Monday, September 7, 2009

#479: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Cast: Danny Kaye & Virginia Mayo

Although apparently hugely unsuccessful for the throngs on the IMDB message boards, I believe this film to be a true classic. Walter Mitty is a proofreader at Pierce Publishing, where he spends most of his hours daydreaming of being a hero. When the opportunity comes for him to be a real hero, it's a different story.

Kaye's klutzy Mitty is a huge source of entertainment, providing great slapstick humor to some incredible vocal talent. In fact, I was so impressed by one song that I'm providing it here. That's right, folks! Richie's first embedded video! Enjoy, and just wait until the end - it's worth it!

The music throughout is a lot of fun, often complimenting the slapstick scenes.

Unfortunately, Mike Myers is scheduled to star in a remake of this film at some point in 2010, so I recommend watching the original before it is ruined. Also, let me know what you think when you do, because I really don't understand why so many people on IMDB disliked this. I, on the other hand, give two thumbs up.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):
  • Author James Thurber acknowledged that the character Walter Mitty was based on his friend, writer Robert Benchley. Thurber said that he got the idea for Mitty from the character created by Benchley in a series of shorts that he made for Fox and MGM, respectively, in the 1920s and 1930s. Thurber is also on record as saying that he hated this film and that Danny Kaye's interpretation of Mitty is nothing at all like he intended the character to be.
  • Author James Thurber offered producer Samuel Goldwyn $10,000 to not make the film.
  • Danny Kaye's wife, Sylvia Fine, wrote the lyrics to a song in which Walter Mitty fantasizes that he is the homosexual women's hat designer Anatole of Paris, whose show he stumbles upon while escaping from villains in Stacey's Department Store. She was a musical-theater buff and introduced a reference to the song "Ol' Man River" (from Show Boat (1936)) into the lyrics of the song "Anatole of Paris" and satirical references to "Show Boat" in one of Mitty's daydreams.

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