Hans Christian Andersen NR

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(236) IMDb 6.9/10
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Hans Christian Andersen was Sam Goldwyn's final production for RKO Radio release, and also the producer's last Danny Kaye vehicle. The Moss Hart-Myles Connolly screenplay largely disregards the facts concerning Denmark's great storyteller, opting for a fanciful blend of comedy, fantasy, romance and music. Hans Christian Andersen, played by Kaye, starts out as a small-town cobbler whose gift for spinning fairy tales is keeping the local kids from attending school. After being asked to leave town, Hans heads to Copenhagen to seek his fortune as a writer. Although his heart has been broken by the beautiful ballerina Doro (Jeanmaire), Hans finds comfort and joy in the knowledge that hundreds of thousands of children all over the world are devoted to his enchanting fantasy stories.

Starring:
Danny Kaye, Farley Granger
Runtime:
1 hour 53 minutes

Hans Christian Andersen

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Product Details

Genres Romance, Musical, Kids & Family
Director Charles Vidor
Starring Danny Kaye, Farley Granger
Supporting actors Zizi Jeanmaire, Joseph Walsh, Philip Tonge, Erik Bruhn, Roland Petit, John Brown, John Qualen, Jeanne Lafayette, Robert Malcolm, George Chandler, Fred Kelsey, Gil Perkins, Peter J. Votrian, Lee Aaker, Lonnie Burr, Wheaton Chambers, Barrie Chase, Jack Claus
Studio MGM
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Loved this movie as a child and now my children love it.
C. Cornman
If you really listen to the "Inchworm" song, you will hear just how fine his voice really was.
Marion Capriotti
Great family movie timeless my entire like the music the story line.
Verna M. pregnon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

132 of 137 people found the following review helpful By Roger Strutton on March 17, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75) was an Ugly Duckling. He lived in the third largest town Odense, in Denmark. The son of a cobbler he was poverty ridden and a failure as an actor and it wasn't until he moved to Copenhagen and won the patronage of Frederick VI, through his poetry, that he wrote his fairy tales and developed into a swan. Like many artists he wasn't particularly happy, and never did marry, although he was very fond of Jenny Lind (1820-87) the Swedish Nightingale a soprano given the name by P.T. Barnum during her tour of the United States between 1850-52.) Charles Vidor's film does state at the beginning, This is not the story of Hans Christian Andersen but a fairy tale about the great spinner of fairy tales. The Danes objected to the way Hans Christian Andersen was portrayed even though Goldwyn had rejected 21 previous manuscripts, so the film company inserted this statement in the credits.
Danny Kaye with his chiselled features does resemble H.C.Andersen when looking at his profile, but apart from this facial feature that's where it stops. Kaye had dark hair but Hollywood soon changed that and he became a blonde, Andersen also had dark hair but he kept it that way.
Unlike some earlier musicals, this film does have a strong story line with loads of songs written by "Baby, It's Cold Outside", Frank Loessen, such as Thumbelina, Ugly Duckling, No Two People, and of course Wonderful Copenhagen. The scenery is very clever, the backgrounds look like illustrations from fairy tale books, but as the camera zooms in to the foreground the buildings and props become three dimensional similar to a pop-up-book.
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56 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 1999
Format: DVD
With all due respect, Leonard Maltin just doesn't get it with regard to this movie, and I hate to think his negative comments might prevent someone from seeing it. This was one of the most memorable movies from my childhood -- and I can only have seen it twice at the most, because there were no videos in those days. We had the soundtrack album and those glorious and, yes, melodic, songs burned themselves into my consciousness. I could not wait until my daughter was old enough to share this movie with, and now that we are watching it together (she is three), it is a joy to see her, too, respond to the magic and music of Danny Kaye's charming performance. For the past three months it has been her most requested video, and when we aren't watching it, she wants me to sing the songs, and when I can't do that, she sings them herself! And now that she is familiar with the musical versions of the fairy tales, she wants them read to her, and is thereby learning to listen to much longer and more complex stories than before.
This really is a special movie. No, it's not an accurate portrayal of Anderson's life, and it doesn't pretend to be. In fact it says right there in the opening frame, "This is not the story of his life, but rather a fairy tale about this spinner of fairy tales." And yes, the plot is a little limp. So as a movie it only gets four stars, not five. But it doesn't matter. There is so much charm and magic and wonderful music here, that the experience of watching it, even over and over again, is a five-star experience that makes for lifelong memories.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Byron Kolln HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 1, 2006
Format: DVD
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN presents a fanciful, fictionalised re-telling of the famed storyteller's life, highlighted by Frank Loesser's beautiful score and the perfect casting of Danny Kaye in the central role.

As the film opens, cobbler Hans is entertaining the children of Odense, Denmark, with yet another fantastic tale, much to the consternation of the schoolmaster who feels the children are having their time wasted when they should be studying. This seems to be the opinion of most of the townspeople, so Hans is politely told to leave town...for a while anyway. Hans and his young assistant travel to the bright lights and bustle of Copenhagen for a fresh start, but old habits die hard and soon Hans is entertaining a new group of children with his amazing storytelling talents. When Hans is engaged to make slippers and toe-shoes for the city's ballet troupe, he becomes entranced by the prima ballerina Doro (Zizi Jeanmaire in her film debut) not knowing that she's married to the troupe's tough choreographer Niels (Farley Granger). His story of "The Little Mermaid", inspired by Doro, becomes the ballet's new work, but discovering the truth, Hans returns to Odense a hero, his storytelling now famous all over Europe.

Danny Kaye is just was is called for in the role of Hans. His natural warmth, fatherly air and ability to combine pathos and heart serves him well in his performance. Zizi Jeanmaire as the glamorous Doro likewise is perfect casting (although Moira Shearer from "The Red Shoes" was first choice, pregnancy prevented her from doing the film). Having shot to fame in husband Roland Petit's ballet version of "Carmen", Jeanmaire adds a European beauty and elegance to her role, and Petit staged all the ballet numbers in this film too.
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