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The Five Pennies

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Director  Melville Shavelson
Initial DVD release  December 13, 2005
Country  United States
7.3/10 IMDb

Genre  Biography, Drama, Music
Language  English
The Five Pennies movie poster
Release date  1959 (1959)
Writer  Jack Rose (screenplay), Melville Shavelson (screenplay), Robert Smith (story), Red Nichols (suggested by the life of)
Initial release  June 18, 1959 (New York City)
Music director  Sylvia Fine, Leith Stevens
Cast  Danny Kaye (Ernest Loring Nichols), Barbara Bel Geddes (Wila Stutsman), Louis Armstrong (Himself), Harry Guardino (Tony Valani), Bob Crosby (Wil Paradise), Bobby Troup (Artie Schutt)
Similar movies  The Jazz Singer (1952)

The five pennies trailer

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 Five Pennies movie scenes

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).

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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.

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The Five Pennies The Five Pennies 1959 Christina Wehner

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.

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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.


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  • Danny Kaye as Red Nichols
  • Barbara Bel Geddes as Willa Stutsman
  • Louis Armstrong as Himself
  • Harry Guardino as Tony Valani
  • Bob Crosby as Will Paradise
  • Bobby Troup as Artie Schutt
  • Susan Gordon as Dorothy Nichols - Ages 6 to 8
  • Tuesday Weld as Dorothy Nichols - Age 13
  • 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)

  • The Five Pennies Original Soundtrack The Five Pennies UK vinyl LP album LP record
    The Five Pennies Wild Realm Reviews The Five Pennies


    The Five Pennies Wikipedia
    The Five Pennies IMDbThe Five Pennies

    Similar Topics
    Barbara Bel Geddes
    Bob Crosby
    Bobby Troup