The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


1h 45m 1947
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Brief Synopsis

An accountant dreams of being a hero but finds it's not so easy in real life.

Film Details

Also Known As
I Wake Up Dreaming
Genre
Comedy
Fantasy
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Sep 1, 1947
Premiere Information
World premiere in Chicago, IL: 4 Aug 1947
Production Company
Samuel Goldwyn Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber in The New Yorker (18 Mar 1939).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,903ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

On his way to Pierce Publishing in New York City, where he works as a proofreader, milquetoast Walter Mitty has one of his many daydreams in which he is a swashbuckling hero. At work, his boss, Bruce Pierce, steals Walter's ideas and then chastises him when he daydreams he is a famous brain surgeon impressing a lovesick nurse. That night, Walter returns to the home he shares with his mother Eunice and has dinner with his fiancée, Gertrude Griswald, and her mother. To escape from the three women's henpecking, Walter fantasizes that he is a British fighter pilot terrorizing the Nazis and wooing a French bar maid. During his train ride the next day, glamorous Rosalind Van Hoorn attempts to escape from a suspicious-looking man, Hendrick, by pretending Walter is her sweetheart. Walter, recognizing her as the girl from his dreams, agrees to accompany her to meet a friend at the docks, but soon after they locate a cab, he jumps out nervously at his office, leaving his briefcase in the cab. When he then follows her to the docks to retrieve his briefcase, Rosalind's friend, Karl Maarsdam, hides a notebook in the briefcase before returning it to Walter. Maarsdam then invites Walter to share their cab, but as soon as the driver takes off, Maarsdam collapses, dead. Walter and Rosalind race to the police station, but as he tells his story to the police, the cab and the girl disappear. She reappears at his office that evening and brings him to meet her uncle, Peter Van Hoorn, who explains that he is the former curator of the Royal Netherlands Museum, and that when the Nazis invaded he hid all the national treasures and recorded their whereabouts in a notebook, which a criminal named The Boot is now trying to steal. Frightened, Walter leaves, but as soon as he enters a department store, he finds the notebook in his briefcase and spies Hendrick following him. He runs into the models' salon and hides the notebook in a corset, which is promptly packed up and delivered to a Mrs. Follinsbee. Later that day, one of The Boot's henchmen, Dr. Hugo Hollingshead, attacks Walter at work, causing him to crawl onto the windowsill and into Pierce's office, infuriating his boss. When he goes home, his romantic rival, Tubby Wadsworth, embarrasses him in front of Gertrude. The humiliated Walter escapes into a fantasy in which he is a famous riverboat gambler who wins Rosalind's heart. The next day, Rosalind again appears and convinces him to help her retrieve the notebook, which they eventually find at a corset fashion show. Walter, however, immediately forgets to bring the notebook back to Van Hoorn, forcing Rosalind to sneak into the Mitty house that evening, when Gertrude and her mother are staying over. Walter alarms the other women as he attempts to hide Rosalind's presence, but manages to sneak off to Van Hoorn's with her. There, Rosalind grows suspicious when she sees that Van Hoorn has Marsdaam's passport, and hides the notebook in Van Hoorn's desk without informing her uncle that it is there. Soon after, she spots Van Hoorn's oversized shoe and realizes he must be The Boot, after which he abducts her and administers a sleeping pill to Walter. When Walter wakes, Van Hoorn has gathered Mrs. Mitty and Pierce, and lies to them that Walter has been wandering around the grounds incoherently, that Rosalind does not exist, and that they should take him to see Hollingshead, a pyschiatrist. Although Walter recognizes the doctor as his attacker, Hollingshead soon convinces him that everything has been a daydream. The next day, as he is about to marry Gertrude, he finds a charm Rosalind gave him. Realizing that she is real, he runs to Van Hoorn's, where he bravely discovers Rosalind and awakens her from her shocked state. The criminals are about to catch up to them when the police, Pierce, Mrs. Mitty, Gertrude and Tubby arrive. Their rebukes provoke Walter to finally stand up to them and display an assertiveness which wins him Rosalind's hand and Pierce's respect.

Cast

Danny Kaye

Walter Mitty

Virginia Mayo

Rosalind Van Hoorn

Boris Karloff

Dr. [Hugo] Hollingshead

Fay Bainter

Mrs. [Eunice] Mitty

Ann Rutherford

Gertrude Griswald

Thurston Hall

Bruce Pierce

Gordon Jones

Tubby Wadsworth

Florence Bates

Mrs. Griswald

Konstantin Shayne

Peter Von Hoorn [also known as The Boot and Wilhelm Krug]

Reginald Denny

Colonel

Henry Corden

Hendrick

Doris Lloyd

Mrs. Follinsbee

Fritz Feld

Anatole

Frank Reicher

[Karl] Maarsdam

Milton Parsons

Butler [Tyler]

Mary Brewer

Betty Cargyle

Sue Casey

Lorraine Derome

Karen X. Gaylord

Mary Ellen Gleason

Jackie Jordan

Georgia Lange

Michael Mauree

Martha Montgomery

Pat Patrick

Irene Vernon

Lynn Walker

George Magrill

Wolfman

Joel Friedkin

Mr. Grimsby

Harry Harvey Jr.

Office boy

Mary Anne Baird

Model with wolfman

Jack Gargan

Photographer

Donna Dax

Stenographer

Warren Jackson

Business manager

John Tyrrell

Department head

Raoul Freeman

Department head

Bess Flowers

Illustrator

Sam Ash

Art editor

Philip Dunham

Composing room foreman

Harry Depp

Director

Frank Mcclure

Director

Dick Earle

Director

Edward Biby

Director

Broderick O'farrell

Director

Harold Miller

Director

Wilbur Mack

Director

Patsy O'byrne

Charwoman

Ralph Dunn

Policeman

Jack Cheatham

Policeman

Carl Faulkner

Policeman

Frank Meredith

Policeman

Brick Sullivan

Policeman

Mary Forbes

Mrs. Pierce

Moy Ming

Elderly Chinese person

Weaver Levy

Waiter in Chinese restaurant

Beal Wong

Headwaiter in Chinese restaurant

Barbara Combs

Nurse

Pierre Watkin

Minister

Netta Packer

Organist

Ernie Adams

Flower truck driver

Lucille Casey

Saleswoman at pet food counter

Audrey Betz

Heavy dowager

Frances Morris

Head saleswoman

Syd Saylor

Henchman

Billy Bletcher

Western character

Frank Ellis

Western character

Hank Worden

Western character

Eddy Chandler

P. O. cowboy

George Lloyd

Wells Fargo cowboy

Eddie Acuff

Wells Fargo cowboy

Vernon B. Dent

Bartender

Wade Crosby

Blacksmith

Dorothy Granger

Wrong Mrs. Follinsbee

Harry L. Woods

Wrong Mr. Follinsbee

Cy Shindell

Taxi driver

Frank Marlowe

Taxi driver

Ruth Lee

Commentator

Dorothy Christy

Store official

Margaret Wells

Store official

Dick Rush

Customs official

Kernan Cripps

Porter

Christine Mcintyre

Sales clerk

Lumsden Hare

Dr. Pritchard-Mitford

Henry Kolker

Dr. Benbow

John Hamilton

Dr. Remington

Charles Trowbridge

Dr. Renshaw

Charles Wilson

Desk sergeant

Jack Overman

Vincent

Frank Larue

Conductor

William Haade

Conductor

Minerva Urecal

Woman with hat

Nolan Leary

Huckster

Tommy Hughes

Huckster

Ted Billings

Huckster

Tom Mcguire

Dublin policeman

Mary Gordon

Mother MaCree

Otto Reichow

German pilot

Billy Newell

Taxi starter

Paul Newlan

Truck driver

Anthony Marsh

RAF pilot

Leslie Denison

RAF pilot

John Meredith

RAF pilot

Peter Gowland

RAF pilot

Harold Temple Hensen

RAF pilot

Robert B. Altman

RAF pilot

Leslie Vincent

RAF pilot

Chris Pin Martin

Waiter

Sam Mcdaniel

Doorman

Betty Blythe

Floor manager

Maude Eburne

Fitter

Al Eben

Elevator starter

Ethan Laidlaw

Helmsman

Don Garner

Young seaman

Eddy Waller

Old mariner

George Chandler

Second mate

Vincent Pelletier

Dream sequences narrator

Film Details

Also Known As
I Wake Up Dreaming
Genre
Comedy
Fantasy
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Sep 1, 1947
Premiere Information
World premiere in Chicago, IL: 4 Aug 1947
Production Company
Samuel Goldwyn Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber in The New Yorker (18 Mar 1939).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,903ft (6 reels)

Articles

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


James Thurber's creation, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," was one of the most celebrated short stories of its era. First published in 1939, this tale of a henpecked middle-aged man who periodically escapes from his humdrum life through fanciful daydreams of heroism and derring-do struck a chord with readers everywhere. After all, who doesn't daydream occasionally about being someone more popular, attractive, rich or famous than they really are? So, when Samuel Goldwyn first bought the rights to Thurber's story in 1945, he had it in mind as a vehicle for rising star Danny Kaye, a popular stage singer, dancer, and comedian who became a Broadway sensation in the early 1940s. Although several Hollywood studios competed with each other to sign the entertainer, Goldwyn finally won out after two years of patience and persistence.

There was never any doubt of Kaye's talent, but once Goldwyn got him to Hollywood for a screen test, he saw the challenges he faced. Kaye -- with his dark hair, wild eyes, and pronounced nose did not photograph well. Frances Goldwyn later recalled (in A. Scott Berg's biography, Goldwyn), "In that first screen test, Danny's face was all angles and his nose so long and thin it almost was like Pinocchio's. More tests were made. Then more. In each a new make-up was tried and different lighting. And none was good." Then Goldwyn had a brainstorm - dye Kaye's hair blonde. The hair color change did the trick, improving and complimenting his screen image considerably.

As a result, Kaye went on to become a huge star for Goldwyn in the years immediately following WWII and one of his most highly successful films was The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947). Yet, despite its box-office success, it never really satisfied its original author. James Thurber even offered Goldwyn $10,000 to NOT film his classic short story. The movie version, unlike Thurber's original story, focuses on a day dreaming bachelor accountant, who's being browbeaten by a domineering mother. Thurber felt the screen rendition became too melodramatic and was eventually brought in briefly to work with screenwriter Ken Englund on creating some additional sequences. In the biography, Nobody's Fool: The Lives of Danny Kaye by Martin Gottfried, Thurber later recalled, "Next to our new dream scenes, the greatest worry of Mr. Englund and myself was the possibility that this movie might be spoiled by one or more of Mr. Kaye's and Miss Fine's famous, but to me deplorable, scat or git-gat-giddle songs."

For her part, Kaye's wife and collaborator, Sylvia Fine, felt that Thurber's numerous dream sequences, particularly one involving a courtroom case and a firing squad, adversely affected the story's momentum and clashed with the musical numbers she had written for her husband. In a letter to Life magazine, Thurber later wrote, "Almost everything I had written, suggested, and fought for was dropped." Goldwyn would later question Fine's judgment in a famous incident that was reported in Berg's biography of Goldwyn. For a production meeting on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Fine didn't show up, prompting Goldwyn to ask, "Where's Sylvia?" "She'll be here a little late," Kaye explained. "In the mornings she goes to the psychiatrist." Goldwyn turned red and exploded, "Anybody who goes to a psychiatrist - should have his head examined!"

In the end, Kaye and Fine had their way with Walter Mitty but audiences and critics alike responded positively to the film. Viewers clearly enjoyed Mitty's fantasies of being a daring sea captain, a Western gunslinger, a Mississippi riverboat gambler, a brilliant surgeon, and a dashing pilot. At one point, Mitty even imagines himself as a fashion designer, "Anatole of Paris," and performs one of his most famous sing-song numbers. With the introduction of the luscious blonde Rosalind, played by Virginia Mayo (Ingrid Bergman had been considered for the part at one point), Walter soon finds himself caught up in a real-life conspiracy very much like the predicaments he encounters in his daydreams. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty encouraged the studio to announce they were making a sequel - but it was never happened. Nevertheless, the expression, "living a life of Walter Mitty," became a popular catchphrase, thanks to this film and Thurber's beloved short story.

Producer: Samuel Goldwyn
Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Screenplay: Ken Englund, Everett Freeman, Philip Rapp, based on a story by James Thurber
Cinematography: Lee Garmes
Film Editing: Monica Collingwood
Art Direction: Perry Ferguson, George Jenkins
Music: Sylvia Fine, David Raksin
Cast: Danny Kaye (Walter Mitty), Virginia Mayo (Rosalind van Hoorn), Boris Karloff (Dr. Hugo Hollingshead), Fay Bainter (Mrs. Eunice Mitty), Ann Rutherford (Gertrude Griswold), Thurston Hall (Bruce Pierce).
C-111m. Closed captioning.

by E. Lacey Rice
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

James Thurber's creation, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," was one of the most celebrated short stories of its era. First published in 1939, this tale of a henpecked middle-aged man who periodically escapes from his humdrum life through fanciful daydreams of heroism and derring-do struck a chord with readers everywhere. After all, who doesn't daydream occasionally about being someone more popular, attractive, rich or famous than they really are? So, when Samuel Goldwyn first bought the rights to Thurber's story in 1945, he had it in mind as a vehicle for rising star Danny Kaye, a popular stage singer, dancer, and comedian who became a Broadway sensation in the early 1940s. Although several Hollywood studios competed with each other to sign the entertainer, Goldwyn finally won out after two years of patience and persistence. There was never any doubt of Kaye's talent, but once Goldwyn got him to Hollywood for a screen test, he saw the challenges he faced. Kaye -- with his dark hair, wild eyes, and pronounced nose did not photograph well. Frances Goldwyn later recalled (in A. Scott Berg's biography, Goldwyn), "In that first screen test, Danny's face was all angles and his nose so long and thin it almost was like Pinocchio's. More tests were made. Then more. In each a new make-up was tried and different lighting. And none was good." Then Goldwyn had a brainstorm - dye Kaye's hair blonde. The hair color change did the trick, improving and complimenting his screen image considerably. As a result, Kaye went on to become a huge star for Goldwyn in the years immediately following WWII and one of his most highly successful films was The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947). Yet, despite its box-office success, it never really satisfied its original author. James Thurber even offered Goldwyn $10,000 to NOT film his classic short story. The movie version, unlike Thurber's original story, focuses on a day dreaming bachelor accountant, who's being browbeaten by a domineering mother. Thurber felt the screen rendition became too melodramatic and was eventually brought in briefly to work with screenwriter Ken Englund on creating some additional sequences. In the biography, Nobody's Fool: The Lives of Danny Kaye by Martin Gottfried, Thurber later recalled, "Next to our new dream scenes, the greatest worry of Mr. Englund and myself was the possibility that this movie might be spoiled by one or more of Mr. Kaye's and Miss Fine's famous, but to me deplorable, scat or git-gat-giddle songs." For her part, Kaye's wife and collaborator, Sylvia Fine, felt that Thurber's numerous dream sequences, particularly one involving a courtroom case and a firing squad, adversely affected the story's momentum and clashed with the musical numbers she had written for her husband. In a letter to Life magazine, Thurber later wrote, "Almost everything I had written, suggested, and fought for was dropped." Goldwyn would later question Fine's judgment in a famous incident that was reported in Berg's biography of Goldwyn. For a production meeting on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Fine didn't show up, prompting Goldwyn to ask, "Where's Sylvia?" "She'll be here a little late," Kaye explained. "In the mornings she goes to the psychiatrist." Goldwyn turned red and exploded, "Anybody who goes to a psychiatrist - should have his head examined!" In the end, Kaye and Fine had their way with Walter Mitty but audiences and critics alike responded positively to the film. Viewers clearly enjoyed Mitty's fantasies of being a daring sea captain, a Western gunslinger, a Mississippi riverboat gambler, a brilliant surgeon, and a dashing pilot. At one point, Mitty even imagines himself as a fashion designer, "Anatole of Paris," and performs one of his most famous sing-song numbers. With the introduction of the luscious blonde Rosalind, played by Virginia Mayo (Ingrid Bergman had been considered for the part at one point), Walter soon finds himself caught up in a real-life conspiracy very much like the predicaments he encounters in his daydreams.

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

Walter, what's that awful smell?
- Gertrude Griswold
It's that cologne you gave me for Christmas.
- Walter Mitty
It's lovely, isn't it?
- Gertrude Griswold
Your small minds are musclebound with suspicion. That's because, the only exercise you ever get is jumping to conclusions.
- Walter Mitty

Trivia

Author James Thurber offered producer Samuel Goldwyn $10,000 to not make the film.

Notes

The working title for this film was I Wake Up Dreaming. While a February 1946 Hollywood Reporter news item lists Theodore Von Hemert as the set decorator, only Casey Roberts received onscreen credit. Boris Karloff was borrowed from Universal for his role as "Dr. Hugo Hollingshead." Because producer Samuel Goldwyn cast Virginia Mayo in both The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Best Years of Our Lives, films which were in production simultaneously, a break in the production of The Best Years of Our Lives was contemplated during July 1946 so that Mayo could complete her role in this film. Hollywood Reporter news items add Victor Cutler and Arianne Ross, wife of the New Yorker editor Harold Ross, to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
       Work on the script of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty began in January 1945, when Ken Englund and Everett Freeman attempted to adapt James Thurber's highly popular short story of the same name into a dramatic property. In August 1947, Life magazine published letters written by Goldwyn, asserting that Thurber loved the film. Also published were letters by Thurber, who insisted that, in spite of his involvement in the film's production, he never fully approved Goldwyn's changes. Thurber wrote that in December 1945, Goldwyn rejected the script the original writers offered, and sent Englund to Thurber in order to receive his input on the story line. The two worked on a new script for ten days, and after that Thurber's ideas were continually sought out and then ignored by Goldwyn. The tone of Thurber's letters suggest that he was entirely unhappy with the final product, complaining at one point that the psychiatrist scene contained "a bathing girl incident which will haunt me all the days of my life." He also recalled that Goldwyn asked him not to read part of the script, as it was "too 'blood and thirsty.' I read the entire script, of course, and I was horror and struck."
       News items also note that Thurber fans protested when Goldwyn changed the name of the film to I Wake Up Dreaming in reaction to a Gallup poll he had conducted. A May 1947 Collier's article recounts the letters and threats sent to Goldwyn by fans, and the producer's subsequent retraction of the new title. Although many reviewers criticized the element of spectacle added to Thurber's story, the film did very well at the box office. Another adaptation of the story, produced by Paramount Pictures and to be directed by Mark S. Walters, was announced as being in development in spring 2005. By October of 2005, Variety reported that actor Owen Wilson had dropped out of the project and Paramount was considering Zach Braff to play the lead. At various times, Jim Carrey and Whoopi Goldberg were attached to the project.
       The Secret Life of Walter Mitty marked the first film of future director Robert Altman (1925-2006), who appeared in a bit role as an RAF pilot. Altman, who went on to a long career as a director and writer, received five Academy Award nominations as Best Director, as well as a special Academy Award presented to him in 2006.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video August 31, 1988

Released in United States Summer September 1, 1947

Released in United States on Video August 31, 1988

Released in United States Summer September 1, 1947