When his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.
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Barbara Bel Geddes,
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
In an unused Mitty dream sequence, Boris Karloff appears as the Frankenstein (1931) monster, which explains Mitty's fear of Karloff's character. Test photos of Karloff in makeup (by Jack P. Pierce) exist, as well as a letter from Universal Pictures to Samuel Goldwyn Pictures giving permission to use the makeup design. See more »
Rosalind puts her dress back on after it has dried from the rain. She then buttons it up completely, but the camera pans away and back, and she is buttoning the top button again. See more »
Whatever the setting, and there were many, Danny Kaye always played himself -- the hypochondriacal, stuttering, cowardly, nervously fiddling neurotic. That's pretty much what he is here, and if you haven't seen a Danny Kaye movie this is a pretty funny introduction.
The plot violates James Thurber's short story, the point of which was that Walter Mitty daydreamed so much because his own life was so dull. It's probably Thurber's most popular story, although "If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomatox" has more outright laughs. Here Kaye is involved in one richly comic episode after another.
The famous fantasies are pretty much gotten out of the way before the movie is half over. The "real" scenes are at least as amusing. He's a copy editor at a pulp magazine in New York and Boris Karloff, he of the ominous lisp, is pitching him a story about a doctor who murders people without leaving a trace by pressing on a nerve at the base of the skull. "Oh, we've already used that in 'The Revenge of the Gland Specialist'," objects Kaye.
The plot is a mystery about the planned theft of the Dutch Crown Jewels. Something to do with a murder Kaye witnesses (nobody believes him), a black book, Kaye singing silly songs, a chief conspirator nicknamed "the Boot," and a dazzling innocent blond -- Virginia Mayo -- who has a pretty sassy figure.
Watching her and Kaye talking about corsets reminded me that when I was a teen, all women seemed to be wrapped up in inexplicable buckles, plastic straps, and clips that only a deranged mechanical engineer could design. Come to think of it, I'm still out of it. I don't know whether women leave body gel on or wash it off, or what bath beads are. And when did "lipstick" turn into "lip rouge," and "rouge" turn into "blush," and "mascara" into "kohl" -- or DID it? Somebody is pulling the wool over somebody's eyes around here.
You ought to see this if only for the costume design and hair styles. Wow -- what exotica! It's impossible to believe that women ever dressed like this, or hoped to, despite Fritz Feld's glutinous paean to a hat that, although it looks like something Calder might have dreamed up during a horrible hangover, can be disassembled into three -- count 'em -- three separate parts and then be piece together into yet another arrangement. Put a tiny quail under that feathery apparatus and you're talking a two-hundred dollar entree at a four-star Parisian restaurant.
There's a likable element of running gags in here too. On three occasions Kaye's blustery boss is holding important business meetings when Kaye enters unexpectedly -- once simply late, and twice more crawling backward in through the tenth floor window pursued by pigeons.
Kaye's decline was sad. He wound up singing "Thumbelina" to a nearly empty night club in later years. But he's at his peak here, and his peak was pretty good.
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