7.2/10
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28 user 16 critic

The Five Pennies (1959)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Music | August 1959 (USA)
Danny Kaye cuts loose with his trademark musical clowning. Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong plays his horn and croons in that famed gargling-granite voice. Big Band icons Bob Crosby, Ray Anthony and Shelly Manne join the fun.

Director:

Melville Shavelson

Writers:

Jack Rose (screenplay), Melville Shavelson (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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 Ray Daley ... Glenn Miller
Valerie Allen ... Tommye Eden
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Storyline

Loring "Red" Nichols is a cornet-playing country boy who goes to New York in the 1920s full of musical ambition and principles. He gets a job playing in Wil Paradise's band, but quits to pursue his dream of playing Dixieland jazz. He forms the "Five Pennies" which features his wife, Bobbie, as vocalist. At the peak of his fame, Red and Bobbie's daughter, Dorothy, develops polio. Red quits the music business to move to Los Angeles where the climate is better for Dorothy. As Dorothy becomes a young teen, she learns of her father's musical past, and he is persuaded to open a small nightclub which is failing until some noted names from his past come to help out. Written by Ray Hamel <hamel@primate.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1920s | nightclub | fame | band | jazz | See All (41) »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

As Red and Bobbie roll Dorothy onto her side after applying the hot wrappings onto her legs, we see the headline of the newspaper she was lying on stating that Hitler has taken Czechoslovakia. The Munich Pact, which gave Hitler Czechoslovakia, was signed in 1938. Dorothy was stricken with polio in 1942. See more »

Quotes

Wil Paradise: Okay, let's try it again.
'Red' Nichols: Can I just play a few notes here so I won't hit a clam?
Wil Paradise: Help yourself.
See more »


Soundtracks

Washington and Lee Swing
(1910) (uncredited)
Music by Thornton W. Allen and M.W. Sheafe
Played as part of the college montage
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User Reviews

 
I liked this movie
5 July 2002 | by jsonealSee all my reviews

This is an excellent musical in the old style where the songs either help progress the plot or fit in with the story line. All the music is well done. How can you lose with Danny Kaye and Louis Armstrong singing your songs? Just heard that Susan Gordon (she played the daughter at 6) is on broadway in a play after 35 years away from the stage. Enjoy.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

August 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Five Pennies See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dena Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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