Danny Kaye Centennial
November 27–December 15
A star across stage, radio, television and film, Danny Kaye was a talented song and dance man and a beloved comedian. Getting his start on the Borscht Belt in the Catskills, Kaye worked his way up through the ranks of showbiz, eventually signing a multi-picture deal with independent mogul Samuel Goldwyn, for whom he starred in a string of hugely popular Technicolor musicals (including THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, which screened here in September; a new, non-musical version, directed and starring Ben Stiller, opens this Christmas). Kaye eventually started his own production company with his wife Sylvia, the lyricist for many of his popular tunes and a formidable intellect. In addition to his numerous accomplishments as an entertainer, Kaye was the original Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and spent more than 30 years tirelessly campaigning for the rights of the children of the world.
In honor of Dany Kaye's centennial birthday, here are some of his most beloved films: THE COURT JESTER, HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN and WHITE CHRISTMAS.
AFI Member passes accepted at all screenings in the Danny Kaye Centennial.
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
"Once upon a time there lived in Denmark a great storyteller named Hans Christian Andersen. This is not the story of his life, but a fairy tale about the great spinner of fairy tales." Gifted song-and-dance man Danny Kaye stars as Andersen, a small-town cobbler and storyteller who heads to Copenhagen to make it as a big-time writer. There he falls for a ballerina (Zizi Jeanmaire), inspires ballets, and of course spins a few yarns for the local children. A huge box office success, the film earned six Academy Award nominations for its music, set design, costumes, and its Technicolor cinematography.
DIR Charles Vidor; SCR Moss Hart, from a story by Myles Connolly; PROD Samuel Goldwyn. US, 1952, color, 112 min. NOT RATED
Wed, Nov 27, 5:00; Thu, Nov 28, 5:00; Fri, Nov 29, 11:05 a.m.
THE COURT JESTER
#98 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs
The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true." Or is it the flagon with the dragon? One of Danny Kaye's best-loved films, THE COURT JESTER was, at the time of its release, the most expensive screen comedy to date—and a box office flop. But over the years it became a television matinee staple, delighting multiple generations with its witty wordplay, and Kaye and company's spoofy tomfoolery with the swashbuckler's well-worn genre conventions. With Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury, Glynis Johns, Cecil Parker, Mildred Natwick and John Carradine.
DIR/SCR/PROD Melvin Frank, Norman Panama. US, 1956, color, 101 min. NOT RATED
Wed, Nov 27, 7:20; Thu, Nov 28, 7:20; Sat, Nov 30, 11:00 a.m.
Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye star as army vets-cum-nightclub impresarios who fall for a beguiling sister act in the form of Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. Smitten with the sisters, they follow them from Miami, Florida, to Pine Tree, Vermont, where they are booked to appear in a Christmas show. This Technicolor musical, the biggest box office hit of 1954 and the first film shot in VistaVision, includes Irving Berlin's "White Christmas"—already an Oscar-winning song, from its screen introduction 12 years earlier in HOLIDAY INN—plus Oscar nominee "Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)," "Sisters," and "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing."
*Book Signing Event
Author Steve Taravella will introduce the Dec. 15 screening of WHITE CHRISTMAS and sign copies of his book "Mary Wickes: I Know I've Seen That Face Before" in the lobby following the screening.