01 February, 2011

Sun Valley Serenade

70 years ago Twentieth Century Fox had sound stages 17-21 busy making a movie with location shooting in California’s Sun Valley.  Viewing this movie today, you may come to the conclusion that the American lingo has changed almost beyond recognition.  Every word spoken in the film is absolutely coherent, no sub-titles needed thank you – try re-runs of the West Wing or any of the Bourne movies and, hand on heart, did you catch all the dialogue?
In Sun Valley Serenade http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034241/ Sonja Henie performs some breathtaking ice dancing, while John Payne is the romantic lead alternating between Lynn Bari and Sonja (no contest).  Milton Berle and Joan Davis supply comic moments but the star, for me, is the Glenn Miller Orchestra, beautifully choreographed by Hermes Pan and brilliantly filmed and sound-mixed.
I suspect a lot of comedy with Berle and Davis ended up knee-deep on the cutting room floor. I’d have gladly reinstated those moments and dumped some gooey, but short-lived moments with the Hay’s Office inspired ‘love’ scenes.  However, it's a charming movie, nominated for three Oscars with the Miller band performing a classic version of Chattanooga Choo Choo.  Check is out (less than a fiver on Amazon) and ponder … why aren’t they making movies with such clear use of the English language these days in good old Hollywood!