Sun Valley Serenade is a 1941 musical film starring Sonja Henie, John Payne, Lynn Bari and Milton Berle. It features The Glenn Miller Orchestra as well as dancing by The Nicholas Brothers and Dorothy Dandridge.
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 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.
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".
Future Olympic gold medalist Gretchen Fraser was the skiing stand-in for Sonja Henie. Fraser was a member of the Olympic team in 1940 (cancelled) and 1948.