by Mack Gordon & Harry Warren
I see Vienna,
No violins playing,
The music is through,
The Blue Danube’s blue.
I can see Holland,
No windmills are turning,
The tulips know why,
And wither and die.
There’s Venice, but no gondoliers,
And the Seine is a river of tears.
The world is waiting to waltz again,
The way we all used to do.
The world is waiting for music and laughter
That always comes after the storm is through.
The feet that marched to the beat of drums
Will dance for joy when that great day comes.
When love returns to the hearts of all men
The world will be waltzing again.
Before leaving Sun Valley Serenade behind, I wanted to write a bit more about a song I described briefly in the last posting. THE WORLD IS WAITING TO WALTZ AGAIN is a ghostly phantom, a Mack Gordon-Harry Warren song written, recorded and filmed for the movie, but then cut and discarded.
There are few things more forlorn than a cut movie song. Unpublished and unheralded, it leaves no memories or good feelings behind. Sometimes a dialogue lead-in or musical underscore remains to show where the song might have appeared, but usually the surgery to remove it is done so well that it is not missed.
A few stills and home movies firmly plant the song’s original placement as part of the “black ice” skating finale, during which the enlarged Miller band with strings is visible in a few cutaway shots. The soundtrack heard in the released film is by a studio orchestra. Fortunately, the soundtrack performance of WALTZ was included on one of the Fox studio discs pressed at the time of release. It’s mostly a vocal by John Payne, with swirling strings and lush Miller reeds in the introduction. Bill Finegan arranged the song for an augmented personnel; it lasts barely two minutes before it ends rather abruptly after the vocal. It’s a lovely melody with a moody lyric that hints at the wartime devastation then overrunning Europe. Familiar tropes like the blue Danube, Venetian gondoliers and tulips from Holland are evoked in the verse, but in stark terms (for a 1941 pop song that is). The tulips have withered and died and the Seine “is a river of tears.” The refrain is more optimistic, alluding to the joy and laughter that will re-emerge “when that great day comes.”
There was very little in the war news to be optimistic about in the Spring of 1941. America was doing its best to stay uninvolved, but that was beginning to seem like a pipe dream. Other songs of the era, like MY SISTER AND I, similarly reference the horrors unfolding in Europe, yet as the lyric flatly states, “But we don’t talk about that.” Here’s the Jimmy Dorsey-Bob Eberly version of MY SISTER AND I:
Though it was very muted, the war reference in THE WORLD IS WAITING TO WALTZ AGAIN was likely one factor in the song’s being dropped from Sun Valley Serenade. Though it would have fit very naturally with Sonja Henie’s character arc as a Norwegian war refugee, America’s strictly pacifist attitude in 1941 was keenly felt in Hollywood. The Production Code Administration cautioned filmmakers to play down any references to current events, for fear of complaints that the movie studios were pushing a war agenda. Oddly, the song was apparently considered for inclusion in John Payne’s next Fox musical, Week-End in Havana, where it’s presence would have been incongruous, to say the least!
In any event, the song hit the cutting room floor permanently, though some newspaper ads mentioned it as one of the film’s “hits.”
In the 1990s, 20th Century-Fox produced three hour-long cable TV specials that consisted entirely of cut musical numbers and comedy routines from Fox productions. Titled HIDDEN HOLLYWOOD, they included no new music by Glenn Miller and the band, but who knows? If Fox saved all this other material in their vaults, the lost Miller performances may surface one day. This discussion of missing Miller will continue when we get to the band’s next film, Orchestra Wives.