Walter Mitty is almost here!

mountain road

The road to meaningful experiences. Do you dare take it? Image courtesy of veggiegretz, Morguefile.

Last year, I wrote a post about a short story by humorist James Thurber called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. At that time, they were already at work filming it and now it’s getting ready to come to the big screen this December.

From the trailers I’ve been seeing, it looks pretty good so I’m hoping that the movie adaptation of this story works well. Ben Stiller’s Walter Mitty is a dreamer who constantly escapes from his ordinary life into a fantasy world through vivid daydreams. And with the capabilities of today’s CGI effects, it should be fun.

The original movie adaptation of this James Thurber story was made in 1947 featuring Danny Kaye, another favorite actor of mine. I remember that this version had some hilariously funny musical numbers so that the moviemakers could take advantage of Kaye’s fantastic singing voice as well as his acting ability. Kaye’s Walter Mitty, as I recall, was a typical Thurber hero — meek and henpecked but rises to the occasion when it’s necessary.

It looks like this version of the movie is going to go a step further in the development of Walter Mitty, since it’s more about Walter Mitty seeking to live a meaningful life full of great experiences from all over the world.

I can relate to that. I have been fortunate enough to make some solo journeys through New England, the South, the eastern part of Canada and Luxembourg. Before I went, I was nervous about traveling alone but the deep-seated need to see these places outweighed the nerves. (Having a map, a guidebook and a plan didn’t hurt, either.) I had some fantastic experiences which I wouldn’t trade away for anything. And through the pictures I took while I was in those places and the stories I tell on my blog or in real life, I can relive those experiences over and over.

I’m of the opinion that everyone should make solo journeys like mine or Walter’s at least once in their lives. I hope you do. But if you don’t, at least you can enjoy Walter’s trip vicariously through the magic of film.



Filed under Writing

18 responses to “Walter Mitty is almost here!

  1. Great advice! (And I must agree with your assessment of Danny Kaye. Who can’t love “The Pellet with the Poison!”)

  2. Ooh yes, I’d like to see this. I like Ben Stiller, even if I do often get him confused with Adam Sandler – in fact, I only recently discovered they were two different people! I know that sounds strange, but I never heard both their names in the same sentence, have you ever done that? They are both the same age (47) and they both get cast in similar roles, added to the fact that I’m never very good with actors’ names anyway, it’s fairly understandable…isn’t it?

  3. Servetus

    I loved this story when I read it in tenth grade and laughed myself to pieces but I didn’t fully appreciate how simultaneously sad it was until a few years later. A true American classic. Haven’t seen any of the films.

  4. I agree. Everybody should take at least one real journey — not just a little weekend somewhere — but somewhere very different from home. On their own. Not only is it fun, but when you’re alone, you meet people. You aren’t tied to someone else’s plans. You just GO. I loved traveling alone. I’ve also loved traveling with Garry, but they are very different experiences. Both good. 🙂

    I never cared for the Danny Kaye version of the movie. And that’s unusual because I love most of his other movies, especially Court Jester. Mitty, though, it sort of missed the mark for me. Maybe the new one will be better.

  5. travelrat

    Will this film be as good as the original version, though. I’ve usually been disappointed with ‘remakes’ … ‘The Italian Job’ and ‘Ocean’s 11’ spring to mind. Fortunately, there are exceptions ‘The Bounty’ was a vast improvement on The (Marlon Brando) Mutiny on the Bounty … and as good as The (Clark Gable) Mutiny on the Bounty.

  6. The film looks wonderful.. I read Thurber, saw the Danny Kaye film, and love Ben Stiller..and Shirley M. How good can it get?

  7. Serendipity! This is the next short story in the unit. I still will follow Danny Kaye’s version, at least the beginning. Not sure about the Boris Karloff aspect, but hey, it’s Danny Kaye and entertaining.

  8. I liked this story when we studied it in my college English class. Very excited for the movie!


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