The essence of Danny Kaye's comedy is his frenzied performance. You may admire his perfect timing and his uncanny sense of musical pitch, but an un-frantic Danny Kaye would be no Danny Kaye at all. His frenzy is what distinguishes him from his fellow funny-men, and makes him superior to most of them; it is also the quality that makes him tiring, if not tiresome, after a short while.
All this is evident in his first movie "Up in Arms," which has just been re-released, Kaye is not particularly delightful during the lulls, and in his romantic scenes he looks like a little boy caught stealing cookies. But when the production numbers come along Kaye is vastly entertaining. His furious pace keeps him a little ahead of everyone. You can't think as fast as Danny Kaye can talk. This is what surprised and delighted movie audiences when "Up in Arms" came out during the war. It's not so much of a novelty now, but it is still highly amusing.
Kaye is indebted to his writers, Sylvia Fine and Max Liebman, for some fine material. His script makes full use of his abilities as a singer and a mimic. An excellent example of this is a scene in a movie lobby, in which Kaye careens down stairs, parodies dance steps and movie plots, while screaming lines like this screen credit list:
"Knick-knackery by Thackery,
Terpsichory by Dickery,
And Dickery by Dock!"
A lot of the scenario is out-dated, of course. One revolting scene shows the Goldwyn girls, dressed as WAC's, boarding a troop ship while a band in the background plays a marching song, rousing variety. But most of the way, this story of a hypochondriac in the Army is skillfully handled, from script-writer to Danny Kaye.