The Glenn Miller Story is a 1954 American film directed by Anthony Mann and starring James Stewart in their first non-western collaboration.
The film follows big band leader Glenn Miller (1904–1944) (James Stewart) from his early days in the music business in 1929 through to his presumed 1944 death when the airplane he was flying in was lost over the English Channel during World War II. Prominent placement in the film is given to Miller's courtship and marriage to Helen Burger (June Allyson), and various cameos by actual musicians who were colleagues of Miller.
Several turning points in Miller's career are depicted with varying degrees of verisimilitude, including: the success of an early jazz band arrangement; his departure from the Broadway pit and sideman work to front a band of his own; the failure of his first band on the road; and the subsequent reforming of his successful big band and the establishment of the “Miller Sound” as typified by “Moonlight Serenade”. Also depicted is Miller’s international success touring his band in support of the Allies in World War II.
James Stewart as Glenn Miller
June Allyson as Helen Burger Miller
Harry Morgan (miscredited as Henry Morgan) as Chummy MacGregor
Charles Drake as Don Haynes
George Tobias as Si Shribman
Barton MacLane as Gen. Henry H. Arnold, USAAF
Marion Ross as Polly Haynes
Nino Tempo as Wilber Schwartz
The soundtrack included many big band pieces originally performed by Glenn Miller's orchestra.
"Little Brown Jug"
"St. Louis Blues — March"
"Basin Street Blues"
"In the Mood"
"String of Pearls"
The film contains songs by musicians who also make cameo appearances in the film. These cameos include: Louis Armstrong, Barney Bigard, Cozy Cole, Gene Krupa, Frances Langford, Skeets McDonald, Marty Napoleon, Ben Pollack, Babe Russin, Arvell Shaw, The Modernaires, and James Young.
The soundtrack to the movie, The Glenn Miller Story---Sound Track, Decca DL 5519, was number one on the Billboard albums chart while the album Glenn Miller Plays Selections from 'The Glenn Miller Story', RCA Victor LPT 3057, was number two for the week of April 17, 1954, the latter album itself reaching number one in May. An expanded version of the latter album was certified Gold in 1961. The tribute album I Remember Glenn Miller, Capitol H 476, by Ray Anthony was number nine on the same Billboard album chart for that week. The extended play versions of the same albums also reached the same position on the Billboard EP charts for that week. The Modernaires released a 45 single on Coral Records, 9-61110, A Salute to Glenn Miller, which included medleys in two parts from the movie soundtrack, Parts 1 and 2: (I've Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo/Moonlight Cocktail/Elmer's Tune/Moonlight Serenade/Chattanooga Choo Choo/String Of Pearls/Serenade In Blue/At Last/Perfidia, that reached number 29 on the Billboard charts in 1954.