The Kid from Brooklyn (1946)

Directed by Norman Z. McLeod, this is the story of milkman Burleigh Sullivan when accidentally knocks out Speed McFarlane, a champion boxer. The media heard the story and they even have photos to prove it. A boxing manager read the news and decided to train the unknown fighter from the streets.

“As a mousey milkman turned boxer by a freakish twist of fate and thrown in the ring with beetling bruisers whose passion appears to be to kill, Mr. Kaye has the best opportunity that he has yet had upon the screen to show his superior talent for broad and beguiling burlesque. And he takes full advantage of it in classically clownish style. Not since Charlie Chaplin made his several turns in the ring has such a bewildered boxer been seen upon the screen—well, unless you include Harold Lloyd in “The Milky Way,” on which this film was also based.In the bright glare of Technicolor arc-lights and under the withering gaze of ranks of roaring fans, Mr. Kaye gives assorted demonstrations of precisely how not to box. At first he is the terrified tornado slithering wildly along the ropes, groping in desperation to get away from the murder that seems bent. And then, after several dour opponents have secretly “gone into the tank” at the behest of Mr. Kaye’s nefarious manager, he puffs up with bellicosity. Around and around he dances with nimble and complicated grace, jabbing his dukes and generally mugging like a super-charged Maxie Baer. Of course, comes the final disillusion when he faces the uncorrupted champ! Mr. Kaye in these scenes is funnier (for our money) than he has ever been.Not to slight him, however, of a full go at that brand of erratic mimicry for which he is uniquely famous, Mr. Goldwyn has given him a chance to do a thing called “Pavlova,” a musical fable about ballet. And although it is not too smartly written, Mr. Kaye knocks it off frenetically. The pride of the night clubs and the soirées is capably demonstrated here, but it looks as though Danny is destined to tend toward the slapstick on the screen. Let’s hope, though, that he will keep some vestige of the polished and piquant pantaloon.Unhappily, there must come moments when Mr. Kaye is not on the screen and those are the moments in this picture when the pace perceptibly drags. Mr. Goldwyn has tried to correct this with the not unaccelerating charms of Vera-Ellen, Virginia Mayo and a phalanx of gorgeous Goldwyn girls. But despite Vera-Ellen’s racy dancing in a trick number to “Hey, What’s Your Name?” and in a flowery bouquet called “Josie”—and despite Miss Mayo’s two pretty songs—the show hits a lower, routine level when Mr. Kaye isn’t anywhere to be seen. Even the low-comedy cut-ups of Walter Abel. Lionel Stander and Eve Arden fail to inflate the blithesome spirit when they aren’t conjoined with Mr. Kaye.In short, the show is uneven. But then, what could you expect? Science and Mr. Goldwyn haven’t yet found a balance for Danny Kaye.As a mousey milkman turned boxer by a freakish twist of fate and thrown in the ring with beetling bruisers whose passion appears to be to kill, Mr. Kaye has the best opportunity that he has yet had upon the screen to show his superior talent for broad and beguiling burlesque. And he takes full advantage of it in classically clownish style. Not since Charlie Chaplin made his several turns in the ring has such a bewildered boxer been seen upon the screen—well, unless you include Harold Lloyd in “The Milky Way,” on which this film was also based.In the bright glare of Technicolor arc-lights and under the withering gaze of ranks of roaring fans, Mr. Kaye gives assorted demonstrations of precisely how not to box. At first he is the terrified tornado slithering wildly along the ropes, groping in desperation to get away from the murder that seems bent. And then, after several dour opponents have secretly “gone into the tank” at the behest of Mr. Kaye’s nefarious manager, he puffs up with bellicosity. Around and around he dances with nimble and complicated grace, jabbing his dukes and generally mugging like a super-charged Maxie Baer. Of course, comes the final disillusion when he faces the uncorrupted champ! Mr. Kaye in these scenes is funnier (for our money) than he has ever been.Not to slight him, however, of a full go at that brand of erratic mimicry for which he is uniquely famous, Mr. Goldwyn has given him a chance to do a thing called “Pavlova,” a musical fable about ballet. And although it is not too smartly written, Mr. Kaye knocks it off frenetically. The pride of the night clubs and the soirées is capably demonstrated here, but it looks as though Danny is destined to tend toward the slapstick on the screen. Let’s hope, though, that he will keep some vestige of the polished and piquant pantaloon.Unhappily, there must come moments when Mr. Kaye is not on the screen and those are the moments in this picture when the pace perceptibly drags. Mr. Goldwyn has tried to correct this with the not unaccelerating charms of Vera-Ellen, Virginia Mayo and a phalanx of gorgeous Goldwyn girls. But despite Vera-Ellen’s racy dancing in a trick number to “Hey, What’s Your Name?” and in a flowery bouquet called “Josie”—and despite Miss Mayo’s two pretty songs—the show hits a lower, routine level when Mr. Kaye isn’t anywhere to be seen. Even the low-comedy cut-ups of Walter Abel. Lionel Stander and Eve Arden fail to inflate the blithesome spirit when they aren’t conjoined with Mr. Kaye.In short, the show is uneven. But then, what could you expect? Science and Mr. Goldwyn haven’t yet found a balance for Danny Kaye.” according to Bosley Crowther from the New York Times.