“Walter, you’re getting more absent-minded each day. It’s all that daydreaming you do!
A henpecked proofreader (Danny Kaye) with a wild imagination finds himself embroiled in a real-life drama when he encounters a mysterious blonde (Virginia Mayo) in a taxi cab.
Danny Kaye is at the top of his game in this delightful comedy — loosely based upon James Thurber’s beloved short story — about a nebbishy pulp magazine proofreader who escapes his henpecked existence through a rich and varied fantasy life. The sequences in which he imagines himself a daring sea captain, a renowned surgeon, a WWII flying ace, a fey fashion designer, a Western gunslinger, and a riverboat gambler are each genuinely amusing, as are the patter songs incorporated throughout. The surrounding storyline — involving a “little black book” detailing the locations of stolen Dutch artwork, which various Bad Men want to get their hands on — eventually goes on for a little too long, and devolves into slapstick by the end; but Kaye and his supporting cast make this one well worth a look. Watch for Boris Karloff in an all-too-brief appearance as one of the parties interested in obtaining the “black book” — his opening line (“I know of a way to kill a man and leave no trace.”) remains a zinger.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Danny Kaye as Walter Mitty
- Virginia Mayo as Rosalind van Hoorn
- Ann Rutherford as Walter’s fiancee, Gertrude Griswold
- Many genuinely amusing sequences
Yes, as a comedy classic.