The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, originally a short story by James Thurber, is one
of Danny's most popular movies and was often referred to in articles. There were
many reporters who liked to compare Danny's life to that of Walter Mitty's. While
Walter daydreamed about many different professions and situations, Danny actually
lived it. He became a pilot, a chef, an owner of a professional baseball team, and
had an incredible knowledge of medicine and health. Walter Mitty is an excellent
movie and is enjoyed by many fans. For years now, there has been talk of making another
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty movie. Whether this would be an actual remake of
Danny's movie or just another version of the short story is unclear, and there have
been a variety of actors tied to the picture over the years including Jim Carrey,
Mike Myers, and most-recently Ben Stiller. Danny himself said that of all his films
this one was his favorite. (October 1960) As a young child, I watched this movie
not long after seeing The Court Jester. Since that movie was so hilariously funny,
my naive child's mind figured that all of Danny's movies would be exactly the same.
So after seeing this movie for the first time as a young girl, I was naturally disappointed
that it hadn't lived up to the same hilarity as The Court Jester. Obviously now,
as an adult, I appreciate this movie much more than I originally did. There are some
brilliant bits of humor sprinkled throughout this movie. One of my favorite physical
bits of comedy in this movie is when Walter Mitty is finally told about the danger
that he has been caught up in. If "The Boot" finds out that he has the "black book"
(a book containing the whereabouts of valuable Dutch items) he will most surely kill
Mitty in order to retrieve it. Danny's facial expressions and reactions while trying
to drink a cup of tea is hilarious. This movie, in fact, has a bit of everything
- intrigue, humor, drama, romance. Walter Mitty's daydreams add some fun variety,
and they certainly show just how versatile and talented Danny really was. Virginia
Mayo appears again as Danny's romantic interest and does an excellent job as the
mysterious Rosalind Van Horn. Included in the movie are Sylvia Fine's two songs,
"Symphony For Unstrung Tongue" and "Anatole of Paris," which Danny performs wonderfully.
Overall it's a sweet little movie with much variety and definitely worth watching.
Filmed: Apr. 8 - Aug. 21, Sept. 3, 4, 1946; Feb. 17, May 21, May 28, 1947
Released: Sept. 1, 1947 (Koenig, David. Danny Kaye: King of Jesters, pg 102)
Danny’s fourth Samuel Goldwyn production.
This is Virginia Mayo’s fourth movie with Danny.
Danny’s wife, Sylvia, was pregnant with their only child during the filming of this
The creation of “Symphony For Unstrung Tongue”: (October 1947)
The lanky comedian’s latest number, “Symphony For Unstrung Tongue,” similarly had
its creation beginnings in gatherings of Kaye’s friends. Based on an idea Mrs. Kaye
had after hearing Prokofieff’s “Peter and the Wolff,” the “Symphony” deals with the
efforts of a music professor at the Royal Academy to demonstrate vocally the qualities
of each instrument in the orchestra. For three years prior to the writing
of this number, Mrs. Kaye had heard Danny “torturing” friends with polysyllabic,
Czecho-Slovakian dialect which had been introduced into the Kaye household by Orchestra
leader Johnny Green. Danny would double talk in this accent to guests at his home
for an hour without uttering an understandable thought. When called upon
to write a number for the RAF dream sequence in which Danny caricatures the professor,
Mrs. Kaye combined his party dialect with another party routine in which he mimics
a conductor, to come up with “Symphony For the Unstrung Tongue.” Given
the usual Kaye treatment, it was first presented before a group of friends. It proved
potent, and, according to Mrs. Kaye, “killed” people, especially Professor Dore Schary,
who had to leave the room convulsed with laughter. The number had “live” approval
and was incorporated in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”
“Anatole of Paris” was first performed in Danny’s first Broadway production, Straw
Hat Revue, in 1939.