The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Sailor Dan

Sailor Dan

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber has been one of my favorite short stories since adolescence. Apparently Ben Stiller is releasing a movie by the same title this at Christmas. Here is the trailer and a synopsis of the book:

The short story deals with a vague and mild-mannered man who drives into Waterbury, Connecticut with his wife for their regular weekly shopping and his wife’s visit to the beauty parlor. During this time he has five heroic daydream episodes. The first is as a pilot of a U.S. Navy flying boat in a storm, then he is a magnificent surgeon performing a one-of-a-kind surgery, then as a cool assassin testifying in a courtroom, and then as a Royal Air Force pilot volunteering for a daring, secret suicide mission to bomb an ammunition dump. As the story ends, Mitty imagines himself facing a firing squad, “inscrutable to the last.” Each of the fantasies is inspired by some detail of Mitty’s mundane surroundings

Ben Stiller is the only actor with three one-billion-dollar franchises (Night at the Museum, Madagascar, and Meet the Parents). He’s most known for those movies and for playful rom-coms like There’s Something about Mary and slapstick like Dodgeball. With Mitty, Stiller exhibits Oscar pretensions. This time around, Mitty (Stiller) is a photo editor at Life magazine who is desperate to transcend the tedium of reality. He is heckled by colleagues and enamored with a sultry brunette (Kristen Wiig). A grizzled Sean Penn beckons him from a black-and-white photograph, and fantastical excursions involving helicopters and stormy seas follow.

1 thought on “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

  1. This is also one of my favorite Thurber stories along with “The Unicorn In the Garden”. Should be interesting to see Stiller’s interpretation. It’s been many years since I’ve seen the 1947 Danny Kaye movie (with Boris Karloff and Virginia Mayo) and it was funny.

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