The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Fantasy  |  1 September 1947 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 4,249 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 24 critic

A clumsy daydreamer gets caught up in a sinister conspiracy.



(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Fay Bainter ...
Mrs. Eunice Mitty
Gertrude Griswold
Thurston Hall ...
Bruce Pierce
Tubby Wadsworth
Florence Bates ...
Mrs. Irma Griswold
Konstantin Shayne ...
Peter van Hoorn
Doris Lloyd ...
Mrs. Leticia Follinsbee
Fritz Feld ...
Milton Parsons ...
Tyler - the Butler


In New York the clumsy Walter Mitty is the publisher of pulp fiction at the Pierce Publishing house owned by Bruce Pierce. He lives with his overbearing mother and neither his fiancée Gertrude Griswold and her mother nor his best friend Tubby Wadsworth respects him. Walter is an escapist and daydreams into a world of fantasy many times along the day. When Walter is commuting, he stumbles in the train with the gorgeous Rosalind van Hoorn who uses Walter to escape from her pursuer. Walter unintentionally gets involved with a dangerous ring of spies that are seeking a black book with notes about a hidden treasure. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

1 September 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Doppelleben des Herrn Mitty  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Queen Mary appears in the background in the scene where Mitty takes a taxi to Pier 47 in an effort to retrieve his briefcase. The Queen Mary, used as a troop transport during World War II, is still painted in its wartime gray in this scene, filmed about a year after the end of the War. See more »


When Rosalind van Hoorn goes into the library, she puts her handbag on the piano along with her fur coat. At this time she is wearing green gloves. She turns around and in the next shot she is no longer wearing the gloves. See more »


Walter Mitty: Your small minds are musclebound with suspicion. That's because the only exercise you ever get is jumping to conclusions.
See more »


Referenced in Silver Spoons: The Secret Life of Ricky Stratton (1985) See more »


Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
Played at the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

Danny Kaye Shines as Thurber Gets The Goldwyn Treatment
24 November 2004 | by (Whitehall, PA) – See all my reviews

While WONDER MAN and THE COURT JESTER might be more consistently wacky, I thought THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (TSLoWM) brought out the vulnerable side of Danny Kaye, one of my faves since childhood (I never missed any of Kaye's movies on WPIX when I was growing up). It usually gets on my nerves when I see movie characters allowing themselves to be as put-upon and henpecked as Kaye's Walter is here, but there was a sweetness about him that made me root for him instead of merely growling, "Oh, tell 'em all to go to hell already" -- and as a result, it's that much more satisfying when Walter finally does tell off his obnoxious so-called friends and loved ones (unlike such "comedies of cruelty" as MADHOUSE, where the last 10 minutes of Revenge Against The Oppressors are the only entertaining parts of the movie)! Although James Thurber, another of my faves, reportedly tried to buy off producer Samuel Goldwyn to keep the film from being made and hated the finished product, I think perhaps Thurber wasn't being quite fair. First off, books and film have different storytelling requirements, and second, the first 10 minutes are almost straight from Thurber's story (except it's Walter and his nagging mom instead of a nagging wife :-), and it seemed to me that the characters and performances had very Thurberesque qualities about them. Boris Karloff and Konstantin Shayne are delightfully unctuous villains (Fun Fact: their henchman, Henry Corden, later became the voice of Fred Flintstone!). As Walter's literal and figurative dream girl Rosalind van Hoorn, frequent Kaye co-star Virginia Mayo was thoroughly beguiling and never looked lovelier (and hey, the radiant Mayo was a size 12 and nobody considered *her* a "plus size," thank you very much! :-). TSLoWM also contains two of my favorite Kaye/Sylvia Fine musical numbers: "Symphony for Unstrung Tongue" (am I the only one who finds the line "He gets so excited that he has a solo passage" to be subtly salacious? :-) and "Anatole of Paris." To top it all off, it takes place primarily in my hometown and favorite city, New York City, and is set in one of my favorite milieus, pulp magazine publishing! My hubby and I like to think that Uncle Peter's grand home must be located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, where we used to live, since it looks like the kind of homes we used to see while walking around in the Fieldston area and it didn't seem to take horrifically long for Walter and Rosalind to drive there from the Flatiron district of Manhattan! :-) (Interestingly, the interior of the van Hoorn home looks a lot like the interior of evil Bruno Anthony's home in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN; anybody know if these scenes might have been shot in the same house/set?) I wish the DVD extras had included deleted scenes (there's a bit in the trailer with Karloff and Corden in a pub that I definitely don't recall seeing in the finished film), but it was nice to see Virginia Mayo still alive and well (and bigger than "size 12," but on her it's pleasant plumpness, in my opinion! :-) in the intro and outro, even though she only had time to say one line about most of her co-stars ("Ann Rutherford was delightful...Fay Bainter was a consummate actress...").

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