The Five Pennies

The Five Pennies

Director: Melville Shavelson Cast: Danny Kaye, Barbara Bel Geddes, Louis Armstrong

DVD (Wide Screen)


The Five Pennies is the life story of influential jazz cornetist Red Nichols, played here by a remarkably straight-faced Danny Kaye. The somewhat romanticized screenplay chronicles Nichols' rise from obscurity, annotates the many future bandleaders who would play with Nichols' "Five Pennies," and details his self-destructive streak and (seeming) inability to conform to changing musical tastes. Weaving in and out of the main story is a sentimental subplot concerning Nichols' physically impaired daughter Dorothy, played by Susan Gordon as a child and by Tuesday Weld (in her movie debut) as a young woman. Nichols's long-suffering wife is portrayed by Barbara Bel Geddes. The storyline occasionally lapses into sappiness and the ending is almost impossibly lachrymose, but the musical highlights save the day. Especially memorable is Danny Kaye's duet with Louis Armstrong. Among the real-life musicians who grace the supporting cast of The Five Pennies are Bob Crosby, Ray Anthony, Shelly Manne, and, as Jimmy Dorsey, Bobby Troup.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/13/2005
UPC: 0097360582345
Original Release: 1959
Rating: NR
Source: Paramount
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Wide Screen]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time: 1:57:00

Special Features

Closed Caption

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Danny Kaye Loring "Red" Nichols
Barbara Bel Geddes Bobbie Meredith (Willa Stutsman)
Louis Armstrong Himself
Harry Guardino Tony Valani
Tuesday Weld Dorothy Nichols, 12-14
Bob Crosby Wil Paradise
Susan Gordon Dorothy Nichols, ages 6-8
Ray Anthony Jimmy Dorsey
Bobby Troup Arthur Schutt
Shelly Manne Dave Tough
Ray Daley Glenn Miller
Valerie Allen Tommye Eden (Tony's Double-Date with Red & Bobbie)
Earl Barton Choreographer
Ned Glass Murray
Bob Hope Himself
Richard Shavelson Party
Blanche Sweet Bit

Technical Credits
Melville Shavelson Director,Screenwriter
Daniel L. Fapp Cinematographer
Sylvia Fine Score Composer
John P. Fulton Special Effects
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Frank Keller Editor
Tambi Larsen Art Director
Hal Pereira Art Director
Jack Rose Producer,Screenwriter
Robert Smith Original Story
Leith Stevens Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Five Pennies
1. New Kid In Town [9:44]
2. Nightclub Debut [10:47]
3. An Insincere Dedication [5:28]
4. Wedding Night Jitters [5:24]
5. Career Sabotage [5:18]
6. Nex Stop, Carnegie! [9:18]
7. Another Mouth to Feed [7:17]
8. Up Past Bedtime [8:58]
9. Out on the Town [:44]
10. Family Decision [8:04]
11. Tragic News [8:02]
12. A Stay-At-Home Father [7:26]
13. A Past Nearly Forgotten [7:57]
14. Old Bandmates [8:20]
15. The Comeback Kid [6:28]

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The Five Pennies 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoy it! It is not a typical DK role, although his character starts that way. Danny plays trumpeter Red Nichols: a man in love with making great music [and doing it really well], being around others who made music, and having no real responsiblity in his life. DK plays this selfish carefree part as only he can. He makes it impossible to be outraged or angry at his actions, even when he takes his little girl to an underground club at 3 in the morning! [Although it's to hear Louis Armstrong play!] But when adversity strikes, the guilt of his choices wrestle him to the ground and you can see on his character; his guilt, his sorrow, his regret. DK acts this so well you can actually see it! He changes into a hardened man who lives only for his family; permitting himself no pleasure but to see his family happy. DK becomes someone without a drop of happiness in his being. I didn't know he could act like that! This movie may not have the best writing especially moving scene to scene, but the music and story line and acting stay with you a long time. Great family value movie .
sumteacher More than 1 year ago
This movie, based on a true story, is an interesting role for Danny Kaye and shows his dramatic side as opposed to his lovable, goofy, comedy roles. He plays Red Nichols, a jazz musician and band leader who gives many famous musicians a start in his band. He gives it all up to care for his daughter who contracts polio, and is nearly forgotten as a player in the early jazz and big band era.