The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty1947

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Photos

Movie Info

James Thurber wasn't too happy with the Sam Goldwyn film adaptation of his 1939 short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, but the Technicolor musical comedy proved to be a cash cow at the box office. Danny Kaye stars as Walter, a milquetoast proofreader for a magazine publishing firm. Walter is constitutionally incapable of standing up for himself, which is why his mother (Fay Bainter) has been able to arrange a frightful marriage between her son and the beautiful but overbearing Gertrude Griswold (Ann Rutherford). As he muses over the lurid covers of the magazines put out by his firm, Walter retreats into his fantasy world, where he is heroic, poised, self-assured, and the master of his fate. Glancing at the cover of a western periodical, Walter fancies himself the two-gun "Perth Amboy Kid"; a war magazine prompts Walter to envision himself as a fearless RAF pilot; and so on. Throughout all his imaginary adventures, a gorgeous mystery woman weaves in an out of the proceedings. Imagine Walter's surprise when his dream girl shows up in the flesh in the person of Rosalind van Horn (Virginia Mayo). The girl is being pursued by a gang of jewel thieves headed by Dr. Hugo Hollingshead (Boris Karloff), a clever psychiatrist who manages to convince Walter that he's simply imagining things again, and that Rosalind never existed. At long last, Walter vows to live his life in the "now" rather than in the recesses of his mind: he rescues Rosalind from the gang's clutches, tells his mother and Gertrude where to get off, and fast-talks his way into a better position with the publishing firm. Substituting the usual Danny Kaye zaniness for James Thurber's whimsy, Secret Life of Walter Mitty works best during the production numbers, especially Kaye's signature tune "Anatole of Paris." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Danny Kaye
as Walter Mitty
Virginia Mayo
as Rosalind Van Hoorn
Boris Karloff
as Dr. Hollingshead
Fay Bainter
as Mrs. Mitty
Ann Rutherford
as Gertrude Griswold
Thurston Hall
as Bruce Pierce
Konstantin Shayne
as Peter van Hoorn
Florence Bates
as Mrs. Griswold
Gordon Jones
as Tubby Wadsworth
Reginald Denny
as RAF Colonel
Henry Corden
as Hendrick
Doris Lloyd
as Mrs. Follinsbee
Fritz Feld
as Anatole
Milton Parsons
as Butler/Tyler
Mary Brewer
as Goldwyn Girl
Betty Carlyle
as Goldwyn Girl
Lorraine DeRome
as Goldwyn Girl
Jackie Jordan
as Goldwyn Girl
Martha Montgomery
as Goldwyn Girl
Sue Casey
as Goldwyn Girl
Patricia Patrick
as Goldwyn Girl
Irene Vernon
as Goldwyn Girl
Karen X. Gaylord
as Goldwyn Girl
Mary Ellen Gleason
as Goldwyn Girl
Georgia Lane
as Goldwyn Girl
Michael Mauree
as Goldwyn Girl
Lynn Walker
as Goldwyn Girl
Bess Flowers
as Illustrator
Donna Dax
as Stenographer
John Tyrrell
as Department Head
Raoul Freeman
as Department Head
Sam Ash
as Art Editor
Dorothy Granger
as Wrong Mr. and Mrs. Follinsbee
Harry Woods
as Wrong Mr. and Mrs. Follinsbee
Lumsden Hare
as Dr. Pritchard-Mitford
Hank Worden
as Western Character
Vernon Dent
as Bartender
John Hamilton
as Dr. Remington
Henry Kolker
as Dr. Benbow
Harry Harvey Jr.
as Office Boy
Frank LaRue
as Conductor
Charles Trowbridge
as Dr. Renshaw
Minerva Urecal
as Woman with Hat
Vincent Pelletier
as Narrator for Dream Sequence
Harry Harvey
as Office Boy
Mary Anne Baird
as Model with Wolf Man
Jack Gargan
as Photographer
Harry Depp
as Director
Dick Earle
as Director
Wilbur Mack
as Director
Ralph Dunn
as Policeman
Jack Cheatham
as Baggage Man
Mary Forbes
as Mrs. Pierce
Pierre Watkin
as Reverend
Ernie S. Adams
as Flower Truck Driver
George Lloyd
as Wells Fargo Cowboy
Syd Saylor
as Western Character
Billy Bletcher
as Western Character
Eddie Acuff
as Wells Fargo Cowboy
Wade Crosby
as Blacksmith
Dorothy Christy
as Store Official
Dick Rush
as Customs Official
William Haade
as Conductor
William Newell
as Taxi Cab Traffic Manager
Paul Newlan
as Truck Driver
Robert Altman
as Man Drinking
Sam McDaniel
as Doorman
Betty Blythe
as Floor Manager
Ethan Laidlaw
as Helmsman
Moy Ming
as Elderly Chinese
W. Beal Wong
as Headwaiter in Chinese Restaurant
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News & Interviews for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Critic Reviews for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (1)

The best parts of the movie Mitty are the ones that hew closer to Thurber, because they put the cartoonish Kaye in a world every bit as nutty.

December 16, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The blend of fantasy, slapstick, Technicolor spectacle and wild melodrama which results is disjointed and rather monotonous but serves adequately as a showcase for the zany comic antics of star Danny Kaye.

July 15, 2021 | Full Review…

Based on the story by James Thurber, adapters Ken Englund and Everett Freeman attempt to include too much, throwing off the pacing.

August 14, 2020 | Rating: 5/10 | Full Review…

Great Danny Kaye fantasy-comedy, making far turns from Thurber story basis.

October 23, 2008 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The original "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is not the best executed story of all time, getting a little jumbled in all it's cleverness, but it sure holds your attention and makes you laugh a lot. The actors all bring their A-Game to this picture, and through the normal sequences, to the daydream sequences, it's almost flawless transitioning for it's time. Being made in 1947, this film sure must have been a wonder to it's original audience. There is some very unique filming techniques and the colour tones of everything was decided perfectly. The script for this film is very whimsical and enjoyable to say the very least. When Walter Mitty enters his dream worlds, his character always goes off the rails into a performance that I will remember forever, purely off of it's fun vibe. This is not a perfect film in any way, due to the fact that it can become a little unfocussed as to what it is trying to convey to it's audience, but nevertheless, it's a great film!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Whimsical, telling fable about ordinary life and memorable star vehicle for Danny Kaye, playing the dual role of milquetoast in real life and he-man in his dreams.

hawk ledge
hawk ledge

Super Reviewer

tah-pocket, tah-pocket, tah-pocket, tah-pocket, the sound the brain makes, a quiet whisper really, the subtle shifting of realities, from this dull and tiresome existence, this veil of tears to...tah-pocket, tah-pocket, tah-pocket, tah-pocket... to the world where you've an answer for everything, yes, a solution to every problem, yes, a hand for every one in need, yes, a joyous spirit, yes, generous, caring, courageous, yes, yes, yes...tah-pocket, tah-pocket, tah-pocket, tah-pocket. danny kaye is a dull man with a dream...and virginia mayo's always in them. a forgotten gem.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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