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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Passport to Life , Passport to Love and Sun Valley . According to the Var review, the film was "the spontaneous brainchild of Darryl Zanuck, 20th-Fox production chief, who got the background inspiration during a vacation sojourn at the resort [Sun Valley, Idaho] several months ago." According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the screenplay was based on an "original story outline" by producer Milton Sperling. The legal records and HR news items indicate, however, that the original story Passport to Life was written by Allan Scott and Bert Granet. A memorandum attached to the SAB , located in the picture's clippings file at the AMPAS Library, noted that "the studio had bought a story without any obligation to give credit to either title or authors and that Art Arthur and Robert Harari had done so much work in preparing it that they were giving them screen story credit, but that even though no other source was given, they definitely did NOT do an ORIGINAL screen story." A 22 Sep 1939 HR news item announced that Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell were to star in Scott and Granet's original story Passport to Life , which was to be produced by Raymond Griffith. Arthur and Harari were assigned to do the treatment, and on 8 Apr 1940, HR stated that Sperling was to rewrite their screenplay, Passport to Love , for producer Griffith. In Jul 1940, ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Passport to Life , Passport to Love and Sun Valley . According to the Var review, the film was "the spontaneous brainchild of Darryl Zanuck, 20th-Fox production chief, who got the background inspiration during a vacation sojourn at the resort [Sun Valley, Idaho] several months ago." According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the screenplay was based on an "original story outline" by producer Milton Sperling. The legal records and HR news items indicate, however, that the original story Passport to Life was written by Allan Scott and Bert Granet. A memorandum attached to the SAB , located in the picture's clippings file at the AMPAS Library, noted that "the studio had bought a story without any obligation to give credit to either title or authors and that Art Arthur and Robert Harari had done so much work in preparing it that they were giving them screen story credit, but that even though no other source was given, they definitely did NOT do an ORIGINAL screen story." A 22 Sep 1939 HR news item announced that Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell were to star in Scott and Granet's original story Passport to Life , which was to be produced by Raymond Griffith. Arthur and Harari were assigned to do the treatment, and on 8 Apr 1940, HR stated that Sperling was to rewrite their screenplay, Passport to Love , for producer Griffith. In Jul 1940, Sperling was assigned production duties, his first for Twentieth Century-Fox. The legal records note that Ralph Freed and Captain Richard Carroll filed a law suit against Twentieth Century-Fox in which they claimed that the studio had plagiarized their story, "Pigtails," but the suit was later dropped.
       According to a 3 Jul 1940 HR news item, Sun Valley ski instructor Ragnar Qvale was expected to have a role in the picture. Although he does not appear in the released film, studio publicity noted that Qvale taught extras how to ski. Sun Valley Serenade was Sonja Henie's first film since Everything Happened at Night , released by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1939, and also marked Glenn Miller's first film as an actor, although he had appeared as himself in earlier pictures. Child actor Gary Gray made his screen debut in the film, as did Miller's popular singing group The Modernaires. HR news items indicate that Jack Oakie was to have a leading role, Cobina Wright, Jr. and Carole Landis were considered for the part of "Vivian Dawn," and Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin were originally assigned to write songs for the picture. HR also noted that Janis Carter was to be tested for a role, although she does not appear in the finished film, and that second unit director Mal St. Clair briefly filled in for director H. Bruce Humberstone after he was injured in a car accident at the beginning of May 1941. HR news items, studio publicity and legal records note that parts of the picture were shot on location at Sun Valley and at a railroad station in Salt Lake City, Utah. According to studio records and publicity and the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, three songs written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon did not appear in the released film. They were titled: "At Last," "The World Is Waiting to Waltz Again" and "I'm Lena, the Ballerina." Although it has not been determined if the first two songs were recorded, "I'm Lena, the Ballerina" was recorded by Joan Davis, and the sequence featuring her singing it was photographed. The PCA objected to certain lyrics in the song, although it has not been determined if that was the reason for the number being deleted from the release print. The film opened in several other cities after its premieres in Salt Lake City and Atlantic City on 21 Aug 1941 and before its general release on 29 Aug 1941. The picture received Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Music (Scoring of a musical picture) and Best Song ("Chattanooga Choo Choo"). "Chattanooga Choo Choo," as recorded by Glenn Miller and his orchestra with a vocal by Tex Beneke, was a huge hit, and was the first record in fifteen years to sell over a million copies. To commemorate the achievement, RCA Victor presented Miller with a solid gold record, which was an actual disc of the song. It was the first time a gold record was presented to a recording artist, although the Record Industry Association of America did not start awarding "official" gold records until 1958. In a 27 Nov 1948 SEP article, Sonja Henie stated that "Karen Benson" was the role she "liked best" and that it was the "liveliest role of [her] screen career." According to a 24 Nov 1952 LAT news item, Darryl Zanuck hoped to remake the film as It Happened in Sun Valley with Dan Dailey as the star. According to a 10 Sep 1988 Var news item, Broadway producer Martin Stager also planned to remake the film as a stage musical with a script written by Steve Allen and Sheldon Keller. As with the Zanuck project, the stage musical was never realized. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 Jun 1941.
---
Daily Variety
25 Jul 41
p. 3, 5
Down Beat
1 Oct 42
p. 6.
Film Daily
24 Jul 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Sep 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Oct 40
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 40
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 40
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Dec 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 41
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Feb 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 41
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Feb 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 41
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 41
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 41
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Mar 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Apr 41
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Apr 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
1 May 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 41
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 41
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 41
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 41
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 41
p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
24 Nov 1952.
---
Motion Picture Daily
28 Jul 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald
2 Aug 1941.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 May 41
p. 137.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Sep 41
p. 251.
New York Times
1 Jun 1941.
---
New York Times
6 Sep 41
p. 20.
The Saturday Evening Post
27 Nov 1948.
---
Variety
23 Jul 41
p. 8.
Variety
10 Sep 1988.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit and fill-in dir
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ski clothes
MUSIC
Mus dir
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Sonja Henie's hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech dir of skiing seq
Prod mgr
Tech dir
Ski instructor
Ice skating rink designer
Sonja Henie's harmonica instructor
Pub dir
STAND INS
Stand-in for Sonja Henie
Singing voice double for Lynn Bari
Trumpet double for George Montgomery
Piano double for Cesar Romero
Bass double for Jackie Gleason
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Moonlight Serenade," music by Glenn Miller
"In the Mood," music by Joe Garland.
SONGS
"I Know Why (And So Do You)," "It Happened in Sun Valley," "Chattanooga Choo Choo" and "The Kiss Polka," music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Mack Gordon.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Sun Valley
Passport to Life
Passport to Love
Release Date:
29 August 1941
Premiere Information:
Salt Lake City, UT and Atlantic City, NJ openings: 21 August 1941
Production Date:
24 March--late May 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
29 August 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10689
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
85
Length(in feet):
7,732
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7218
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When famed Idaho ski resort Sun Valley puts out a call for a band to back up singer Vivian Dawn, Phil Corey takes his band, the Dartmouth Troubadors, to the audition in New York City. Vivian throws a temper tantrum after bandleader Jimmy Norton plays an arrangement not to her liking, and Phil steps in. Phil's piano player, Ted Scott, quickly becomes enamoured of the singer, and makes a date with her after the band is engaged by Sun Valley's agent, Jack Murray. While the band members and their publicist, Jerome K. "Nifty" Allen, are congratulating each other, they receive a telegram announcing that the war refugee they volunteered to sponsor will be arriving soon. Ted, whose name Nifty put on the application, is angry, for it was only to be a publicity stunt, but the band members decide to pitch in and care for the refugee, whom they assume will be a small child. When they go to Ellis Island to greet their ward, however, they find Karen Benson, an adult Norwegian woman who had to flee her homeland after her father was killed. Karen, grateful for Ted's sponsorship, decides that she will return the favor by marrying him, but he tries to dampen her romantic aspirations. When Karen finds out that the band will be traveling to Sun Valley while she is to be sent to Nifty's aunt for safekeeping, she asks Nifty to sneak her aboard the train to Idaho. Nifty, who has a crush on Karen, reluctantly agrees, and upon reaching Sun Valley, Karen surprises Ted with her skiing expertise. Ted loves to ski and, disappointed that Vivian ... +


When famed Idaho ski resort Sun Valley puts out a call for a band to back up singer Vivian Dawn, Phil Corey takes his band, the Dartmouth Troubadors, to the audition in New York City. Vivian throws a temper tantrum after bandleader Jimmy Norton plays an arrangement not to her liking, and Phil steps in. Phil's piano player, Ted Scott, quickly becomes enamoured of the singer, and makes a date with her after the band is engaged by Sun Valley's agent, Jack Murray. While the band members and their publicist, Jerome K. "Nifty" Allen, are congratulating each other, they receive a telegram announcing that the war refugee they volunteered to sponsor will be arriving soon. Ted, whose name Nifty put on the application, is angry, for it was only to be a publicity stunt, but the band members decide to pitch in and care for the refugee, whom they assume will be a small child. When they go to Ellis Island to greet their ward, however, they find Karen Benson, an adult Norwegian woman who had to flee her homeland after her father was killed. Karen, grateful for Ted's sponsorship, decides that she will return the favor by marrying him, but he tries to dampen her romantic aspirations. When Karen finds out that the band will be traveling to Sun Valley while she is to be sent to Nifty's aunt for safekeeping, she asks Nifty to sneak her aboard the train to Idaho. Nifty, who has a crush on Karen, reluctantly agrees, and upon reaching Sun Valley, Karen surprises Ted with her skiing expertise. Ted loves to ski and, disappointed that Vivian will not ski with him, is happy to have Karen as a partner. Vivian grows jealous though, and one evening, surprises everyone at dinner by announcing that she has decided to accept Ted's standing marriage proposal. Karen is crushed but devises a scheme to win Ted over when the two of them begin to ski down from the restaurant to the lodge below. By knocking his skiis down the mountain and then pretending that she has hurt her knee, Karen contrives for them to spend the evening in an emergency cabin. By the time Phil, Vivian and Nifty arrive with the ski patrol to rescue them, Ted has figured out Karen's scheme. He has also realized that he does love the persistent Norwegian, and when Vivian delivers an ultimatum to choose between the two of them, Ted chooses Karen. Vivian storms out as Ted dances with Karen, and later, the Dartmouth Troubadors are the hit of Sun Valley when they accompany Karen in an ice-skating extravaganza. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.