The Kid from Brooklyn


1h 54m 1946
The Kid from Brooklyn

Brief Synopsis

A shy milkman gets into boxing when he turns out to have a killer punch.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Sports
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Mar 21, 1946
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Samuel Goldwyn Productions, Inc.; Trinity Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Milky Way by Lynn Root and Harry Clork (New York, 8 May 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 54m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

When Burleigh Sullivan, a failing Sunflower Dairies milkman, meets singer Polly Martin, he is overwhelmed by her beauty and offers to ask his sister Susie, a dancer at the 49 Club, to arrange a job for her. That night, Burleigh picks up Susie outside the club, only to find two men drunkenly accosting her. Susie runs for the police but cannot find any, and by the time she returns, both the men are knocked out, and Burleigh, still standing, recognizes them as Speed McFarlane, middleweight boxing champion of the world, and his coach, Spider Schultz. By the next morning the story is in all the newspapers, and Speed's manager, Gabby Sloane, is desperate to put an end to the bad publicity. When Burleigh is called to Gabby's hotel room, the manager is shocked to see his small stature, until Burleigh reveals that instead of knocking Speed out, he merely ducked a punch from Spider, which landed on Speed instead. As he demonstrates his story, Spider once again swings and accidentally hits Speed, who goes down just as reporters barge in and assume that Burleigh has triumphed again. To control the damaging press, Gabby decides to hire Burleigh as a professional boxer, planning for Speed to eventually beat him in the ring and regain his reputation. Meanwhile, Burleigh loses his job when he repeatedly calls his boss, Wilbur Austin, at five o'clock in the morning in an attempt to secure Polly a job. Later that day, Gabby visits Burleigh, and after hearing him talking to Polly on the phone, convinces Burleigh that Polly wants him to box. Soon, Burleigh begins to train at Gabby's camp under the name "Tiger Sullivan." A poor boxer, he finally learns some technique by dancing around the ring and ducking frequently. Gabby sells the gullible Burleigh an expensive engagement ring and lies that Polly has promised to marry him if he wins the championship against Speed. When Polly arrives, however, she accepts his proposal only if he will give up fighting, which he cannot because he now owes Gabby for the ring. During his first fight, Polly learns that it has been fixed and tries to subtly discourage him from continuing, but when he wins that night, Burleigh is flushed with success. He continues to fight, growing more arrogant with each subsequent win. Finally, before the championship fight, Austin backs Burleigh and Gabby stages a huge promotional push. After Burleigh embarrasses her at a party with his hammy showmanship, Polly returns his ring. Susie, meanwhile, overhears Gabby admitting that the fight is rigged for Speed to win. She confronts Speed, who loves her and offers to forfeit the fight, but Susie realizes that Burleigh needs to be humbled and tells Speed to go ahead. On the day of the fight, Burleigh arrives with his pet foal and accidentally knocks Speed out with the horse, after which Spider mistakenly gives Speed a sleeping potion. As the fight begins, Burleigh becomes terrified when Polly whispers to him that all the fights have been fixed, but Speed is so incapacitated by the medicine that Burleigh still manages to knock him out. As he is named middleweight champion of the world, Burleigh, who now knows he is a fake, accepts Austin's offer of a partnership in Sunflower Dairies. As his tale ends, Burleigh reveals that the whole story has been a promotional film made by Sunflower Dairies, and he is a manager training his employees, Gabby and Speed.

Cast

Danny Kaye

Burleigh Sullivan [also known as Tiger Sullivan]

Virginia Mayo

Polly Pringle [Martin]

Vera-ellen

Susie Sullivan

Steve Cochran

Speed McFarlane

Eve Arden

Ann Westley

Walter Abel

Gabby Sloane

Lionel Stander

Spider Schultz

Fay Bainter

Mrs. E. Winthrop Le Moyne

Clarence Kolb

Mr. [Wilbur] Austin

Victor Cutler

Photographer

Charles Cane

Willard

Jerome Cowan

Fight announcer

Don Wilson

Radio announcer

Knox Manning

Radio announcer

Kay Thompson

Matron

Johnny Downs

Master of ceremonies

Karen X. Gaylord

Ruth Valmy

Shirley Ballard

Virginia Belmont

Betty Cargyle

Jean Cronin

Vonne Lester

Diana Mumby

Mary Simpson

Virginia Thorpe

Tyra Vaughn

Kismi Stefan

Betty Alexander

Martha Montgomery

Joyce Mackenzie

Helen Kimball

Donna Hamilton

Jan Bryant

Robert Strong

Photographer

Billy Newell

Photographer

Tom Quinn

Photographer

Billy Bletcher

News photographer

Billy Wayne

Reporter

George Sherwood

Reporter

George Chandler

Reporter

Donald Kerr

Reporter

Al Hill

Reporter

Frank Riggi

Killer Kelly

Jack Roper

Palooka

Steve Taylor

Palooka

Charles Sullivan

Timekeeper

Jimmy Ames

Ring announcer

Frank Moran

Fight manager

Tom Kennedy

Referee

John Indrisano

Referee

Frank Hagney

Usher

Thomas Patrick Dillon

Policeman

Carl Leviness

Bystander

Johnny Bond

Bystander

Charles Fogel

Bystander

Jay Eaton

Bystander

Barrett Whitelaw

Bystander

Paul Bradley

Bystander

Dulce Daye

Bystander

Almeda Fowler

Bystander

Jeffrey Sayre

Milkman

Jack Gargan

Milkman

Jack Cheatham

Eddelson, the milkman

Nolan Leary

Ackerman

J. W. Cody

Indian chief

Lester Dorr

Newspaperman

Spec O'donnell

Call boy

Syd Saylor

Taxi driver

Pierre Watkin

E. Winthrop Le Moyne

Betty Blythe

Mrs. Le Moyne's friend

James Carlisle

Mrs. Le Moyne's friend

Rube Schaffer

Tuffy Scarlotti

Bob Perry

Timekeeper

Charles Perry

Handler

Eddie Hart

Knockdown timekeeper

Eric Wilton

Butler

Alexander Pollard

Butler

Billy Benedict

Newsboy

Mary Forbes

Guest's wife

Snub Pollard

Man for reaction to lion

Hal K. Dawson

Hotel clerk

George Davis

Man in window

Dick Elliott

Man in window

Lynton Brent

Man in window

James Farley

Man in window

Bill Hunter

Man in window

Fern Emmett

Woman in window

Frances Morris

Woman in window

Nora Cecil

Woman in window

Torben Meyer

Guest

Jack Norton

Guest

William Forrest

Guest

Gil Dennis

Dancer

Bob Gompers

Dancer

Tony Conde

Dancer

Danny Drake

Dancer

Rudolph Andrean

Dancer

Michael Collins

Dancer

Rudolfo Silva

Dancer

Kenneth Mcanish

Dancer

Alfred Burke

Dancer

Robert Forrest

Dancer

Jody Black

Acrobatic dancer

Mabel Boehlke

Acrobatic dancer

Betty Yeaton

Acrobatic dancer

Dorothy Clarke

Acrobatic dancer

Gertrude Gault

Acrobatic dancer

Shirley Sharon

Acrobatic dancer

Jimmy Kelly

Specialty dancer for "What's Your Name"

Eddie Cutler

Specialty dancer for "Old Fashioned"

Harvey Karels

Specialty dancer for "Old Fashioned"

Al Ruiz

Specialty dancer for "Old Fashioned"

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Sports
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Mar 21, 1946
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Samuel Goldwyn Productions, Inc.; Trinity Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Milky Way by Lynn Root and Harry Clork (New York, 8 May 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 54m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

The Kid from Brooklyn (1946)


By the time Danny Kaye's third feature film, The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), was released in April 1946, Kaye was already a beloved box-office draw. His first two pictures, Up in Arms (1944) and Wonder Man (1945), had established his particular brand of frantic Technicolor musical comedy, and producer Samuel Goldwyn wasted no time in continuing the trend. Goldwyn also saw no reason to tamper with the winning combination of actors he'd used in Wonder Man, so he brought back Virginia Mayo, Vera-Ellen and Steve Cochran to team with Kaye once again. (Mayo had also had a bit part in Up in Arms, one of her earliest appearances.)

In this one, Kaye plays a shy milkman who accidentally becomes the world middleweight boxing champion after he is credited with knocking out the reigning champ (Steve Cochran) in a street brawl outside a nightclub. Kaye then wins a series of (unknown-to-him) fixed fights, convincing himself he really can box, which leads to a revenge bout with Cochran for the middleweight title. Along the way, we are treated to five musical numbers written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, and one by Sylvia Fine and Max Liebman.

Sylvia Fine was also Kaye's wife, and she managed his career, often writing songs for his movies, television and stage shows and taking a hand in editing and producing. Jule Styne once said that Kaye "would read the script through, and then he would turn to Sylvia and ask her to read it, and she would make all the suggestions." In later years, Fine would garner two Oscar® nominations for Best Song. Her number in The Kid from Brooklyn, "Pavlova," is a musical fable about ballet.

The Kid from Brooklyn has several influences and forerunners. To begin with, it's officially a remake of the Harold Lloyd talkie classic The Milky Way (1936), itself based on a play by Lynn Root and Harry Clork. But the plot also bears resemblance to The Kid from Spain (1932), starring Eddie Cantor, and Kaye's comedy style is strongly inspired by Cantor himself. Cantor, a key Goldwyn star of the 1930s, developed a persona of a blushing, stammering, wisecracking young man who delivers rapid-fire comedy patter -- all of which was mastered by Kaye in the 1940s. It was no accident; Goldwyn developed Kaye as Cantor's successor. (Kaye's first feature, Up in Arms, had even been a loose remake of the Goldwyn-Cantor film Whoopee! [1930].)

The Kid from Brooklyn was the second film for actress Vera-Ellen, born Vera Ellen Westmeier Rohe, She was a personal discovery of Goldwyn's, and at the time she made this she was five feet four and one-half inches tall, 111 pounds, and almost 25 years old. Her physical appearance, however, was so petite and childlike that she and her mother (who managed her career) had already shaved five years off her official age. And the studio was happy to carefully guard this image. "My age depends on whoever is talking to me at the time," Vera-Ellen once said.

According to biographer David Soren, Ellen resembled 1930s child star Shirley Temple enough that Brooklyn director Norman McLeod encouraged her to borrow from Temple's "gee-whiz screen persona." Her voice was dubbed by Dorothy Ellers, who dubbed many famous actresses in this era, but according to Soren, Ellen's real voice can be heard early in the song "Hey, What's Your Name?" -- a number that also features the (dubbing) voice of Frankie Laine in his first Hollywood job.

But Vera-Ellen was being built up primarily as a dancer, and she has plenty of opportunity here for acrobatic hoofing including splits, somersaults, prop dancing and tapping. At one point in the number "Milk Fund Charity Dance," she swan dives thirteen feet down to be caught by male dancers. She would later co-star with Kaye again in White Christmas (1954).

The other major name in The Kid from Brooklyn is actress Virginia Mayo, still in the pre-westerns/film noir stage of her career. Her singing voice was also dubbed, by Betty Russell. Mayo enjoyed teaming with Danny Kaye, telling an interviewer at the time, "He's wonderful to work with, never seems to tire and is as funny between shots as when the cameras are clicking."

But Mayo clicked even more with actor Steve Cochran, with whom she had first worked on Wonder Man. "He would become a dear friend for all the rest of my life," Mayo later said. "I loved him. (Like a brother.) He was polite and sensitive, and very kind. But indeed, he was extremely sexy and women just couldn't get enough of him. I loved acting with him, and we went on to make many films together... I know there's been speculation over the years that I had an affair with Steve Cochran, but I didn't. Perhaps the thought crossed my mind from time to time, but he was married, and besides, he had so many girlfriends behind his wife's back, I'm not so sure I could have really fit in with his very busy schedule!"

Mayo and Cochran made a terrific pair and would team up four more times, in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), A Song Is Born (1948), White Heat (1949) and She's Back on Broadway (1953). And Mayo would meanwhile appear with Kaye twice more, in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) and A Song Is Born.

But in the end The Kid from Brooklyn is Danny Kaye's show, and his singing and brilliant physical comedy -- as in the scene where he memorably teaches Fay Bainter how to dodge around a boxing ring -- are the main attraction. Audiences certainly loved it and turned the picture into a $4 million-grossing hit. Critics heaped praise on the film as well, although they liked Kaye's performance a bit more than the movie itself. The New York Times' Bosley Crowther gushed over Kaye's "best opportunity...yet...upon the screen to show his superior talent for broad and beguiling burlesque." And Variety proclaimed, "Goldwyn-Kaye combine has outdone itself... The film is aimed straight at the belly-laughs and emerges as a lush mixture of comedy, music and gals, highlighted by beautiful Technicolor and ultra-rich production mountings... Gals wear gowns that should panic the femmes and Goldwyn's sets are something to talk about."

Producer: Samuel Goldwyn
Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Screenplay: Grover Jones, Frank Butler, Richard Connell (screenplay); Don Hartman, Melville Shavelson (adapted); Lynn Root, Harry Clork (play); Ken Englund, Everett Freeman (additional sequences, uncredited); Eddie Moran (contributor to screenplay, uncredited)
Cinematography: Gregg Toland
Art Direction: Stewart Chaney, Perry Ferguson
Music: Carmen Dragon (uncredited)
Film Editing: Daniel Mandell
Cast: Danny Kaye (Burleigh Sullivan), Virginia Mayo (Polly Pringle), Vera-Ellen (Susie Sullivan), Steve Cochran (Speed McFarlane), Eve Arden (Ann Westley), Walter Abel (Gabby Sloan), Lionel Stander (Spider Schultz), Fay Bainter (Mrs. E. Winthrop LeMoyne), Clarence Kolb (Mr. Austin), Victor Cutler (Photographer)
C-114m.

By Jeremy Arnold

Sources:
A. Scott Berg, Goldwyn: A Biography
Martin Gottfried, Nobody's Fool: The Lives of Danny Kaye
Dick Richards, The Life Story of Danny Kaye
LC Van Savage (As told to), Virginia Mayo: The Best Years of My Life
David Soren, Vera-Ellen: The Magic and the Mystery
The Kid From Brooklyn (1946)

The Kid from Brooklyn (1946)

By the time Danny Kaye's third feature film, The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), was released in April 1946, Kaye was already a beloved box-office draw. His first two pictures, Up in Arms (1944) and Wonder Man (1945), had established his particular brand of frantic Technicolor musical comedy, and producer Samuel Goldwyn wasted no time in continuing the trend. Goldwyn also saw no reason to tamper with the winning combination of actors he'd used in Wonder Man, so he brought back Virginia Mayo, Vera-Ellen and Steve Cochran to team with Kaye once again. (Mayo had also had a bit part in Up in Arms, one of her earliest appearances.) In this one, Kaye plays a shy milkman who accidentally becomes the world middleweight boxing champion after he is credited with knocking out the reigning champ (Steve Cochran) in a street brawl outside a nightclub. Kaye then wins a series of (unknown-to-him) fixed fights, convincing himself he really can box, which leads to a revenge bout with Cochran for the middleweight title. Along the way, we are treated to five musical numbers written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, and one by Sylvia Fine and Max Liebman. Sylvia Fine was also Kaye's wife, and she managed his career, often writing songs for his movies, television and stage shows and taking a hand in editing and producing. Jule Styne once said that Kaye "would read the script through, and then he would turn to Sylvia and ask her to read it, and she would make all the suggestions." In later years, Fine would garner two Oscar® nominations for Best Song. Her number in The Kid from Brooklyn, "Pavlova," is a musical fable about ballet. The Kid from Brooklyn has several influences and forerunners. To begin with, it's officially a remake of the Harold Lloyd talkie classic The Milky Way (1936), itself based on a play by Lynn Root and Harry Clork. But the plot also bears resemblance to The Kid from Spain (1932), starring Eddie Cantor, and Kaye's comedy style is strongly inspired by Cantor himself. Cantor, a key Goldwyn star of the 1930s, developed a persona of a blushing, stammering, wisecracking young man who delivers rapid-fire comedy patter -- all of which was mastered by Kaye in the 1940s. It was no accident; Goldwyn developed Kaye as Cantor's successor. (Kaye's first feature, Up in Arms, had even been a loose remake of the Goldwyn-Cantor film Whoopee! [1930].) The Kid from Brooklyn was the second film for actress Vera-Ellen, born Vera Ellen Westmeier Rohe, She was a personal discovery of Goldwyn's, and at the time she made this she was five feet four and one-half inches tall, 111 pounds, and almost 25 years old. Her physical appearance, however, was so petite and childlike that she and her mother (who managed her career) had already shaved five years off her official age. And the studio was happy to carefully guard this image. "My age depends on whoever is talking to me at the time," Vera-Ellen once said. According to biographer David Soren, Ellen resembled 1930s child star Shirley Temple enough that Brooklyn director Norman McLeod encouraged her to borrow from Temple's "gee-whiz screen persona." Her voice was dubbed by Dorothy Ellers, who dubbed many famous actresses in this era, but according to Soren, Ellen's real voice can be heard early in the song "Hey, What's Your Name?" -- a number that also features the (dubbing) voice of Frankie Laine in his first Hollywood job. But Vera-Ellen was being built up primarily as a dancer, and she has plenty of opportunity here for acrobatic hoofing including splits, somersaults, prop dancing and tapping. At one point in the number "Milk Fund Charity Dance," she swan dives thirteen feet down to be caught by male dancers. She would later co-star with Kaye again in White Christmas (1954). The other major name in The Kid from Brooklyn is actress Virginia Mayo, still in the pre-westerns/film noir stage of her career. Her singing voice was also dubbed, by Betty Russell. Mayo enjoyed teaming with Danny Kaye, telling an interviewer at the time, "He's wonderful to work with, never seems to tire and is as funny between shots as when the cameras are clicking." But Mayo clicked even more with actor Steve Cochran, with whom she had first worked on Wonder Man. "He would become a dear friend for all the rest of my life," Mayo later said. "I loved him. (Like a brother.) He was polite and sensitive, and very kind. But indeed, he was extremely sexy and women just couldn't get enough of him. I loved acting with him, and we went on to make many films together... I know there's been speculation over the years that I had an affair with Steve Cochran, but I didn't. Perhaps the thought crossed my mind from time to time, but he was married, and besides, he had so many girlfriends behind his wife's back, I'm not so sure I could have really fit in with his very busy schedule!" Mayo and Cochran made a terrific pair and would team up four more times, in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), A Song Is Born (1948), White Heat (1949) and She's Back on Broadway (1953). And Mayo would meanwhile appear with Kaye twice more, in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) and A Song Is Born. But in the end The Kid from Brooklyn is Danny Kaye's show, and his singing and brilliant physical comedy -- as in the scene where he memorably teaches Fay Bainter how to dodge around a boxing ring -- are the main attraction. Audiences certainly loved it and turned the picture into a $4 million-grossing hit. Critics heaped praise on the film as well, although they liked Kaye's performance a bit more than the movie itself. The New York Times' Bosley Crowther gushed over Kaye's "best opportunity...yet...upon the screen to show his superior talent for broad and beguiling burlesque." And Variety proclaimed, "Goldwyn-Kaye combine has outdone itself... The film is aimed straight at the belly-laughs and emerges as a lush mixture of comedy, music and gals, highlighted by beautiful Technicolor and ultra-rich production mountings... Gals wear gowns that should panic the femmes and Goldwyn's sets are something to talk about." Producer: Samuel Goldwyn Director: Norman Z. McLeod Screenplay: Grover Jones, Frank Butler, Richard Connell (screenplay); Don Hartman, Melville Shavelson (adapted); Lynn Root, Harry Clork (play); Ken Englund, Everett Freeman (additional sequences, uncredited); Eddie Moran (contributor to screenplay, uncredited) Cinematography: Gregg Toland Art Direction: Stewart Chaney, Perry Ferguson Music: Carmen Dragon (uncredited) Film Editing: Daniel Mandell Cast: Danny Kaye (Burleigh Sullivan), Virginia Mayo (Polly Pringle), Vera-Ellen (Susie Sullivan), Steve Cochran (Speed McFarlane), Eve Arden (Ann Westley), Walter Abel (Gabby Sloan), Lionel Stander (Spider Schultz), Fay Bainter (Mrs. E. Winthrop LeMoyne), Clarence Kolb (Mr. Austin), Victor Cutler (Photographer) C-114m. By Jeremy Arnold Sources: A. Scott Berg, Goldwyn: A Biography Martin Gottfried, Nobody's Fool: The Lives of Danny Kaye Dick Richards, The Life Story of Danny Kaye LC Van Savage (As told to), Virginia Mayo: The Best Years of My Life David Soren, Vera-Ellen: The Magic and the Mystery

The Kid fron Brooklyn - The Kid from Brooklyn


Comedian Danny Kaye had become a Broadway star in a supporting role in the musical Lady in the Dark (1939), stealing the show with a fiendishly clever patter song, "Tchaikovsky," written by his wife, composer-lyricist Sylvia Fine. In 1943, Kaye was signed to a movie contract by Samuel Goldwyn, and made his feature film debut in Up in Arms (1944). It was a huge hit, as was his next film, Wonder Man (1945). By the time he made his third starring vehicle, The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), Kaye's movie persona was set, as the hapless innocent who gets caught up in outrageous or challenging situations. Based on a 1936 Harold Lloyd film, The Milky Way, The Kid from Brooklyn has Kaye portraying a meek milkman who accidentally becomes a prizefighter and the victim of a crooked promoter.

Kaye's two co-stars in The Kid from Brooklyn had also appeared in Wonder Man -- Virginia Mayo as his leading lady, and Broadway dancer Vera-Ellen, making her film debut. Mayo had also had a bit part in Up in Arms, and would co-star with Kaye in two more films, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) and A Song Is Born (1948). Vera-Ellen would be Kaye's leading lady in one of his most beloved films, White Christmas (1954).

Kaye's real-life leading lady, Sylvia Fine, was, as always, a key contributor to Kaye's work in The Kid from Brooklyn. The couple had met at a Catskills resort and married in 1940, and she wrote special material for Kaye's shows and films throughout his career. Critics complained that Fine's song, "Pavlova," reminiscent of "Tchaikovsky," really didn't belong in The Kid from Brooklyn, but the style was pure Kaye, and audiences loved it. The marriage, however, seemed to be going through a rough patch during the filming of The Kid from Brooklyn. Kaye was rumored to be having an affair with Eve Arden, who was a regular on his radio show and was also in the cast of the film as the villain's girlfriend. But Kaye and Fine apparently weathered the storm, and Fine gave birth to the couple's only child, daughter Dena, in December of 1946.

Kaye had begun his weekly, half-hour CBS radio show in 1945, after finishing Wonder Man, and before starting The Kid from Brooklyn. The producer and writers, veterans of Jack Benny's radio show, followed the same formula of that show, basing it on the public persona of the star. But Kaye's humor, unlike Benny's, was visual rather than verbal. Kaye was not a "comedian," who told jokes. His humor was in his behavior, his manner, and his facial and physical expressiveness. It was humor that needed to be seen, as well as heard, and Kaye was at his best when taking cues from his audiences. As a result, the radio show was not very successful, and was cancelled after a year.

Kaye was not particularly disappointed by the cancellation. To promote The Kid from Brooklyn, he had embarked on a national tour of live performances, which were not only more creatively satisfying than the radio show, but more lucrative as well. With a salary plus a percentage of the gross, Kaye was making about $40,000 a week from the shows, a huge sum in 1946. Audiences loved him, and loved The Kid from Brooklyn. Some critics praised Kaye's performance, comparing his movements in the fight scenes to Chaplin's classic fight sequences. Bosley Crowther in the New York Times noted Kaye's "nimble and complicated grace." But there were just as many reviewers who didn't like Kaye. Even so, their negative comments didn't hurt the box office. Danny Kaye was well on his way to becoming one of the most beloved American entertainers. His next film, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, would be one of his best, and would cement his position as a box-office attraction.

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Producer: Samuel Goldwyn
Screenplay: Don Hartman, Melville Shavelson, from a play by Frank Butler, Harry Clork, Richard Connell, Grover Jones, Lynn Root
Cinematography: Gregg Toland
Editor: Daniel Mandell
Costume Design: Miles White, Jean Louis
Art Direction: Perry Ferguson, Stewart Chaney
Music: songs by Sylvia Fine & Max Liebman; Jule Styne & Sammy Cahn
Cast: Danny Kaye (Burleigh Sullivan), Virginia Mayo (Polly Pringle), Vera-Ellen (Susie Sullivan), Steve Cochran (Speed McFarlane), Eve Arden (Ann Westley), Walter Abel (Gabby Sloane), Lionel Stander (Spider Schultz), Fay Bainter (Mrs. E. Winthrop LeMoyne).
C-113m.

by Margarita Landazuri

The Kid fron Brooklyn - The Kid from Brooklyn

Comedian Danny Kaye had become a Broadway star in a supporting role in the musical Lady in the Dark (1939), stealing the show with a fiendishly clever patter song, "Tchaikovsky," written by his wife, composer-lyricist Sylvia Fine. In 1943, Kaye was signed to a movie contract by Samuel Goldwyn, and made his feature film debut in Up in Arms (1944). It was a huge hit, as was his next film, Wonder Man (1945). By the time he made his third starring vehicle, The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), Kaye's movie persona was set, as the hapless innocent who gets caught up in outrageous or challenging situations. Based on a 1936 Harold Lloyd film, The Milky Way, The Kid from Brooklyn has Kaye portraying a meek milkman who accidentally becomes a prizefighter and the victim of a crooked promoter. Kaye's two co-stars in The Kid from Brooklyn had also appeared in Wonder Man -- Virginia Mayo as his leading lady, and Broadway dancer Vera-Ellen, making her film debut. Mayo had also had a bit part in Up in Arms, and would co-star with Kaye in two more films, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) and A Song Is Born (1948). Vera-Ellen would be Kaye's leading lady in one of his most beloved films, White Christmas (1954). Kaye's real-life leading lady, Sylvia Fine, was, as always, a key contributor to Kaye's work in The Kid from Brooklyn. The couple had met at a Catskills resort and married in 1940, and she wrote special material for Kaye's shows and films throughout his career. Critics complained that Fine's song, "Pavlova," reminiscent of "Tchaikovsky," really didn't belong in The Kid from Brooklyn, but the style was pure Kaye, and audiences loved it. The marriage, however, seemed to be going through a rough patch during the filming of The Kid from Brooklyn. Kaye was rumored to be having an affair with Eve Arden, who was a regular on his radio show and was also in the cast of the film as the villain's girlfriend. But Kaye and Fine apparently weathered the storm, and Fine gave birth to the couple's only child, daughter Dena, in December of 1946. Kaye had begun his weekly, half-hour CBS radio show in 1945, after finishing Wonder Man, and before starting The Kid from Brooklyn. The producer and writers, veterans of Jack Benny's radio show, followed the same formula of that show, basing it on the public persona of the star. But Kaye's humor, unlike Benny's, was visual rather than verbal. Kaye was not a "comedian," who told jokes. His humor was in his behavior, his manner, and his facial and physical expressiveness. It was humor that needed to be seen, as well as heard, and Kaye was at his best when taking cues from his audiences. As a result, the radio show was not very successful, and was cancelled after a year. Kaye was not particularly disappointed by the cancellation. To promote The Kid from Brooklyn, he had embarked on a national tour of live performances, which were not only more creatively satisfying than the radio show, but more lucrative as well. With a salary plus a percentage of the gross, Kaye was making about $40,000 a week from the shows, a huge sum in 1946. Audiences loved him, and loved The Kid from Brooklyn. Some critics praised Kaye's performance, comparing his movements in the fight scenes to Chaplin's classic fight sequences. Bosley Crowther in the New York Times noted Kaye's "nimble and complicated grace." But there were just as many reviewers who didn't like Kaye. Even so, their negative comments didn't hurt the box office. Danny Kaye was well on his way to becoming one of the most beloved American entertainers. His next film, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, would be one of his best, and would cement his position as a box-office attraction. Director: Norman Z. McLeod Producer: Samuel Goldwyn Screenplay: Don Hartman, Melville Shavelson, from a play by Frank Butler, Harry Clork, Richard Connell, Grover Jones, Lynn Root Cinematography: Gregg Toland Editor: Daniel Mandell Costume Design: Miles White, Jean Louis Art Direction: Perry Ferguson, Stewart Chaney Music: songs by Sylvia Fine & Max Liebman; Jule Styne & Sammy Cahn Cast: Danny Kaye (Burleigh Sullivan), Virginia Mayo (Polly Pringle), Vera-Ellen (Susie Sullivan), Steve Cochran (Speed McFarlane), Eve Arden (Ann Westley), Walter Abel (Gabby Sloane), Lionel Stander (Spider Schultz), Fay Bainter (Mrs. E. Winthrop LeMoyne). C-113m. by Margarita Landazuri

Virginia Mayo (1920-2005)


Virginia Mayo, the delectable, "peaches and cream" leading lady of the 40s, who on occasion, could prove herself quite capable in dramatic parts, died on January 17 at a nursing home in Thousand Oaks, CA of pneumonia and heart failure. She was 84.

She was born Virginia Clara Jones in St. Louis, Missouri on November 30, 1920, and got her show business start at the age of six by enrolling in her aunt's School of Dramatic Expression. While still in her teens, she joined the nightclub circuit, and after paying her dues for a few years traveling across the country, she eventually caught the eye of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. He gave her a small role in her first film, starring future husband, Michael O'Shea, in Jack London (1943). She then received minor billing as a "Goldwyn Girl," in the Danny Kaye farce, Up In Arms (1944). Almost immediately, Goldwyn saw her natural movement, comfort and ease in front of the camera, and in just her fourth film, she landed a plumb lead opposite Bob Hope in The Princess and the Pirate (1944). She proved a hit with moviegoers, and her next two films would be with her most frequent leading man, Danny Kaye: Wonder Man (1945), and The Kid from Brooklyn (1946). Both films were big hits, and the chemistry between Mayo and Kaye - the classy, reserved blonde beauty clashing with the hyperactive clown - was surprisingly successful.

Mayo did make a brief break from light comedy, and gave a good performance as Dana Andrews' unfaithful wife, Marie, in the popular post-war drama, The Best Years of Their Lives (1946); but despite the good reviews, she was back with Kaye in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), and A Song Is Born (1948).

It wasn't until the following year that Mayo got the chance to sink her teeth into a meaty role. That film, White Heat (1949), and her role, as Cody Jarrett's (James Cagney) sluttish, conniving wife, Verna, is memorable for the sheer ruthlessness of her performance. Remember, it was Verna who shot Cody¿s mother in the back, and yet when Cody confronts her after he escapes from prison to exact revenge for her death, Verna effectively places the blame on Big Ed (Steve Cochran):

Verna: I can't tell you Cody!
Cody: Tell me!
Verna: Ed...he shot her in the back!!!

Critics and fans purred over the newfound versatility, yet strangely, she never found a part as juicy as Verna again. Her next film, with Cagney, The West Point Story (1950), was a pleasant enough musical; but her role as Lady Wellesley in Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951), co-starring Gregory Peck, was merely decorative; that of a burlesque queen attempting to earn a university degree in the gormless comedy, She¿s Working Her Way Through College (1952); and worst of all, the Biblical bomb, The Silver Chalice (1954) which was, incidentally, Paul Newman's film debut, and is a film he still derides as the worst of his career.

Realizing that her future in movies was slowing down, she turned to the supper club circuit in the 60s with her husband, Michael O'Shea, touring the country in such productions as No, No Nanette, Barefoot in the Park, Hello Dolly, and Butterflies Are Free. Like most performers who had outdistanced their glory days with the film industry, Mayo turned to television for the next two decades, appearing in such shows as Night Gallery, Police Story, Murder She Wrote, and Remington Steele. She even earned a recurring role in the short-lived NBC soap opera, Santa Barbara (1984-85), playing an aging hoofer named "Peaches DeLight." Mayo was married to O'Shea from 1947 until his death in 1973. She is survived by their daughter, Mary Johnston; and three grandsons.

by Michael T. Toole

Virginia Mayo (1920-2005)

Virginia Mayo, the delectable, "peaches and cream" leading lady of the 40s, who on occasion, could prove herself quite capable in dramatic parts, died on January 17 at a nursing home in Thousand Oaks, CA of pneumonia and heart failure. She was 84. She was born Virginia Clara Jones in St. Louis, Missouri on November 30, 1920, and got her show business start at the age of six by enrolling in her aunt's School of Dramatic Expression. While still in her teens, she joined the nightclub circuit, and after paying her dues for a few years traveling across the country, she eventually caught the eye of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. He gave her a small role in her first film, starring future husband, Michael O'Shea, in Jack London (1943). She then received minor billing as a "Goldwyn Girl," in the Danny Kaye farce, Up In Arms (1944). Almost immediately, Goldwyn saw her natural movement, comfort and ease in front of the camera, and in just her fourth film, she landed a plumb lead opposite Bob Hope in The Princess and the Pirate (1944). She proved a hit with moviegoers, and her next two films would be with her most frequent leading man, Danny Kaye: Wonder Man (1945), and The Kid from Brooklyn (1946). Both films were big hits, and the chemistry between Mayo and Kaye - the classy, reserved blonde beauty clashing with the hyperactive clown - was surprisingly successful. Mayo did make a brief break from light comedy, and gave a good performance as Dana Andrews' unfaithful wife, Marie, in the popular post-war drama, The Best Years of Their Lives (1946); but despite the good reviews, she was back with Kaye in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), and A Song Is Born (1948). It wasn't until the following year that Mayo got the chance to sink her teeth into a meaty role. That film, White Heat (1949), and her role, as Cody Jarrett's (James Cagney) sluttish, conniving wife, Verna, is memorable for the sheer ruthlessness of her performance. Remember, it was Verna who shot Cody¿s mother in the back, and yet when Cody confronts her after he escapes from prison to exact revenge for her death, Verna effectively places the blame on Big Ed (Steve Cochran): Verna: I can't tell you Cody! Cody: Tell me! Verna: Ed...he shot her in the back!!! Critics and fans purred over the newfound versatility, yet strangely, she never found a part as juicy as Verna again. Her next film, with Cagney, The West Point Story (1950), was a pleasant enough musical; but her role as Lady Wellesley in Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951), co-starring Gregory Peck, was merely decorative; that of a burlesque queen attempting to earn a university degree in the gormless comedy, She¿s Working Her Way Through College (1952); and worst of all, the Biblical bomb, The Silver Chalice (1954) which was, incidentally, Paul Newman's film debut, and is a film he still derides as the worst of his career. Realizing that her future in movies was slowing down, she turned to the supper club circuit in the 60s with her husband, Michael O'Shea, touring the country in such productions as No, No Nanette, Barefoot in the Park, Hello Dolly, and Butterflies Are Free. Like most performers who had outdistanced their glory days with the film industry, Mayo turned to television for the next two decades, appearing in such shows as Night Gallery, Police Story, Murder She Wrote, and Remington Steele. She even earned a recurring role in the short-lived NBC soap opera, Santa Barbara (1984-85), playing an aging hoofer named "Peaches DeLight." Mayo was married to O'Shea from 1947 until his death in 1973. She is survived by their daughter, Mary Johnston; and three grandsons. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Virginia Mayo's character name is listed as "Polly Pringle" in the onscreen credits, but she is called "Polly Martin" in the film. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Natalie Draper tested for a role in the picture. Although an August 1945 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that the songs "Blue Danube" and "Welcome Home" were to be used in the film, neither were played in the released film. The Kid from Brooklyn was a remake of a 1936 Paramount film called The Milky Way, which was directed by Leo McCarey and starred Harold Lloyd (see below). Norman Z. McLeod, who directed The Kid from Brooklyn, was a fill-in director on the 1936 picture.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1946

Released in United States July 1984

Remake of "The Milky Way" (USA/1936) directed by Leo McCarey and starring Harold Lloyd.

Released in USA on video.

Remade as "The Kid From Brooklyn" (1946).

Released in United States 1946

Released in United States July 1984 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (50 Hour Sports Movie Marathon) July 5-20, 1984.)