Knock on Wood

Knock on Wood

1.5 2
Director: Melvin Frank, Norman Panama

Cast: Danny Kaye, Mai Zetterling

     
 

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With the exception of the brilliant The Court Jester, Knock on Wood must rank as the best of Danny Kaye's movie vehicles. Capitalizing on the star's recent successful engagement in London, the film casts Kaye as a neurotic American ventriloquist performing in England and Europe. In a parody of the 1946 thriller Dead of Night, Kaye is unable toSee more details below

Overview

With the exception of the brilliant The Court Jester, Knock on Wood must rank as the best of Danny Kaye's movie vehicles. Capitalizing on the star's recent successful engagement in London, the film casts Kaye as a neurotic American ventriloquist performing in England and Europe. In a parody of the 1946 thriller Dead of Night, Kaye is unable to control the words coming out of his dummy, resulting in a near-nervous breakdown. On the advice of his manager (David Burns), Kaye seeks out the help of a psychiatrist, who turns out to be beautiful Mai Zetterling. But first, he heads to a local repair shop to pick up one of his dummies. What Kaye doesn't know is that a set of stolen blueprints for a top-secret weapon have been secreted into his dummy's head. Before he knows what's happening, our hero is up to his ears in spies, counterspies, and corpses. Falsely accused of murder, Kaye spends the rest of the film adopting one disguise after another to elude both the authorities and the various enemy agents roaming about. Filled to overflowing with musical and comedy highlights, Knock on Wood includes the famous "under the table" bit wherein Kaye finds himself literally between two warring spy factions, and a climactic ballet sequence reminiscent of (and superior to) the comic-opera finale of Kaye's Wonder Man (1945). And of course, the audience is treated to the tongue-twisting patter songs written for Kaye by his wife Sylvia Fine.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
One of Danny Kaye's most enjoyable vehicles, Knock on Wood would be an even better picture if it were slightly more consistent. As with many comedies of this type, Wood is essentially a premise upon which a number of gags, routines and situations have been hung. A couple of these don't pay off, which combined with the film's needing about fifteen minutes to find its footing, keeps Wood from being absolutely first rate on the whole. But it's still undeniably hood fun, and when it hits its high points it really and truly soars. Chief among those high points is the hilarious, can't-miss ballet sequence (choreographed to a fare-thee-well by Michael Kidd), which certainly takes full advantage of Kaye's unique physical talents in numerous ways. There's also one of his patented tongue-twisting patter songs, this one telling the tale of one Irishman by the name of "Monahan O'Han," that scores a bull's eye, and a marvelous under-the-table sequence that demonstrates the comedian's skillful timing. As an added treat, there's an obscure but quite lovely little ballad called "All About You" that sticks in the head long after viewing. Throw in a young and quite beautiful Mai Zetterling and some solid comic support, and Wood emerges an engagingly fun, if very silly, way to pass the time.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/28/2010
UPC:
0887090024907
Original Release:
1954
Rating:
NR
Source:
Olive Films
Region Code:
1
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono]
Time:
1:43:00
Sales rank:
26,560

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Danny Kaye Jerry Morgan / Papa Morgan
Mai Zetterling Ilse Nordstrom
Torin Thatcher Langston
David Burns Marty Brown
Leon Askin Gromeck
Abner Biberman Papinek
Gavin Gordon Car Salesman
Otto Waldis Brodnik
Steven Geray Dr. Kreuger
Diana Adams Princess
Patricia Denise Mama Morgan
Virginia Huston Audrey
Paul England Chief Inspector Wilton
Johnstone White Langston's Secretary
Henry Brandon 2nd Trenchcoat Man
Lewis Martin Inspector Cranford
Eric Wilton Doorman
Carl Milletaire 1st Trenchcoat Man
Phil Tully Irishman
Philip Van Zandt Brutchik
Christopher Olsen Danny Jr
John Alderson Bobby
Helen Dickson Woman in Shower
Noel Drayton Little Man
Helen Chapman Zelda
Genevieve Aumont Airline Stewardess
Alphonse Martell Policeman
Donald Lawton French Stage Manager
Rex Evans Customer
Kenneth Hunter Old Man
Winifred Harris English Woman

Technical Credits
Melvin Frank Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Norman Panama Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Henry Bumstead Art Director
Sam Comer Set Decoration/Design
Francisco Day Asst. Director
Daniel L. Fapp Cinematographer
Sylvia Fine Score Composer
John P. Fulton Special Effects
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Michael Kidd Choreography
Alma Macrorie Editor
Ray Moyer Set Decoration/Design
Hal Pereira Art Director
Victor Young Musical Direction/Supervision

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Knock on Wood
1. Opening [:16]
2. Midnight Flight [13:51]
3. The Shrink [20:12]
4. Second Blueprint [18:58]
5. Murder! [11:00]
6. On the Run [10:58]
7. Espionage [9:52]
8. Princess Baya [10:11]

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