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The Five Pennies
The Five Pennies
Actors: Danny Kaye, Barbara Bel Geddes, Louis Armstrong, Harry Guardino, Bob Crosby
Director: Melville Shavelson
Genres: Classics, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2005     1hr 57min

Danny Kaye shows off his keen musical sense in the lead role of The Five Pennies, the life story of cornet master Red Nichols--or at least the Hollywood version of Nichols'd life. The movie gets off to a kicky start as Nic...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Danny Kaye, Barbara Bel Geddes, Louis Armstrong, Harry Guardino, Bob Crosby
Director: Melville Shavelson
Creators: Daniel L. Fapp, Melville Shavelson, Frank P. Keller, Jack Rose, Robert Smith
Genres: Classics, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Classics, Drama, Musicals
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 12/13/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 57min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 11
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

The Five Pennies is Worth Its Weight in Gold
J. Earles | Mooresville, INDIANA United States | 12/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Times change. Stars fall and are forgotten. Even worse, an actor is remembered for only one type of role and his unique work is pushed to the background. It is our good fortune to finally have one of Danny Kaye's finest performances on DVD. The Five Pennies is now available on a barebones release.

Kaye is known for some brilliant comedies including The Court Jester, and for some more subtle performances like Hans Christian Anderson, but here he combines the best of the two. In what purports to be the life story of famous cornet player, Loring "Red" Nichols, Kaye is wonderful. Along for the ride is Barbara Bel Geddes (Broadway's Maggie the cat) as wife Bobbie. With her close, squinty eyes and squat shape, she is not exactly a movie babe, but she is terrific actress and great acting partner for Kaye.

Three things up the ante of this film to excellent: the Oscar-nominated color photography in VistaVision by Daniel L. Fapp, the music performed by Louis Armstrong and Nichols himself as Kaye mimes the playing, and the performance of child actress Susan Gordon as Dorothy Nichols.

Kaye's scene with Gordon as he croons the Oscar-nominated title tune (written by his wife Sylvia Fine) is as touching a moment ever captured on film. Kaye and Gordon seem to transcend themselves to actually become father and daughter. Their poker scene is charming. Gordon (who grows up to be Tuesday Weld later in the film) holds her own musically with Kaye and Armstrong and is a movie moppet to be adored.

Illness in the family, quitting show business, and other problems populate the final third of the film, but it is all presented with the proper sentiment. When Red picks up his cornet again, we are glad.

The Five Pennies, its superb cast, 20 great musical numbers, and beautiful settings would be a welcome addition to your collection. Kaye will touch your heart, and Gordon will make you smile with a tear in your eyes.
Thoroughly delightful - Danny Kaye's best!
Susan Sloate | Mount Pleasant, SC | 04/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A funny, warm, and perfectly wonderful musical -- the best kind of family entertainment. Danny Kaye is simply perfect as Red Nichols, the great jazzman of the 20's, and the bonus is the terrific music (many of which, I was surprised to discover later, were all Nichols' own songs). Wonderful work by Barbara Bel Geddes and the other featured players, especially the adorable little girl who plays Kaye's daughter. I've watched it again and again -- I think you will too."
The Greatest Single Movie Ever Made in the World
Susan Sloate | 11/18/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Words cannot describe how wonderful this movie is. My grandma got me this movie when I was 9 years old, and this enspired me to take up the cornet. This movie will make you cry with tears of joy. I takes you to the life of Loring "Red" Nichols and how he struggled to make it big. His Dixiland arrangements were looked down upon at first, until his "five pennies" which included such people as Jimmy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman were known nation wide. No other acter more perfectly fits the shoes of Red Nichols than Danny Kaye. Once you get into the first five minutes or so, pressing stop will be the hardest thing you've ever done. So if Louis Armstrong's bright golden tone sends shivers up your spine and the sound Big Band music makes you tap your feet, buy this movie as soon as you can. You'll wonder why you didn't sooner."
A Treasure!
Daydream Believer | Austin, TX | 03/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Like other reviewers, this movie was a childhood favorite of mine- I was only 4 when I first saw it, but I actually remember some of the scenes from that first viewing. What a treasure to have it on DVD-- with such a beautiful transfer. Colors are vibrant, the acting is great, story is a "classic", and the music is out-of-this-world. Get it if only for the Louie Armstrong performances with Danny Kaye. If you don't own a large-screen TV, this movie will make you want to get one! Great for family viewing to introduce your kids to New Orleans/Big Band sounds and teach them a little about history (polio epidemic of the 40s/50s)."