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The Five Pennies
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The Five Pennies (1959) More at IMDbPro »

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The Five Pennies -- The success-tempered-with-tears biopic of jazz great Red Nichols (portrayed by Danny Kaye). Also featuring excellent performances by Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, Bob Crosby, Ray Anthony, Shelly Manne, Barbara Bel Geddes and the debut of Tuesday Weld.


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Up 20% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Jack Rose (screenplay) and
Melville Shavelson (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Five Pennies on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
August 1959 (USA) See more »
Loring "Red" Nichols is a cornet-playing country boy who goes to New York in the 1920s full of musical ambition and principles... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations See more »
(2 articles)
Daily Briefing. 2011 Lists from Slant, Frieze, Ebert, MSN and More
 (From MUBI. 16 December 2011, 3:18 AM, PST)

Actress Gordon Dies At 62
 (From WENN. 15 December 2011, 4:06 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
10 stars for the music burned in my head since the 60ies... See more (24 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Danny Kaye ... 'Red' Nichols

Barbara Bel Geddes ... Willa Stutsman

Louis Armstrong ... Louis Armstrong

Harry Guardino ... Tony Valani

Bob Crosby ... Wil Paradise

Bobby Troup ... Artie Schutt

Susan Gordon ... Dorothy Nichols - Ages 6 to 8

Tuesday Weld ... Dorothy Nichols - Age 13

Ray Anthony ... Jimmy Dorsey

Shelly Manne ... Dave Tough
Ray Daley ... Glenn Miller

Valerie Allen ... Tommye Eden
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Eric Alden ... Musician (uncredited)
Babette Bain ... Rehabilitation Patient (uncredited)

Bill Baldwin ... Announcer (uncredited)
Sheryn Banks ... Girl at Birthday Party (uncredited)
Earl Barton ... Choreographer (uncredited)
Henry Beau ... (uncredited)
Francesca Bellini ... (uncredited)
John Benson ... Musician (uncredited)

Alexander Campbell ... Doctor (uncredited)

Cindy Carol ... Girl at Birthday Party (uncredited)

Lesley-Marie Colburn ... Girl at Birthday Party (uncredited)
Ira Cook ... Announcer (uncredited)
Evelyn Cotton ... Nurse (uncredited)
Gabriel Curtiz ... Lou - Maitre d' (uncredited)
Paul Francis DeRolf ... Boy at Birthday Party (uncredited)
Lynn Fields ... Girl at Birthday Party (uncredited)

Ned Glass ... Murray (uncredited)
Don Gray ... Waiter (uncredited)
Norman Lee Harris ... Boy at Birthday Party (uncredited)
Len Hendry ... Producer (uncredited)
Charles Herbert ... Patient (uncredited)

Bob Hope ... Himself - Leaving Brown Derby Restaurant (uncredited)
June Jocelyn ... Nurse (uncredited)
Dennis Kerlee ... Boy at Birthday Party (uncredited)
Hugh Lawrence ... Producer (uncredited)
Mike Mahoney ... Musician (uncredited)
Sidney Marion ... Ship Worker (uncredited)
Joe McTurk ... Taxi Driver (uncredited)
Toby Michaels ... Girl at Birthday Party (uncredited)
Dick Nelson ... Producer (uncredited)
Red Nichols ... Clicquot Club Eskimo (uncredited)
Alan Paige ... Musician (uncredited)
Yvonne Peattie ... Nurse (uncredited)
Jack Pepper ... Ship Worker (uncredited)
Peter Potter ... Announcer (uncredited)
Frank Radcliffe ... Speciality Dancer (uncredited)
William Remick ... Doctor (uncredited)
Duncan Richardson ... Boy at Birthday Party (uncredited)
Susan Seaforth Hayes ... Girl at Birthday Party (uncredited)
Richard Shavelson ... Boy at Birthday Party (uncredited)
Paul Sullivan ... Richard Wilson (uncredited)

Blanche Sweet ... Headmistress of School (uncredited)
Terry Terrill ... Musician (uncredited)
Lizanne Truex ... Blonde Charleston Dancer (uncredited)
Tito Vuolo ... Barber (uncredited)
June White ... Teacher (uncredited)

Dick Whittinghill ... Announcer (uncredited)

Directed by
Melville Shavelson 
Writing credits
Jack Rose (screenplay) and
Melville Shavelson (screenplay)

Robert Smith (story)

Red Nichols (suggested by the life of) (as Loring 'Red' Nichols)

Produced by
Jack Rose .... producer
Original Music by
Leith Stevens (music scored by)
Cinematography by
Daniel L. Fapp (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Frank P. Keller (edited by)
Casting by
Bert McKay (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Tambi Larsen 
Hal Pereira 
Set Decoration by
Sam Comer 
Grace Gregory 
Costume Design by
Edith Head (costumes)
Makeup Department
Nellie Manley .... hair style supervisor
Wally Westmore .... makeup supervisor
Bud Bashaw Jr. .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Kay Shay .... hairdresser (uncredited)
Production Management
Frank Caffey .... production manager (uncredited)
Edgar Fay .... unit manager: New York (uncredited)
Curtis Mick .... assistant production manager (uncredited)
Charles Woolstenhulme .... unit production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Richard Caffey .... assistant director
Ralph Axness .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Dale Coleman .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Harry F. Hogan .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Loyd Bradley .... props (uncredited)
Morey Goodman .... leadman (uncredited)
Gene Lauritzen .... construction coordinator (uncredited)
Earl Olin .... props (uncredited)
Don Stalker .... stand-by painter (uncredited)
Sound Department
Charles Grenzbach .... sound recordist
John Wilkinson .... sound recordist
Howard Beals .... sound editor (uncredited)
A.D. Cook .... sound cableman (uncredited)
Bud Fehlman .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Rocky Nelson .... sound boom man (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Farciot Edouart .... process photography
John P. Fulton .... special photographic effects
Camera and Electrical Department
W. Wallace Kelley .... photography: second unit
James Grant .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Julian Hilson .... assistant camera (uncredited)
James Knott .... camera operator (uncredited)
Loren Nutten .... best boy (uncredited)
Glen E. Richardson .... stills (uncredited)
Irmin Roberts .... photography: second unit (uncredited)
Herb Welts .... company grip (uncredited)
Stanley Williams .... gaffer (uncredited)
Casting Department
Bill Greenwald .... casting (uncredited)
Olive Long .... casting secretary (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Hazel Hegarty .... wardrobe woman (uncredited)
Robert Magahay .... costumer (uncredited)
John Noble .... wardrobe: man (uncredited)
Music Department
Red Nichols .... musician: Danny Kaye's trumpet solos
Leith Stevens .... conductor
Tommy Jones .... coach: cornet (uncredited)
Sam Prager .... vocal coach (uncredited)
Troy Sanders .... music advisor (uncredited)
Jack Sperling .... musician: drums (uncredited)
Van Cleave .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Earl Barton .... choreographer
Sylvia Fine .... associate to the producer
Hal C. Kern .... production assistant
Richard Mueller .... technicolor color consultant
George Annan .... craft service (uncredited)
Len Hendry .... dialect coach (uncredited)
Jerome Hill .... secretary to producer (uncredited)
Muriel Jennings .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Grady Johnson .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Bob McElwaine .... publicist (uncredited)
Lizanne Truex .... assistant dance director (uncredited)
Dorothy Yutzi .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
117 min | Germany:112 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Argentina:Atp | Finland:S | Netherlands:AL (orginal rating) | Sweden:Btl | UK:U | USA:Approved (PCA #19186) | West Germany:12 (original rating)

Did You Know?

The German 1959 dubbing 5 PENNIES MACHEN MUSIK (literally FIVE PENNIES MAKE MUSIC; released 29 January 1960) carries a very special secret: in the dub Danny Kaye himself sings phonetically in German. All of Kaye's dialogue was dubbed by his regular German voice Georg Thomalla. But Danny Kaye personally went to Berlin to re-dub his vocals of some of the movies' songs into German. It's very obvious that he doesn't understand a word of what he sings at all, but nevertheless does very well. His performance is charismatic, highly sympathetic and works surprisingly fine in spite of his strong accent and pronounciation.

The German lyrics were written by Fritz A. Koeniger, who was one of the most skillful writers for dubbing dialogues in Germany ever. Koeniger also provided the German dialogue book for 5 PENNIES as well as for Kaye's KNOCK ON WOOD, THE COURT JESTER and WHITE CHRISTMAS. The German song titles are:

"Der kleine Penny" ("Five Pennies") "Wiegenlied in Ragtime" ("Lullaby in Ragtime") "Gut' Nacht, schlaf sacht'" ("Good Night - Sleep Tight") "Die Musik faehrt Karussell" ("The Music goes round and around") "Klingeling, klingeling, laeutet's immerzu" ("Jingle Bells").

Sigrid Lagemann, the German voice of Barbara Bel Geddes, also joins in singing together with Danny Kaye in "Wiegenlied in Ragtime" and sings the final reprise of "Der kleine Penny" on her own. All songs Kaye does together with Louis Armstrong remain in the original English (although Armstrong was around at Berlin that time and did a guest appearance in the 1959 film LA PALOMA !). Most likely the German songs were never released commercially on record and are exclusive to the German movie track.

The dubbing was carried out at the renowned company Berliner Synchron GmbH Wenzel Luedecke, which produced the German language versions of almost every Paramount film throughout the 50s and 60s. The dubbing was directed by Volker J. Becker. In early 1960 a German movie magazine published a picture which shows Danny Kaye and his wife Sylvia Fine at the dubbing atelier of Berliner Synchron. There is also a picture of Kaye together with company owner Wenzel Luedecke taken during his recording session.See more »
Anachronisms: After Red and Willa have left the club and are traveling home, the cars seen through the rear window of the taxicab are distinctly 1940's to 1950's vehicles which were nonexistent in 1924.See more »
Movie Connections:
Mary Had a Little LambSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
10 stars for the music burned in my head since the 60ies..., 6 February 2005
Author: MarjaSofia from Finland

... but I could never see the movie yet. Still, it partly saved my life when I was dying of a very bad pneumonia and was floating in between the two worlds. I didn't yet understand English, but the soundtrack of The Five Pennies played on the vinyl record (don't ask me how my Finnish parents got to possess it) went through my conscience and kept me on the living side. I can still sing one voice of the lullaby hearing Danny Kaye and Louis Armstrong singing the other voices in my head. I'm lucky to be able to hear them without any technical device.

Now, by a coincidence I fall on this movie I never saw - so important in my life - on VHS / NTSC in Amazon. I live in Europe... No way being able to see it. Do you really mean that there's no DVD of it yet ? I seem to be not the only one wishing for it.

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Why no DVD or video? kentishmaid21
Remake potential billnich-1
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