The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)

Article #1602 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-3-2005
Posting Date: 12-31-2005
Directed by Norman Z. McLeod
Featuring Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Boris Karloff

A perpetual daydreamer finds himself mixed up with thieves after the Dutch crown jewels.

I haven’t read the James Thurber story on which this movie is based, but I’m willing to bet that the plot elements surrounding the Dutch crown jewels are nowhere to be found in it. Still, I suspect it was just the screenwriter’s way to take the daydreaming conceit and stretch it into a whole movie. Though it seems to be a favorite among Danny Kaye fans, I have to admit being a little disappointed by it, but then, I’m coming at it from the direction of a Boris Karloff fan, and despite the fact that he has two great scenes and a great opening line, you have to wait for half the movie to pass before he appears, and then he’s mostly shuttled off to the sidelines. Danny Kaye was a good choice for the role of Walter Mitty, especially during the sequences in which he fantasizes himself in several different scenarios; however, the movie strains things a little to give him his trademark musical numbers, which, though they’re amusing enough, feel out of place. The movie runs a bit long for my taste, but I do like the pulp magazine covers that decorate the office where he works, and there are lots of familiar faces, including Milton Parsons as a butler. A mixed bag, but it has its moments.


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