Ventriloquist Jerry Morgan has to see another love affair fail. The reason: when the relationship reaches the point when it is time to discuss marriage, his doll Clarence becomes mean and ...
See full summary »
An illiterate stooge in a traveling medicine show wanders into a strange town and is picked up on a vagrancy charge. The town's corrupt officials mistake him for the inspector general whom ... See full summary »
Hypochondriac Danny Weems gets drafted into the army and makes life miserable for his fellow GIs. He's also lovesick when it comes to pretty Mary Morgan, unaware that she's in love with his... See full summary »
Loring "Red" Nichols is a cornet-playing country boy who goes to New York in the 1920s full of musical ambition and principles. He gets a job playing in Wil Paradise's band, but quits to ... See full summary »
Barbara Bel Geddes,
Ventriloquist Jerry Morgan has to see another love affair fail. The reason: when the relationship reaches the point when it is time to discuss marriage, his doll Clarence becomes mean and jealous. His fiancée Audrey leaves him and Jerry smashes his two dolls, Clarence and Terrence. Morgan's doll maker Papinek is a member of a spy ring who has stolen secret plans to the top secret Lafayette airplane. Since Morgan is leaving for Zurich the same night, Papinek decides to use Morgan's dolls as a mailbox and hides the secret plans in the heads of the dolls. Another secret spy ring also wants to get their hands on Jerry's luggage and they *also* follow him. Eventually, Jerry is chased by both these organizations as well as the police, who suspects him of murder. Written by
Although set in London, the film was mostly made on Hollywood studio sets. However, a second unit was sent to London to film backgrounds, and in these scenes a double was used for Danny Kaye, mostly filmed from behind or from a distance. The double was in fact a well-known British actor and comedian, Jon Pertwee. This may account for the fact that a character called "Sir Pertwee" appears in Kaye's subsequent film "The Court Jester", also made by the team of Melvin Frank and Norman Panama. See more »
Danny Kaye's character turns a corner on Oxford Street and appears on Ludgate Hill, a mile away. See more »
There is a scene in KNOCK ON WOOD in which Danny Kaye, trying to escape from the London police, finds himself backstage during an overly dramatic Russian ballet, and soon enough, is onstage, heavy-footedly trying to blend into the scene without being spotted by the police in the audience. The result is the single best spoof of ballet the live side of animation (with "Dance of the Hours" in FANTASIA being its cartoon match). I actually saw Danny Kaye do this routine onstage at the Palace Theatre in New York where, great though it was, the closeups provided by the movie camera make the film version even more hilarious. Kaye is one of the most underrated actors of all time. This movie shows his brilliance and range. His facial expressions are as brilliantly comic as Sid Caesar's, and the two of them leave the rest of the pack far behind. (Is Robin Williams a distant third?)
KNOCK ON WOOD is uneven. It's not the most perfectly realized Kaye film--that honor goes either to SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY or COURT JESTER. The latter, being a musical, maybe is the best. COURT JESTER is overall funnier than KNOCK ON WOOD, but no scene in it comes close to the ballet spoof.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?