  I don’t think so. I’ll have to make a list first. I’m fussy. Have a short list. Top of my list after Burt and Gregory is Zero and Mel Brooks and Groucho.


TB:  Groucho? Okay. You did say you liked to laugh.  She was one of the ten richest people in the world with her ice shows.

SS-S:  I didn’t know that about her, but not surprised.

TB:  Would audiences laugh today at Payne’s antics with the chair?

Henie's Leg Injury

SS-S:  You couldn’t sell this movie today, along with quite a few others. He sings well. Is it really him?

TB:  It’s Payne. He did musicals for 20th Century.

SS-S:  Compromised?

TB:  Lynn Bari’s a b*tch.

SS-S:  LOL. Compromised? They used that word?

TB:  Ice extravaganza. Esther’s swimming pool is frozen for Sonja to skate.

SS-S:  🙂   How do they get that mirror image on ice?

TB:  A mirror? Water reflects. Don’t you know science?

SS-S:  I know it reflects but it looks so perfect. The ice doesn’t show marks.

TB:  Hollywood does perfection in its sleep. Black ice. Fred and Ginger on ice. Everyone had their specialty. I loved Peggy Fleming. Henie – 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympic Champion.

SS-S:  I remember.

TB:  She glides like a swan and skates very fast. Her athleticism is amazing. She stops on a dime!!!


SS-S:  I’m glad I can put one foot in front of the other.

TB:  🙂

SS-S:  Shirley Temple did not make a good transition as a teen.

TB:  Sure she did: The Bachelor and the BobbySoxer. I hate The Bishop’s Wife. ACK!

SS-S:  I like Cary.

TB:  Cary, yes. But not as an angel.

SS-S:  I’m not fussy. I just like to watch him. David Niven not so much and I’m not a Loretta Young fan.

TB:  Sure you’re fussy. John Payne doesn’t make your short list. See Loretta in 30’s pre-codes.

SS-S:  Okay. Early Loretta.

TB:  What do you feel about Judy Holliday?

SS-S:   Love her. Especially Born Yesterday.”  Wish they hadn’t made a re-make.

TB:  Just saw The Marrying Kind. Xcellent. Felt like I was watching Woody Allen.

SS-S:  Do I know that movie?

TB:  Judy and Aldo Ray.

SS-S:  Love them both.

TB:  I’m new to Aldo. He’s adorably gruff.

SS-S:  Yes.

TB:  You type fast. I’m on my iPHONE.

SS-S:  I’m on my iPHONE.

TB:  Oh crap.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

( * ) Yes, I really did dance with Fayard Nicholas. He was a very old gentleman by that time. My friend and I went to a party in Harlem, and there he was. My friend asked Mr. Nicholas if he would dance with me, and he said yes.

( HOME )


2 thoughts on “Sun Valley Serenade

  1. I just watched this yesterday! I too was thinking Sonia was a skating Esther Williams. Olympians made a lot of money for the studios…..Sonia, Esther, and Johnny Weissmuller. Did I forget anyone?

    Amazing how easy this foolish film goes down. John Payne is easy on the eyes, Glenn Miller gets your toes tapping. And speaking of tapping, The Nicholas Brothers are easily the best thing in the film. Thanks for the not too sarcastic review! I hate to see these movies torn down, even when they are full of hokum.


    • You’ll never see me tear down a movie except when it really deserves to be torn down. These pieces of fluff are harmless; made for a different heart and time. Yes on all counts how easy this goes down. Sonja Henie was quite the athlete. Ha…there’s not an athletic star today who they can turn into a movie star today. If there is…let me know. Thanks for reading this Wendy.


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