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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)

Approved | | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance | 1 September 1947 (USA)
A clumsy daydreamer gets caught up in a sinister conspiracy.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mrs. Eunice Mitty
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Gertrude Griswold
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Bruce Pierce
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Tubby Wadsworth
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Mrs. Irma Griswold
Konstantin Shayne ...
Peter van Hoorn
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Colonel
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Hendrick
Doris Lloyd ...
Mrs. Leticia Follinsbee
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Anatole
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Karl Maasdam
Milton Parsons ...
Butler Tyler

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Storyline

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

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1 September 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Doppelleben des Herrn Mitty  »

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(Western Electric Recording)

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Opening credits: The characters, events and firms depicted in this photoplay are entirely fictional. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or firms is purely coincidental. See more »

Goofs

The swastikas shown on the Spitfire are originally shown in reverse. Shortly thereafter they are shown the correct way round. Clearly the studio mocked up one side of a Spitfire and simply reversed the filmed image to 'show' both sides of the plane. See more »

Quotes

Walter Mitty: Did you see a woman in a green dress? I didn't see the driver's face, but the back of his head was kind of... onlong
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Connections

Referenced in It's Your 20th Television Anniversary, Charlie Brown (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

The Old Folks at Home Swanee River
(1851) (uncredited)
Music by Stephen Foster
Background in daydream session with Tubby
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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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