The Five Pennies
|The Five Pennies|
|Directed by||Melville Shavelson|
|Produced by||Jack Rose|
|Written by||Robert Smith|
Barbara Bel Geddes
|Music by||Thorton W. Allen|
|Cinematography||Daniel L. Fapp|
|Edited by||Frank P. Keller|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$3 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)|
The Five Pennies is a semi-biographical 1959 film starring Danny Kaye as cornet player and bandleader Loring Red Nichols. Other cast members include Barbara Bel Geddes, Louis Armstrong, Harry Guardino, Bob Crosby, Bobby Troup, Susan Gordon, and Tuesday Weld. The film was directed by Melville Shavelson.
The film received four Oscar nominations: Best Musical Scoring (Leith Stevens), Best Original Song (Sylvia Fine—Danny Kaye's wife), Best Cinematography (Daniel L. Fapp), and Best Costumes (Edith Head).
The real Red Nichols recorded all of Kaye's cornet playing for the film soundtrack. The other musicians in Red's band were not asked to provide their musical contributions, and the sound of his band was supplied by session players.
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 (Crosby). He meets and marries singer Willia Stutsman, a.k.a. "Bobbie Meredith" (Bel Geddes), and the two form their own Dixieland band called "The Five Pennies" (a play on Nichols' name, since a nickel equals five pennies). As their popularity peaks, their young daughter Dorothy (Susan Gordon) contracts polio, and the family leaves the music business, moving to Los Angeles.
As a teenager, Dorothy (Tuesday Weld) learns of her father's music career and persuades him go on a comeback tour. The tour borders on failure until several notable musicians from Nichols' past appear to save the day.
- Danny Kaye as Red Nichols
- Barbara Bel Geddes as Willa Stutsman (her singing voice is dubbed by Eileen Wilson)
- 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 (cameo)
- "1959: Probable Domestic Take". Variety. 6 January 1960. p. 34.