🎥 The Five Pennies – 1959
The Story …
Red Nichols (Kaye) is a small-town cornet player who moves to New York City in the 1920s and finds work in a band led by Wil Paradise.
He meets and marries singer Willia Stutsman, a.k.a. “Bobbie Meredith” (Bel Geddes). Red and his friends Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Artie Schutt and Dave Tough form their own Dixieland band called “The Five Pennies” (a play on Nichols’ name, since a nickel equals five pennies).
As their popularity peaks, the Nichols’ young daughter Dorothy (Susan Gordon) contracts polio, and the family leaves the music business, moving to the balmier climate of Los Angeles, where Nichols works in the shipyards and both parents help Dorothy work on her recovery …
As a teenager, Dorothy (Tuesday Weld) learns of her father’s music career and persuades him to make a comeback. His first attempts to play a horn (he threw his own treasured instrument into the San Francisco Bay in despair when Dorothy was ill) are a miserable failure.
Eventually he listens to his wife and daughter, and practice restores his skill. His old friend Tony Valani (Guardino), now a huge success, gets him a gig to perform at a small club, with The New Five Pennies. Nichols, nervous and terrified of splitting his lip, is disappointed when he sees no other old friends in the audience.
He opens the show, and after a few notes, “Won’t you come home Bill Bailey?” echoes through the dark. The lights comes up, and it is Satchmo and his friends. Willa comes up on stage and tells him she has a surprise for him. Dorothy steps onto the dance floor without her cane and asks her father to dance.
Willa sings “This little penny is to wish on…” while they do, Nichols takes his horn and plays “Glory Hallelujah!” where his friends join in …
- Directed by Melville Shavelson
- Written by Robert Smith, Jack Rose and Melville Shavelson
- Produced by Jack Rose
- Cinematography : Daniel L. Fapp
- Edited by Frank P. Keller
- Music by Thorton W. Allen, Sylvia Fine, M.W. Sheafe and Leith Stevens
- Distributed by Paramount Pictures
- Release Date : June 18, 1959
- Danny Kaye as Red Nichols
- Barbara Bel Geddes as Willa Stutsman
- Louis Armstrong as himself
- Harry Guardino as Tony Valani
- Bob Crosby as Will Paradise
- Bobby Troup as Arthur Schutt
- Susan Gordon as Dorothy Nichols – Ages 6 to 8
- Tuesday Weld as Dorothy Nichols – Age 13 to 14
- Ray Anthony as Jimmy Dorsey
- Shelly Manne as Dave Tough
- Ray Daley as Glenn Miller
- Valerie Allen as Tommye Eden
- Bob Hope as himself
Film Information Source :
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