The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)

walter mitty danny kaye 1947Spoiler alert: There is no longboarding in this one.

 

I grew up watching this movie and loved it as a kid. In fact, the opening credits would appear on the screen and my heart would immediately go ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa…

Now James Thurber, the author of this short story, hated it. Nay, despised it. He didn’t even like it a little bit.

This is probably due to the fact that—even after consulting Thurber on the script—producer Samuel Goldwyn had the writers basically ditch 99 percent of Thurber’s story and tailor the storyline to show off Danny Kaye’s comedic personas, tongue-twisters, and overall awesomeness. This might be why Thurber supposedly referred to this film as “The Public Life of Danny Kaye.”

But for any of you Danny Kaye fans out there, this light-hearted film is must-see.

boris karloff haircutOH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Let’s just take a moment to celebrate something special. Every 1,000 years or so—maybe 1,500—a haircut comes along that changes the world’s perspective on life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, unlocking the very foundation of what we thought was possible. Boris Karloff (pictured right) had such a trim. True, on the surface it may seem a wet, nappy grasp at the youth of yesteryear, but I stand before you today and declare it a carefully crafted masterpiece. Not since Moses has this planet seen a parting so dramatic. So bold. So full of unabashed faith in the future. What was once a scalp ruled by chaos and unorganized gray matter has been shaped into a sleek and shiny shield of protection against the cliches and conformity that have so long oppressed our civilization. Well done, Boris. Well done.

Ok back to the movie: This film was not intended to be as deep or thought-provoking as the recent Ben Stiller version, but we still can learn from the eventual change we see in this Walter Mitty. By the end of the film Mitty learns the value of simply speaking his mind and trusting himself to do hard things.

We can be polite and accommodating without being deferential or spineless. Rather than daydreaming away our lives in a fictional reality we must be bold, speak up, and accomplish difficult things so each of us can become the person we were meant to become.

Happy people are one in thought and action.

But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man…” — Doctrine & Covenants 60:2

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