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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Video Beaverhausen: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The latest screen adaptation of James Thurber's short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, is a remarkably and surprisingly soulful ode for our new age. As a kid, I liked the Danny Kaye movie version I watched on The Early Show, though I never quite understood it. Now, as an adult, I understand it perhaps a bit too well.

Mitty is about a bored, Alfred J. Prufrock-like New York City office worker (very affectingly portrayed by Ben Stiller who elegantly balances the comedy and pathos required of the role), measuring out his life in coffee spoons indeed, a dreamer and, perhaps, a borderline 21st century schizoid man (thanks, Pink Floyd). Why can I relate to this character?

Made available on dvd and Blu-Ray mid-April, this Christmas theatrical release is a joy for any season. A 20th Century-Fox movie, it was adroitly directed by Mr Stiller.

In The Secret Life..., Walter Mitty works for Life magazine, which is going out of business as a physical publication and laying off its staff. Eventually, the Quixotic character realizes his dreams via a real-life adventure. (And, surely, Don Quixote is an influence on Thurber's tale.)

This film somehow has the feel of an indy but on a Hollywood budget. Acting is uniformly top-notch, especially Kristen Wiig, Jon Daly and Shirley MacLaine as Walter's mother. Stuart Dryburgh's cinematography and Greg Hayden's editing are both accomplished and contribute to the slick and seamless feel of the film.

So, to all you 9-to-5'ers and/ or dreamers, I highly recommend this video (or download). Live your dreams before it's too late, y'all. That's the moral to Mitty.

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