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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$ 99.86
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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 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 is Priceless Feb. 19 2002
Format:VHS Tape
The Five Pennies is a wonderful mix of truth, Hollywood fiction, and some of the finest music to ever grace a film. As Loring "Red" Nichols, Danny Kaye manages to make the filmgoer believe that magic truly exists...both in his uncanny portrayal of the famed cornetist as well as his ability to make the audience believe that he is actually playing the horn. Mr. Kaye is an American treasure, and his performance only solidifies this fact. Barbara Bel Geddes as his wife is no less perfect in her role as the "singer turned wife turned mother". A surprise to most would be a fine performance turned in by Tuesday Weld as the Nichols' daughter. With names like Armstrong, Dorsey, Crosby, and Goodman (to name a few) lending their musical as well as acting talents, one would be hard pressed to find a more gentle, heartwarming, and wonderful film for the entire family to enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Single Movie Ever Made in the World Nov. 17 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked Classic Feb. 14 2002
Format:VHS Tape
I had never heard of this movie when I came upon it on tv one day, but I have always been a Danny Kaye fan, so I decided to watch, never expecting to be absolutely floored. This is such an entertaining and heart-warming film that I recommend to anyone! The songs between Danny Kaye and Louis Armstrong (especially When the Saints Go Marching In) are so spirited that they are worth the entire movie! But as an added bonus, it just so happens that the plot and the acting are also superb! This is more than just a "cute" Danny Kaye film. This is really quite a masterpiece. For anyone who thinks of Danny Kaye as a comedian, watch this movie and you'll learn that he is a great actor. He will bring you to tears. Do yourself a favor and watch this movie!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Danny Kaye Jan. 15 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Danny Kaye is the actor which I love the most because of his personality, he was a good person and gave to help others. His movies reflect that and so does this one. Kaye gives one of his best performances in this movie, he plays a man who wants to become a trompet player more than everything in his live. He does everything to become famous with hilarious results. He starts a band called the Five Pennies and they do great things. Then he is forced to give it up and starts to work for a shipp yard. The script is not that good and if Danny Kaye didn't play the lead, this movie would not be good. But it is, Mr. Kaye lifts this movie up and I have enjoyed it many times with my family. Its very funny.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Five Pennies exceeded expectations
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.
Published 10 months ago by James Tuzo
5.0 out of 5 stars Kaye and Armstrong are incredible..
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... Read more
Published on July 22 2009 by Muffet
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the top 5 movies ever made
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.
Published on May 8 2004 by Techie
5.0 out of 5 stars The Five Pennies DVD and audio CD release?
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. Read more
Published on July 14 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Danny Kaye's best film
This movie is one I can watch over and over. Danny Kaye has an uncanny ability to make me laugh and cry every time. Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2002 by Melanie A. Burton
5.0 out of 5 stars a great film!
this is one of Danny Kaye's most touching and emotiona films. He really shows his excellent acting skills in it. I's a touching story with some pretty songs.
Published on Nov. 12 2002 by Rosella Ann Myles
5.0 out of 5 stars Danny Kaye
A great film which should be in every home. The plot is only so so but Danny Kaye gives a great performance in this movie. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2002
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