The opening scene of the movie describes it best: "Once upon a time there lived in Denmark a great storyteller named Hans Christian Andersen. This is not the story of his life, but a fairy tale about the great spinner of fairy tales."
A completely fabricated biography of the famous Danish fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen featuring several of his stories and a ballet performance of "The Little Mermaid". Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Michael Powell was in discussions to direct, and Gary Cooper was at one stage was sought for the title role by Samuel Goldwyn. See more »
During the "Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen" song the concertina player directly behind the singer never moves his fingers on the keys. See more »
[working on a beautiful ballerina's shoes]
I almost wish she'd asked me for something really impossible.
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Opening credits: "Once upon a time there lived in Denmark a great storyteller named Hans Christian Andersen. This is not the story of his life, but a fairy tale about this great spinner of fairy tales." See more »
You could describe this as a childrens film but it's rather more of a family/young at heart type of story. These days it just doesn't really appeal to the age range that flocked to see it when it was released back in 1952, but if you have a good understanding of fables and fairy stories you will appreciate this little gem. First off it clearly states at the beginning of the film it's not a biography of Anderson but rather just a made up story, much in the style Anderson would have wrote himself. Hans was very much one of those village idiots/dreamers in his native Denmark and here he is portrayed as the childish adult who lets kids skive off school and teach them stories and songs which actually have a lot more impact on children than just sitting in a classroom reading books. And he's right, all of the stories he wrote had morals. However the stern mature townsfolk don't see things his way and go about throwing the guy out of their precious village to stop him corrupting the young minds with these 'childish' meanderings. Hans and his good friend young Peter take a trip to Copanhagen (or Copen-ha-gen as they seem to like calling) and there we see the masters inspiration and imagination go wild. He falls for a beautiful French ballerina, who he suspects her husband is beating her, a very adult topic to delve into, he gets into trouble with the law and ends up doing freelance work for the Ballerina - fixing her shoes. he reads all the signals wrong and falls for her unaware that for him fact and fantasy are overlapping. Peter seems to be the more mature of the two and eventually gets tired of warning Hans about building his hopes and getting obsessed about things he can never have. Skip to the end... Han's realises that there is more to life than day-dreams and clocks and flowers and returns to his village, slightly deflated but more wordly wiser and lives happily ever after.
There's a very good moral to the story but it's one you can't really explain, you have to watch it and see for yourself. Your dreams are china in your hands. Danny Kaye is fabulous as Hans he always brings with him that symapathetic, boish quality and the ballet sequences are stunning for their time. The characters are basic but are very important to the way the film evolves. Inaccurate and very outdated but beautifully told and well acted.
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