The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was originally a short story written by James Thurber in 1939. Hollywood first adapted the story to film in 1947 when Samuel Goldwyn Studios turned the four page story into a 110 minute starring vehicle for Danny Kaye.
Now, Ben Stiller has brought an entirely new interpretation of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty to movie audiences.
So, why does this matter to Thorne Smith fans?
starters, James Thurber and Thorne Smith were friends. In fact, Thurber
helped Thorne get a job at New Yorker magazine. Secondly, when reading the original short story one might be forgiven for thinking
that Walter Mitty bears some resemblance to Biltmore Oswald, the inept
daydreaming soldier from Thorne Smith's first two books: Biltmore Oswald
and Out O' Luck.
In all fairness to James Thurber, I don't know that he was influenced directly by Biltmore Oswald, nor have I ever seen any reference to such an influence. But there are some curious similarities.
With Thurber and Thorne
being friends, and sharing similar senses of humor and wit, I'd be
remiss if I didn't devote some time to "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." It's simply a good fit.
actually quite a divide on what people think of the film. For every person who didn't like it, I've heard from just as many people who appreciate that instead of just being a comedy, Ben Stiller
has done an exceptional job in creating a life affirming movie that is
moving and uplifting.
For purists who say that's straying too far from the original movie, let's not forget that James Thurber himself was not pleased with the 1947 movie.
[June 2014 Update]
Now that the film has been released on DVD, you can sit back and enjoy watching Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn, Patton Oswalt, and Sean Penn's performances and decide for yourself whether you think this is an enjoyable update on the original James Thurber story.
WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING
Here's an interesting write-up from the "Movies for Grownups" section of AARP's website.
Here's some more insight into what Ben Stiller was thinking when he decided to take on remaking what many consider to be a classic film.
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