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."
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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>
Though Danny Kaye's studio album of Frank Loesser's songs has rarely, if ever, been out of print since the film's release, as of 2019 the original sound track score containing the prerecordings used on screen has yet to be released from the Goldwyn vaults. See more »
When Hans Christien Andersen and Peter cross the Great Belt, Peter spots Copenhagen on the other side of the belt, but Copenhagen is located on the other side of Zealand and cannot be seen from a boat on the Great Belt. See more »
Look, Burgomaster, look. The books on the dirty ground.
[Picks up a book]
Here, "The History of Denmark", used to tie the string of a dirty kite.
Hans Christian Andersen:
The history of any country can always use a little fresh air, Schoolmaster. Did you ever hear the story of the history book that took a vacation, and came back a much better history?
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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 »
There is a simplistic naiveté in this fictive family fare telling the story of Danish fairy-tale fabricator H.C. Andersen
There is a simplistic naiveté in this fictive family fare telling the story of Danish fairy-tale fabricator H.C. Andersen (Kaye) that lends the movie a tenderness even for the most hard-boiled souls. Charles Vidor's picture gallantly beefs up hooky singing snippets (composed and lyricized by Broadway songwriter Frank Loesser) spawned out of Andersen's world-famous stories (The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina and The Emperor's New Clothes) with a main through-line of Andersen's infatuation of a prima ballerina Doro (Jeanmaire), which begets the genesis of The Little Mermaid and then is transmuted into a spectacular ballet choreographed by Parisian danseur Roland Petit, grafted onto the climax.
In its not-so-complicated story-line, Andersen is dumb-ed down as a happy-go-lucky cobbler, and saddled with a sidekick, the orphan boy Peter (Walsh) who becomes increasingly protective towards him as he fears that Andersen is over the moon with an ungrounded idea that he is the knight-in-shining-armor for Doro, who is married to Niels (Granger, even so bratty and uppity), the troupe's stroppy choreographer. Their marriage comes off as habitually vacillating between lovey- dovey show-off and fiery squabbles, but is far from on the rocks as Andersen postulates, Peter witnesses and understands Doro and Niels' folie-à-deux, but fails to disabuse a hot-to-trot Andersen of his wishful thinking, so a slipshod break-up ensues, the only time Andersen appears as a heartless bastard, although in the end the hatchet will be buried in an equally rash fashion because no one should set feet in between Peter and Andersen, hooray!
Danny Kaye has a soothingly mellow voice like a balm to a jaded ear, although his earnest performance is not a showstopper but his congenial amenity is a boon to its family audience, but indeed the money shot here are the ballet sequences, melded with cinematic bravura (its ravishing setting and montage dexterity) without an overarching pomposity and indulgence à la Powell & Pressburger's THE TALES OF HOFFMANN and interlaced with a basic narrative structure, they are condensed to light up the screen within a none-too-wearing allotted screen-time which can at once impress rubberneckers and intrigue balletomanes, for this reason alone, it has a decisive edge over other screen commodities touting the high-brow one-upmanship!
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