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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of December 18 - 23, 2002


Sun Valley films: 
A match made in celluloid heaven

Express Staff Writer

Given the natural beauty of the Wood River Valley and Idaho in general, it is no surprise that a few movies have been made here. Sometimes the Sawtooth Mountain Range represented the Alps, and sometimes the Sun Valley Lodge stood in for a glamorous European lodge.

While in town, itís always fun to see one or two of these gems, particularly "Sun Valley Serenade," which plays at 5 p.m. daily at the Sun Valley Opera House, plus itís free.

The following is a partial list of movies that have been shot here and other parts of Idaho, as well as a few television specials and shows.


"The Grub Stake," 1922, and the shorts called "Little Dramas of the Big Country," were silent films shot in the 1920s, by and with Nell Shipman at Lionhead Lodge, her wilderness film studio at Priest Lake, Idaho.

"I Met Him in Paris," 1937, was filmed in Sun Valley with Claudette Colbert. She portrayed a dress designer from New York who sets off on a European vacation where she finds two equally ardent admirers, Melvyn Douglas and Robert Young. Guess what stood in for the alps?

"Stanley and Livingstone," 1939, was shot in the area with Spencer Tracy as the 19th-century journalist who travels to the mysterious jungles of Africa to find the famed Scottish missionary, played by Sir Cedric Hardwicke. Jungles in Idaho?

"Mortal Storm," 1940, with Margaret Sullavan and Jimmy Stewart was based on a Phyllis Bottome novel about a pair of young lovers torn apart during early days of the Nazi takeover. Legend has it that Hitler saw this movie and promptly banned MGM flicks in Nazi Germany,

In "Northern Pursuit," 1943, a Canadian Mountie portrayed by Errol Flynn infiltrates a Nazi spy ring.

"Sun Valley Serenade," 1941, starred skating phenom Sonja Henie as a man chasing Norwegian war refugee. Itís one of only two movies that the Glenn Miller Orchestra appeared in. A young Milton Berle has a nearly straight role. It co-starred John Payne, Dorothy Dandridge, Lynn Bari and the Nicholas Brothers. The songs include "Chattanooga Choo-Choo," "In the Mood," "I Know Why and So Do You."

"A Womanís Face," 1941, is an intense melodrama starring Joan Crawford and directed by George Cukor. Shot in Sun Valley.

"Sun Valley Cyclone," 1946, is a two reeler with Wild Bill Elliott as Red Ryder.

"Duchess of Idaho," 1950, was an MGM comedy with Esther Williams, Amanda Blake, John Lund, Eleanor Powell, Lena Horne and Van Johnson. Out on the snowy slopes of Sun Valley, a beautiful girl tries to help patch up her roommate's romance, but ends up falling in love herself. With friends like theseÖ.

In "Ski Party," 1965, the Beach Party gang goes to Sun Valley for a little ski vacation romp. A pair of college men, one of whom is Frankie Avalon, pose as girls to find out why a fellow classmate is so successful in his romantic endeavors. Oy!

"The Miracle of Todd-AO," 1955, is a documentary showing new film making technology filmed here and in the Tetons in western Wyoming.

"Bus Stop," 1956, based on a Broadway hit by William Inge, is a comic drama about a rancher, Don Murray, who falls for a nightclub singer, Marilyn Monroe, in her breakthrough movie. The pivotal scenes of the couple stranded at a bus stop in a blizzard were shot at the North Fork store, just north of Ketchum.

"Powder Heads," 1980, was filmed in Sun Valley.

In "Pale Rider," 1985, Clint Eastwood plays a gun toting preacher who arrives to save prospectors terrorized by a large mining company. It was shot in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

"Breakfast of Champions," 1999, with Albert Finney and Bruce Willis, was shot in Twin Falls with some local actors.

"Hemingway the Hunter of Death," 2001, with Albert Finney as Ernest Hemingway on a scientific safari in the late 1950s, and the ascent of Mount Kenya, was shot in Ketchum.

In "Idaho Transfer," 1973, Peter Fonda directs Keith Carradine at the Craters of the Moon as one of a group of teens who travels in time to Idaho in 2044. (What do you bet the Wood River Valley has an eight-lane highway?)

In "Talent for the Game," 1990, Edward James Olmos portrays a former baseball player, and soon-to-be discarded talent scout. Breaking down on a drive through Idaho with his girlfriend, Lorraine Bracco, he discovers a sensational pitching prospect. It was shot in Genesse, Coeur d'Alene and Moscow.

"Dark Horse," 1991, was directed by former Sun Valley resident, David Hemmings, with Ed Begley, Jr. and Mimi Rogers.

"Smoke Signals," 1997, won several Sundance Awards in 1998, including Filmmaker's Trophy winner, Director Chris Eyre, Audience Award winner, Grand Jury Prize nomination. It is the story of two young Native Americans, based on Sherman Alexie's story of friendship, love and loss, and was filmed at the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation in northern Idaho.

"Town & Country," 2001, starred Warren Beatty, Garry Shandling, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Jenna Elfman and Charlton Heston. Two silly husbands, whoíre having affairs, come to sort out life on a ski trip to Sun Valley, and donít.


TV shows filmed in Idaho, include:

"Peggy Fleming Special," 1971

"Lucy goes to Sun Valley," 1958

"Bing Crosby Christmas," 1974

Ken Burns "Lewis & Clark," 1991

"Disney Christmas On Ice," 1992

Some of the movies are available at The Community Library in Ketchum, while many are available at the video rental shops in the valley. Many also still show up on TV movie channels such as AMC.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.