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The Five Pennies (1959)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Music | August 1959 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... 'Red' Nichols
... Willa Stutsman
... Louis Armstrong
... Tony Valani
... Wil Paradise
... Artie Schutt
... Dorothy Nichols - Ages 6 to 8
... Dorothy Nichols - Age 13
... Jimmy Dorsey
... Dave Tough
Ray Daley ... Glenn Miller
... 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 (40) »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

August 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Las cinco monedas  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The exaggerated tango Danny Kaye did with the blonde Charleston dancer (Lizanne Truex) in the nightclub scene was not scripted. The rehearsals only called for her to do the Charleston, then flit offstage. During one of them Danny suddenly grabbed her and began hamming it up, with Lizanne quickly ad-libbing. Director Melville Shavelson liked it and added it to the routine. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Referenced in You Bet Your Life: Episode #10.22 (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Paradise
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Gordon Clifford
Sung a bit by Bob Crosby
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Powerful and Compelling Work of Art
27 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

Danny Kaye is known for his comic roles; for his laughter, his singing, his dancing, his light-hearted humor. But this movie presents a different Danny Kaye - serious, brooding, consumed with guilt, confronted by really serious problems - and here Danny Kaye shines. This movie is proof that if he had to, Danny Kaye could have been one of the greatest dramatic actors in the history of motion pictures. There is no question about that. In this movie, Kaye puts aside the clowning to play a subdued, moody and introspective character who nevertheless is still likable and worthy of attention. And it works! In the movie he wins over the audience, he wins over his family, he wins over his friends. And who can ever forget the scene with Louis Armstrong? Kaye's character overcomes all obstacles to triumph and to be loved. Only a highly skilled and sensitive actor could have done the job, and in this movie Danny Kaye proved that he had the requisite qualities to transform what could have been little more than a sudsy soap opera into a powerful statement about a man who, along with his family, not only survives but sets an example for others. For this reason, this movie is a powerful and compelling work of art.


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