San Demetrio, London (Ealing 1943 with Walter Fitzgerald, Mervyn Johns and Gordon Jackson)

USA / Samuel Goldwyn / 112 minutes / 1952

Writer: Moss Hart / Music and Lyrics: Frank Loesser / Cinematography: Harry Stradling / Director: Charles Vidor

Cast: Danny Kaye, Zizi Jeanmaire, Joey Walsh, John Qualen, Philip Tongue, Eric Bruhn, Roland Petit, John Brown, Jeanne Lafayette

Tuneful and enjoyable film loosely based on the life of maestro fairy-tale teller Hans Christian Andersen, starring Danny Kaye in the title role. The film tells the story of Andersen’s unrequited love for a ballerina (Zizi Jeanmaire) and how, instead of finding the romance he craved, he became a storyteller.

Lavishly produced by Sam Goldwyn, the film features a memorable score by Frank Loesser that includes Thumbelina, Wonderful Copenhagen, Inchworm and The Ugly Duckling.

Trivia wise Gary Cooper was once considered for the lead (which makes the mind boggle somewhat) and Moira Shearer was down to play the ballerina but fell pregnant. Ziz Jeanmarie is famously name checked in Peter Sarstedt’s 1968 Number One Where Do You Go To My Lovely.


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