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.