Monday, January 13, 2014
The patience of some people (including James Thurber) was tested by the inclusion of several musical set-pieces for star Danny Kaye. Fast-paced, comical, tongue-twisting songs were Kaye's speciality, and he performs two here in their entirety. If you hate them, fast forward.
Kaye plays well-meaning, eternally day-dreaming Walter Mitty with real charm. The rest of the cast is solid as well, with Virginia Mayo as a love interest who pulls the engaged and somewhat infantilized Mitty into the world of espionage and, ultimately, adult-hood. Boris Karloff makes a great villain, as always, and ubiquitous character actor Thurston Hall sputters and fulminates nicely as Mitty's magazine-editor boss.
One of the things that marks this as a non-contemporary Hollywood movie is that Mitty's awakening doesn't turn him into a superheroic Everyman. He has to use his brains and a bit of luck when the plot reaches full boil. Adulthood didn't require hypercompetent ultraviolence in 1947. Recommended.