Secret Life of Walter Mitty/B+,B+

HBO/1947/110m/FS 1.33

     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.  

   mittydreams.JPG (18735 bytes) Six digressive 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 laughs.
     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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