The Five Pennies is a biographical movie based on the life of Red Nichols. While
there are some comical moments in the film, it is one of Danny's more dramatic roles
and he does a superb job. Susan Gordon plays Dorothy Nichols as a child and is absolutely
adorable! The scenes between Danny and Susan are some of the best in the movie, especially
the poker game. This movie did, however, have a slightly different feel to it than
I was used to. It isn't filled with constant comedy nor is it an action-packed, high-emotions
film. It's starts off as a gentle, biographical story, but then the movie really
picks up when Red Nichols makes the decision to put his daughter, Dorothy, into a
boarding school. From there the pace and the emotions escalate. Overall, it was entertaining
and quite a pleasure to see Danny in something different. His moments with Susan
Gordon are simply wonderful as are his appearances with Louis Armstrong.
Filmed: Oct. 7 - Dec. 12, 1958
Released: June 18, 1959 (Koenig, David. Danny Kaye: King of Jesters, pg 189)
According to a December 1958 article, Danny’s daughter, Dena, had a small one-line
role in this movie.
This is the second movie that Louis Armstrong appeared in with Danny, the first being
A Song Is Born (1948).
This movie was produced by Danny and Sylvia’s production company, Dena Productions,
in collaboration with Paramount.
The real Red Nichols did the music for Danny’s trumpet solos in the movie.
Bob Crosby, who has a minor role in this movie, is the younger brother of Bing Crosby.