The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

1947

Comedy / Fantasy / Romance

6
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 82% · 11 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 80% · 2.5K ratings
IMDb Rating 6.9/10 10 6880 6.9K

Top cast

Boris Karloff as Dr. Hugo Hollingshead
Ann Rutherford as Gertrude Griswold
Robert Altman as Man Drinking
Hank Worden as Western Character
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1014.42 MB
960*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
Seeds 5
1.84 GB
1440*1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
Seeds 26

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by theowinthrop 8 / 10

"Poketa Poketa Poketa Poketa"

It is generally known that this, the best known film made from a purely James Thurber story (THE MALE ANIMAL was a collaborated play) was not liked by Thurber. One can understand why. The actual short story is not at all like the film, except that the central figure (Mr. Mitty) keeps having extremely odd day dreams where he does all kinds of heroic things that are totally at odd with his humdrum life. He is married, and obviously is hen-pecked. Every incident of the story sets off one of his day dreams, and (in the conclusion) he is heroically facing a firing squad. A sort of perfect conclusion as his fantasy life mirrors the deadly control of his real life by his wife.

The movie's Walter Mitty (Danny Kaye) is not married, but he lives with his bossy mother, works for an overbearing boss who steals his ideas (Thurston Hall - he publishes Mitty's dime store adventure stories), has an overbearing girlfriend with an overbearing mother, and has a male "friend" (Gordon Jones - "Mike the Cop" on Abbott& Costello's television show) who is a loud mouth and overbearing. Mitty tunes them all out to make his life bearable. He sees himself as a great surgeon, a captain of a ship rounding Cape Horn in a typhoon (and steering with a broken arm), as a Mississippi gambler, and as the great Parisian couturier "Anatol of Paris".

Then one day he runs into a blonde woman (Virginia Mayo) who is trying to flee from a gang of desperate men, including Boris Karloff (as the head of an asylum). They are trying to get her to reveal a valuable secret that will net them all millions. Mitty is dragged into this, and finds himself being pursued by the gang, and trying to fend off the interference or criticism of his mother, boss, girl friend, etc.

One can understand Thurber's anguish, as the Goldwyn film mangles the mood conciseness of the original story. It is really a comic mood piece, commenting on the living hell Mitty has that only his imagination can free him from. The movie altered this into an adventure film dealing with a milquetoast who finds his level of real bravery. As a real artist, Thurber could only regret the changes in the story. But the film was first rate entertainment, and is among the best movies in Kaye's comedy career.

To find out how Walter finds his guts at the end, and what the "poketa, poketa" machine and sound is all about, watch this delightful comedy. Then reach for the Library of America volume on Thurber, and read the original, to see how the material was originally put down on paper.

Reviewed by l_rawjalaurence 8 / 10

Superb Star Vehicle for a Much-Missed Comedy Performer

Watching the Danny Kaye version after having watched the Ben Stiller remake is a fascinating experience. The modern remake has definite virtues - notably Stiller's little-boy-lost performance in a sophisticated world of New York advertising, as well as the subtext offering an elegy to LIFE magazine, now doomed to appear on the internet only. On the other hand Norman Z. Mcleod's Technicolor version of the Thurber story contains one of Danny Kaye's best performances on film. He was nothing short of a genius - a brilliant slapstick comedian, with an apparently limitless range of facial expressions, with a natural instinct for delivering comic songs full of verbal pyrotechnics. Structurally speaking, the film has a story of sorts, but is basically a star vehicle for Kaye to show off his talents, playing a distressed sea- captain, an English flying ace (complete with cut-glass RP accent), a brilliant card-sharper (complete with cheroot) and a cowboy storming into a studio-set bound western town. His wife Sylvia Fine provides the music and lyrics for two specialty tunes; in one of them he plays a mid- European professor impersonating most of the instruments of the orchestra. With all this verbal and visual wizardry going on, it's hard to concentrate on the plot; but it doesn't really matter, as Kaye is such an endearing performer that he can quite easily win his way into the audience's affections, especially when he plays direct to camera as if performing in the live theater. The film contains one or two good supporting performances, notably from Virginia Mayo as the love-interest playing several roles in Kaye/Mitty's fantastic dreams, and Boris Karloff as a crooked psychiatrist trying to push Kaye/Mitty out of the window of an upper-floor skyscraper, and then putting him under psychological influence in an attempt to extract vital information out of him. But basically the film belongs to Kaye, a superb star vehicle for a fantastically talented actor and performer, who was as much at home in front of a live audience as he was in front of a movie camera.

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