Secret Life of Walter
A lovely ode to the pulp magazines that
served as fodder for male fantasies, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a perfect
vehicle for the talented farceur Danny Kaye. The episodic nature of Mitty's fantasies are
sprinkled atop a hot fudge sundae cloak and dagger plot. Let's describe the delectable
dessert before the ice cream melts.
delights have Mitty captaining a storm tossed ship at sea, a doctor performing miraculous
surgery, an RAF pilot shooting down Nazis, as Mississippi gambler Gaylord Mitty, as
Anatole of Paris, the fey designer of haute couture, and finally as western gunslinger
"Mitty the Kid." Two of the fantasies contain songs written especially for Kaye
for his witty wife Sylvia Fine. This is Kaye doing what he does best, performing songs
matched merrily to talents by his life-long collaborator Fine. The patter song in the RAF
sequence serves up the sillier side of Kaye, while the Anatole of Paris production number
is the highlight of the film. It's a great opportunity for Goldwyn to march out his famous
leggy "Goldwyn Girls" in the charming fashion show.
Kaye is great fun in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The
supporting cast is excellent, anchored by former "Goldwyn Girl" Virginia Mayo
doing what she does best, showing off the glorious virtues of Technicolor. Fay Bainter is
very funny as Walter's domineering mother and even Boris Karloff gets to add to the
Mitty makes a delightful DVD from HBO's Goldwyn Collection. Like
most of the films from Sam Goldwyn's studio, the original elements have been treated with
kid gloves. The colors on the Technicolor transfer print of the 1948 movie are rich
and beautiful. The transfer is sharp and bright and there was little or no overt damage to
the print. The pressing adds no unwanted artifacts. The mono sound is enjoyable with no
hiss or other disturbing deterioration.
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