“What a wit, what a clown — what a fighter!”
When a bumbling milkman (Danny Kaye) accidentally knocks out a prize fighter (Steve Cochran), he becomes an overnight media sensation, and soon finds himself taken advantage of by an unscrupulous manager (Walter Abel).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Danny Kaye Films
- Virginia Mayo Films
This remake of Harold Lloyd’s classic talkie The Milky Way (1936) was clearly designed as a prime vehicle for Danny Kaye — and as such, fans of his are sure to enjoy it. Kaye acquits himself well, showing off plenty of humorously deft “boxing” maneuvers, and making the most of his character’s transformation from mild-mannered milkman to arrogant would-be boxing champion. But director Norman McLeod doesn’t possess quite the same gift for comedic timing as The Milky Way‘s Leo McCarey; watching the two films neck-to-neck (as I did) makes this disparity abundantly clear. The Kid From Brooklyn does possess one infamous “claim to fame”: in a bit of near-tragic cinema lore, Goldwyn ordered all copies of Lloyd’s original film to be destroyed (presumably because the two films are almost identical). Fortunately, Lloyd had his own preserved copy, so it survived — and film fanatics now have the opportunity to choose between the two.
Note: Despite her best efforts, Virginia Mayo — playing Kaye’s unassuming romantic interest, Polly Pringle — simply isn’t as believable in this role as her earlier counterpart (Dorothy Wilson). She does get to wear some lovely gowns, though, so watch for those.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Danny Kaye’s nimble “boxing” maneuvers
- The surreal opening musical sequence
- Miles White’s lovely gowns
No; this one is only must-see viewing for Danny Kaye fans. Check out the original instead.