Actors: Danny Kaye, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tuesday Weld
|Review Summary and Plot Commentary about The Five Pennies|
|This is a biography of jazz musician Loring "Red" Nichols. In the 1920s, Red comes to New York from Utah to join a band. He's fascinated with the new style of Jazz from New Orleans, but no one wants to pay attention to his musical arrangements. One of the band members sets him up on a date with a singer, Bobbie Meredith. Although it gets off to a bad start, because Bobbie thinks he's a hick. But, she starts to like him, and admits that she's also just a normal person, who's real name is Willa. They ride back to her home in Brooklyn, and later get married. Red gets Bobbie a job singing in the band he works in, but on their honeymoon, she finds out that he quit the band because they wouldn't pay attention to his ideas about music. Worse, he quit for her as well. Bobbie resigns herself to her crazy husband, and he gets fired from band after band because he insists on trying to be innovative. Bobbie finds out that she's pregnant, but doesn't want to worry him because of their financial troubles. Finally, some of musicians he used to work with take a look at his music and realize it's good. They form a band called The Five Pennies.
During their success, Bobbie gives birth to Dorothy. Red offers to stop touring in order to give Dorothy a normal life, but Bobbie says she doesn't want him to give up his dream. They stay on the road and Dorothy spends her time with the band. But, when Dorothy gets old enough for school and is still spending time on the road, Bobbie suggests that maybe the time has come to settle down. Only, Red doesn't want to give up the touring and instead puts Dorothy into boarding school. Dorothy resents it, thinking he doesn't care about her. She contracts polio, and Red is filled with guilt, thinking it's his fault. The doctors say she'll never walk again, but he won't accept it. He quits the band and gets a job in a shipyard and begins helping Dorothy with her physical therapy. Years pass, and his former band mates because famous musicians (Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller) but everyone has forgotten about Red Nichols. Bobbie is worried that he'll never stop punishing himself, so she sets up an appearance at a club so he can get back to what he loves. Red feels too sorry for himself and thinks he's lost his ability. But, Dorothy reminds him that when she was ready to give up hope of walking he wouldn't let her pity herself. He takes her advice to heart and agrees to the appearance. He goes back to his love of music.
--Angela Tircuit, Resident Scholar
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|Analysis of The Five Pennies|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Time/era of movie:
Strong "rags to riches" component?
- (man) short/standard straight
- (man) average
- White (American)
How sensitive is this character?
- middling sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor?
- Strong but gentle sense of humor
- Average intelligence
- average physique
Secondary Main Character
- (woman) medium/shoulderlgn wavey
- (woman) average
How much in movie?
- White (American)
- general circumstances
Accounts of torture and death?
- no torture/death
If lots of song/dance...
- lot of singing
If soundtrack VERY NOTICEABLE...
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Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).