(1959)3Craig ButlerUndeniably schmaltzy, The Five Pennies still has a certain pull. Most viewers will wince and groan at its soap operatics every five minutes or so, and will probably find themselves saying, "That's enough." Yet they probably won't change the channel until the ridiculously over-the-top finale, and by then the whole picture will have passed anyway. Despite its heavy-handedness, Five Pennies is enjoyable and engrossing enough to keep one's attention. It is immeasurably aided by the generous helping of musical numbers that pervade the film; when one has Louis Armstrong on hand to perform "Bill Bailey Won't You Please Come Home" and "When the Saints Go Marching In," it's hard to complain too much about the scenes that frame them. Add in some expert horn work from the real Red Nichols, a couple of Danny Kaye "specialty" numbers, and a few smooth vocals from Bob Crosby and the strengths become clearer. Kaye's overall performance is quite good -- even managing to make use of the old cliché that a character's impotence is revealed through problems with his musicianship -- and Barbara Bel Geddes is warm and winning throughout. If viewers are prepared to make allowances for the blatant "tugging at the heartstrings" approach of the script, they'll probably have a pretty decent time.