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The Five Pennies

Danny Kaye , Barbara Bel Geddes , Melville Shavelson    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 122.77
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Amazon.ca

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 Nichols joins a big-city band, meets his future wife (Barbara Bel Geddes), and sits in on a speakeasy session with Louis Armstrong. Armstrong's in the movie a lot, and there are smaller roles for other musical names such as Bob Crosby and Ray Anthony. The tunes include a batch of standards but also new songs written by Sylvia Fine, Danny Kaye's wife and the creator of his signature wordplay routines. The film's main dramatic device--that Nichols eventually sacrifices his career to care for a sick daughter--must be slogged through while the decent jazz sequences come and go. Whether you're a Danny Kaye fan or not, this film emphasizes his very real musical "touch" (in his manner, not his cornet playing; Red Nichols dubbed the horn himself). It also proved Kaye could handle melodrama at least as easily as frantic comedy, and yet this 1959 film was near the end of his run as a movie actor. Director Melville Shavelson, most associated with comedy, does an atmospheric job of staging the jazz numbers, especially in the colorful clubs. This is well-served by a snazzy transfer to DVD--even the opening credits are a treat, a cool example of late-1950s graphic design. --Robert Horton

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly delightful - Danny Kaye's best! April 4 2003
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kaye and Armstrong are incredible.. July 22 2009
By Muffet
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie is a true classic. It's full of amazing music played by phenomenal musicians. The version of When The Saints Go Marching in by Louis Armstrong and Danny Kaye is worth watching the movie for. The story line is based on the life of Red Nichols - jazz coronet player, and his rise and fall from fame. It's a tear jerker ending and lots of laughs and moments to remember throughout. Sit with your popcorn on a rainy afternoon and enjoy what the movies used to be like. You'll be glad you did!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the top 5 movies ever made May 8 2004
By Techie
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is as close to perfection at one can come! Why is not yet out on DVD? Pleeeeeeease (and yes, I'm begging here) release this masterpiece on DVD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will be bought by more if..... March 10 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Isn't there a way for this great movie to be put on DVD and CD. In this day when there is so much inappropriate material in the movies and on TV, watching the Five Pennies is a wonderful breath of fresh air. My daughter and I have a special relationship partly because of this movie. On her wedding day I gave her five new pennies (1960) her birth date and we have watched this movie many times together. It would be so much better to watch and hear it on DVD/CD. My orginal long playing record is about wore out. Please contact those in the power and forward my request, I know it would be a great seller. Bill Williams
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Danny Kaye Nov. 26 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Frankly I have not seen a movie with Danny I did not like. Most of them I loved. I can not wait for "The Five Pennies" and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" to go to DVD."Hans Christian Andersen" plus these two make up my personal favorites of Danny Kaye.I have the third and am just waiting for the other two. Others i can recommend are "court jester" and "the inspector general" as I own them on DVD and very much enjoy them.I dont know if this helps but, if you like comedy, and if you like drama, and if you like just plain fun, you will probably like all these movies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars *****BEST MOVIE EVER MADE!! Aug. 27 1999
Format:VHS Tape
This movie shows Danny Kaye at his best. Not only do we get to experience his signature comedy, but we also get to see another side of him. This is a touching story about a father's love for his daughter and should be seen by anyone who has ever known the kind of love where you would sacrifice everything for the happiness of another. This movie is far too neglected in its recognition as a great film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Five Pennies exceeded expectations Nov. 3 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
One of my all-time favourites looked & sounded better than the original. Being a DVD, I was pleasantly surprised at the 16:9 format and surround sound.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Five Pennies DVD and audio CD release? July 14 2003
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is a wonderful film, a real moving tear jerking classic. An excellent performance by Mr. Kaye, as always, and unique footage of Louis Armstrong. Wonderful jazz harmonies. When will this movie receive the credit it deserves and be released on remastered DVD and audio CD? Movie studios you have been told!!
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