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Movie Info

In this film based on a true story, Red Nichols (Danny Kaye) moves from his small town to New York City to become a jazz musician. Although he experiences culture shock, he soon becomes well respected in the clubs, even forming a friendship with Louis Armstrong (Louis Armstrong). After marrying Willa (Barbara Bel Geddes) and having a daughter, Dorothy (Susan Gordon), Red still tours constantly. But, when he learns that Dorothy has polio, he realizes he must rethink his priorities.

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Critic Reviews for The Five Pennies

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (3)

  • The Five Pennies is a solidly crafted movie that glosses over a lot of the real history of jazz.

    December 16, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A bit too sobby in spots, the film rates "good" for its exuberant music, its sharply detailed Jazz Age atmosphere, and Kaye's likeable performance.

    October 17, 2019 | Full Review…
  • A bit of a sprightly-tragic mess, but if one doesn't try to sum up its parts, it's plenty entertaining in a nostalgic, old-movie way.

    January 2, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4

Audience Reviews for The Five Pennies

  • May 21, 2008
    Nice Jazz drama. Kaye gives a good performance and nice cameos by Jazz greats.
    Anthony V Super Reviewer
  • Sep 12, 2007
    Not a typical Danny Kaye character, but a beautiful story of a family's struggles. And yes, Kaye still gets in a few laughs.
    Valerie G Super Reviewer

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