The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Directed by Norman Z. McLeod. With Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Boris Karloff, Fay Bainter. A clumsy daydreamer gets caught up in a sinister conspiracy.

I had no idea that Bill Stiller’s 2013 film of the same name was a remake of this 1947 film, but when I stumbled upon the 1947 version on Kanopy and immediately gave it a go and I’m happy I did! The broad strokes between the two films are essentially the same, there’s a guy in a good job at a publisher that frequently lets his daydreaming get in the way of the life he’s trying to lead, that is until something happens that gives him the opportunity to live the life that he’s always imagined he could live.

In the ’47 film, the fine details are immediately recognizable by anyone that’s seen more than a few films from the era, it’s essentially a screwball comedy with a himbo that’s being forced into a marriage with a bimbo, and stumbles on a murder mystery and all sorts of wacky hijinks ensue. In comparison, the ’13 film is also a product of its times, with the main character being burned on on his corporate job, one with The National Geographic, which was being bought out by a much larger, soulless corporation, all with the intent of monetizing its assets, one of which being a photo that’s still out in the field that he’s tasked with collecting.

The 2013 version is vastly superior, there’s much more introspection and soul searching moments, but I wouldn’t want to discount the 1947 version, as it’s still a completely entertaining film with some really classic moments that work very well in context.

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