“Hollywood Sights and Sounds” – Walter Mitty Review
Prescott Evening Courier – Aug. 21, 1947
By: Gene Handsaker

           HOLLYWOOD – James Thurber wrote in 1939 “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” about a timid, henpecked man who daydreamed himself the hero of all sorts of thrilling situations. It comes to the screen considerably less amusing, on the whole, than the original story.
            Danny Kaye is Mitty, and when he is in the dream sequences, several of them patterned after Thurber’s, he is at his hilarious best. Other times he is just a scared character blundering through a series of laboriously contrived situations.
            Mitty, in the color movie, is a proof reader for a thrill magazine publishing company, dominated not by wife as in Thurber’s story but by his mother Fay Bainter. Between daydreams that upset his office and home life, he gets involved with a beautiful blonde, Virginia Mayo, who is pursued by several villains including a lurking knife-wielder, a phony psychiatrist, and an old man in a wheelchair.
            In one dream Mitty is a captain who brings a vessel through a fierce storm despite injury (“It’s nothing; just a broken arm.”) In another he is “Slim” Mitty, the toughest cowhand west of the Pecos. In another he is a famous surgeon.
            Danny’s wife, Sylvia Fine, wrote the “Anatole of Paris” comedy number in which he is a hat designer, and created for it a crazy assortment of hats—fish, buildings, bicycles, gondolas. She also wrote the words and music for “Symphony for Unstrung Tongue,” another dream in which Danny is at his fast-talking best.
            Boris Karloff is the fake psychiatrist, Ann Rutherford Danny’s baffled fiancée, Florence Bates her mother, Thurston Hall his apoplectic boss.

Comments about Danny are highlighted in yellow.

“Kaye Film Held For Third Week”
Spokane Daily Chronicle – Feb. 3, 1948

           Danny Kaye, who is gaining popularity with every passing day for his fine comedy, is at his best in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which has been held over a third week at the Orpheum.
            Filmed in color, the picture, adapted from the popular James Thurber series of stories, has Virginia Mayo in the romantic lead.
            Companion feature is a mystery, “Key Witness.”


“Home Video; Danny’s Daydreams”
The New York Times – Aug. 2, 1987
By: Gerald Gold

           The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Boris Karloff and Fay Bainter, 1947. Embassy Home Entertainment. 110 minutes. $19.95.
            Those wonderful sequences in which the mild-mannered Walter Mitty daydreams of himself as a dashing R.A.F. fighter pilot, insouciant riverboat gambler and other assorted heroes tend, over time, to blot out the memory of the many other virtues of this classic film drawn from a James Thurber Story: the “real life” plot of scoundrels and murder, with Danny Kaye as Mitty grappling with an obstreperous chair that refuses to be sat on, wearing a dog muzzle for a disguise, contending with an intruding pigeon in the boss’s office, and being outsmarted by his girlfriend’s obnoxious dog. There are alsoa  couple of the marvelous tongue-twisting songs for which Kaye was renowned.
            Virginia Mayo is adorable, the usually loveable Fay Bainter is an appropriate pest as Mitty’s nagging mother, and Boris Karloff makes a fine farceur as a villain pretending to be a psychiatrist and trying to convince Mitty he’s crazy. This is a movie to treasure and to watch again and again.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Reviews

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