Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen

Synopsis of Movie

Hans Christian Andersen was not a biopic. There were no childhood traumas, no scenes of the young genius discovering his abilities, no conservative clergymen dismissing the artist’s work as sacrilegious or profane. In fact, this was a total fabrication, a less bawdy precursor to Shakespeare in Love, using the artist as a way of introducing his art. In this case, the imagined life of Hans Christian Andersen was the framework for a singing, dancing retelling of the master storyteller’s most famous works.

Danny Kaye plays the title character, a cobbler in a tiny Denmark town who keeps the local children entertained with his fanciful stories of fairies, emperors and ugly ducklings. The children are so enthralled by the cobbler’s tales, they start skipping school to hear them, a problem that results in Andersen’s being asked to leave town.

Hoping to find fame and fortune in Copenhagen, the cobbler-turned-writer instead finds a beautiful ballerina named Doro. This leads to several ballet interpretations of Andersen’s work, the most celebrated of which is a seven-minute dance to The Little Mermaid. Alas, the lovely maiden doesn’t return the affections, forcing the poor man to find out where true happiness lies.

The film was a gamble for producer Samuel Goldwyn, one that paid off enormously upon release. Hans Christian Andersen was an instant commercial and critical success, earning a spectacular profit at the box office and garnering five Academy Award nominations. Among the nominees was Frank Loesser’s song score, including the memorable “No Two People,” “The Ugly Duckling,” “Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen,” “Inchworm” and the Oscar-nominated “Thumbelina.”

Movie Release History

1952 - Hans Christian Andersen

Movie Sub Categories

live-action
musical

Movie Studio

Samuel Goldwyn, RKO

Cast

Hans Christian Andersen Danny Kaye
Niels Farley Granger
Doro Zizi Jeanmaire
Peter Joseph Walsh
Otto Philip Tonge
The Hussar Erik Bruhn
The Prince Roland Petit
Schoolmaster John Brown
Burgomaster John Qualen
Celine Jeanne Lafayette
Stage Doorman Robert Malcolm
Farmer George Chandler
First Gendarme Fred Kelsey
Second Gendarme Gil Perkins
Lars Peter J. Votrian

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