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Danny Kaye: Goldwyn Years

4.5 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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(Nov 13, 2013)
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Editorial Reviews

After conquering the Borscht Belt and Broadway, David Daniel Kaminksi (Danny Kaye) got the nod from maverick impresario Samuel Goldwyn and under his tutelage soon mastered the movies as well. Kaye makes his feature film debut alongside Dinah Shore in Up in Arms (1944) as a hypochondriac war hero. Virginia Mayo gets paired with Kaye for the first time in Wonder Man (1945), which features one of his signature cinema schticks – multiple roles in the same film. Kaye plays twins with a twist: one of them is a ghost! The Kid from Brooklyn (1946) sees Kaye playing a milquetoast milkman who masters the squared circle and romances a nightclub nightingale (Virginia Mayo). A Song is Born (1948) sees Howard Hawks re-envisioning his classic Ball of Fire as a superstar jazz musical, with Kaye in the Gary Cooper role and Mayo in the Barbara Stanwyck role as the moll who sweeps several professors off their feet.

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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Studio: Warner Archive Collection
  • DVD Release Date: November 13, 2013
  • Run Time: 429 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00GJT1ZPU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,714 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
I'm a huge Danny Kaye fan and have been waiting for years for "Up In Arms" to come out on DVD. (I would have been happy to see it on VHS if had been available during that era.)

All four movies are good "clean" fun. "Up In Arms", a bit of an Army spoof, was Mr. Kaye's first movie and it is a delight to see Dinah Shore performing as well. "A Song is Born", while entertaining, doesn't have any of the performances featuring Mr. Kaye's unique style and panache. It is great fun to see many of the big band heroes from the 1940s like Benny Goodman, Luis Armstrong and others while Professor Frisbee (Kaye) and the professors are writing a history of music. "Wonder Man" is a favorite. Seeing Mr. Kaye playing twin brothers with quite opposite personalities is entertaining. “The Kid From Brooklyn” is a fun boxing show with night club performances thrown in for good measure. Vera Ellen is spectacular as always.

One thing to note about all of these movies is that they are from the 1940s and this is reflected in the films. However, even if unversed on the era, you can enjoy all of these movies.
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I had the misfortune of watching UP IN ARMS, which isn't one of Danny's best even though it's his first feature.
After viewing many of WB Archives great MGM & WB classic musical collections, this transfer has to be one of the worst.
Over saturated colour, colour bleeding, very hazy resolution, when it is sharp there is a very prominent herring bone pattern that overlays the image. There is hardly a sign of film grain. Where did Warners get this this transfer from?? Fox Archives.
Definitely not recommended.
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"Danny Kaye:Goldwyn Years"-Still Golden 'They don't make them like this anymore! These films are great for adults and families to watch together. They're in color and glorious to view. These delicious films are a must have for any household where films,laughter and fun are appreciated. The fact the this box set is available presents the best in Danny Kaye entertainment for a great price. Order Today!!!!! Judi in Fl.
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This is a great set of movies for the price. I grew up watching Danny Kaye on Saturday afternoons in So. California on Channel 5, KTLA (I think) and I wanted to marry a guy just like him. Oh well, that didn't happen but when I want to watch one of the most talented people that ever graced the Earth, I watch Danny.

The movies worked fine in my DVD player, but that is because I only have a player. The package arrived on time, shrink wrapped and the movies in excellent condition. Price is fantastic, especially when I was trying to find "A Song is Born," and the prices on the Amazon marketplace were double the price than what I paid for these four movies combined.

Very pleased with the entire purchase.
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This 4-DVD set from Warner Archives contains four of comedian Danny Kaye's films that were produced by maverick producer Samuel Goldwyn and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures. NOTE: Goldwyn had no connection with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), despite the similarity in name; he had sold his previous film company, Goldwyn Pictures, sometime before it merged with Metro Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Pictures to form MGM.

Disc 1: UP IN ARMS (1944): This was Kaye's feature-film debut, in which he plays a hypochondriac who is drafted into the Army. The military fraternization rules put a cramp into his love life, but in the end, he becomes a war hero by doing an impersonation of the commanding officer, tricking the Japanese soldiers, who had been holding him captive, into surrendering to the Americans. The supporting cast includes Dana Andrews, Constance Dowling, and Dinah Shore. This is the weakest of the four films. Three stars.

Disc 2: WONDER MAN (1945): In 2003, I purchased this film on VHS tape, having seen it on television several times, and have always enjoyed it. Kaye plays a dual role, as nightclub entertainer Buster Dingle (a.k.a. Buzzy Bellew) and his bookworm brother Edwin, who haven't seen each other in years. When Buzzy is called to testify in a murder trial, he is bumped off by the mob and his body is dumped in the river; Buzzy's ghost then enlists Edwin to take his place until the trial is over by inserting himself into Edwin's body at various intervals. This creates a complication, because Buzzy was engaged to nightclub dancer Midge Mallon (Vera-Ellen), while Edwin is in love with librarian Ellen Shanley (Virginia Mayo).
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For Danny Kaye fans the two best in this collection remain Wonder Man and The Kid from Brooklyn. The transfers of Up in Arms and Wonder Man were not of the same quality as those of The Kid from Brooklyn and A Song is Born, the last being of the highest quality in the set. All four films are in color. Danny Kaye had not quite reached his comic peak (1950s) in any of these Goldwyn films of the 1940s, but this set is invaluable for fans of Danny Kaye. Up in Arms is clearly dated as a film, but contains Danny Kaye's first notable singing/dancing solo routine in the "lobby number". Wonder Man begins his forte of playing double roles, while the Kid from Brooklyn gives Virginia Mayo increased screen time with Kaye while allowing his comic persona to develop in material ranging from loyal company milkman to unwilling boxer. If you are a fan of jazz music, A Song is Born records Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Charlie Barnet, Lionel Hampton, Mel Powell and others making music with Danny Kaye in color! One such scene is almost as swinging and joyous as Danny Kaye and Louis Armstrong singing duet and scatting "When the Saints Go Marching In" in Danny Kaye's movie of The Five Pennies (1959). A Song is Born becomes a document of these great musicians looking and sounding wonderful in post World War II America. A Song is Born is a musical remake of the classic comedy Ball of Fire with Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck and gives Kaye a chance to show his versatility as an actor as well as a comic. A highly recommend set of 4 individual DVDs in the Warner Archive Collection that reduces the cost of collecting Danny Kaye comedies.
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