28 user 16 critic

The Five Pennies (1959)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Music | August 1959 (USA)
Danny Kaye cuts loose with his trademark musical clowning. Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong plays his horn and croons in that famed gargling-granite voice. Big Band icons Bob Crosby, Ray Anthony and Shelly Manne join the fun.


Melville Shavelson


Jack Rose (screenplay), Melville Shavelson (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Danny Kaye ... 'Red' Nichols
Barbara Bel Geddes ... Willa Stutsman
Louis Armstrong ... Louis Armstrong
Harry Guardino ... Tony Valani
Bob Crosby ... Wil Paradise
Bobby Troup ... Artie Schutt
Susan Gordon ... Dorothy Nichols - Ages 6 to 8
Tuesday Weld ... Dorothy Nichols - Age 13
Ray Anthony ... Jimmy Dorsey
Shelly Manne ... Dave Tough
Ray Daley Ray Daley ... Glenn Miller
Valerie Allen ... Tommye Eden


Loring "Red" Nichols is a cornet-playing country boy who goes to New York in the 1920s full of musical ambition and principles. He gets a job playing in Wil Paradise's band, but quits to pursue his dream of playing Dixieland jazz. He forms the "Five Pennies" which features his wife, Bobbie, as vocalist. At the peak of his fame, Red and Bobbie's daughter, Dorothy, develops polio. Red quits the music business to move to Los Angeles where the climate is better for Dorothy. As Dorothy becomes a young teen, she learns of her father's musical past, and he is persuaded to open a small nightclub which is failing until some noted names from his past come to help out. Written by Ray Hamel <hamel@primate.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1920s | nightclub | fame | band | jazz | See All (41) »


Biography | Drama | Music


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Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Danny Kaye himself dubbed his songs phonetical into French in the French version "Millionnaire de cinq sous", released March 4, 1960 in France. The French voice dubbing for Danny Kaye was provides by Yves Furet. The French track with the phonetical siniging is available on the Region 2 PAL DVD versions released in Germany, Great Britain and France but not on the Region1 US DVD. See more »


When Red leaves the club with Willa (after seeing Louis Armstrong the first time), he takes his cornet with him but has neglected to put it back in its case. Presumably because he was quite drunk. See more »


'Red' Nichols: Mr. Paradise, I play New Orleans style. You know, it's the newest thing. As a matter of fact I got an arrangement right here of the very number that you're doing.
Wil Paradise: Put that think away. Sit down.
'Red' Nichols: Can't you take a little friendly advice?
Wil Paradise: Put that horn in your big mouth and blow.
Tony Valani: Welcome to Paradise.
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Just the Blues
(1959) (uncredited)
Music by Leith Stevens
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User Reviews

This is what classics are made of...
30 January 2000 | by TweekSee all my reviews

I'm 15 years old and when I saw this movie for the first time about a year ago, I feel in love with it. It is the perfect combo of comedy, romance, and drama. I am a writer and I always add a little of all of those emotions into my stories because it makes it more believeable and realistic as well as more touching. I am now a Danny Kaye fan. He is a wonderful actor and singer. Whenever I see him on while flipping the channels, I will stop and watch. I am also now a fan of classic films of the 1930s and beyond.

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Release Date:

August 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Five Pennies See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dena Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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