Danny Kaye

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The Five Pennies Review


Good
Louis Armstrong's appearance here -- as himself -- is The Five Pennies' real draw, though Danny Kaye, Barbara Bel Geddes, and the rest of the cast turn in admirable performances in this biopic of relatively obscure jazz trumpeter Loring "Red" Nichols. Nichols has quite the turbulent life story -- starting his own popular jazz combo (the titular Five Pennies) after pissing off every band leader in New York, only to have it all crash down on him when his daughter develops polio. During WWII he works as a shipyard laborer before bouncing back again for a bittersweet finale. While Kaye is perfectly fine in the lead, the story of Nichols just isn't on par with the life of some of music's greats. The combination of career self-destruction and simple bad luck are just a little too spurious to make for a classic movie.

The Court Jester Review


Very Good
Pleasant, though not particularly challenging, The Court Jester deconstructs and spoofs the swashbuckler movie with Danny Kaye as a hapless Robin Hood wannabe who stumbles his way into the court of the usurper of the crown. The film has a few classic moments, namely the famous, slapstick bit which begins, "The pellet with the poison is in the vessel with the pestle." Ah, what a knave...

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty Review


OK
James Thurber hated this adaptation of his short story, and I'm no huge fan of it, either. Danny Kaye is frenetically interested as Walter Mitty, a man so bored with his job and his life that he daydreams himself into fantastic situations (thug, gambler, wild west outlaw, and so on), with hilarious results. Well, not that hilarious... the film is repetitious to a fault, with Kaye alternately convincing himself he's dreaming his situations and sure they're all legit. It all gets old after half an hour, and you've got 80 minutes to go.
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