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 ...
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Jacobowsky, a Jewish refugee, flees from the Nazis with an aristocratic, anti-semitic Polish officer trying to get papers to England. Jurgens learns to appreciate Kaye, despite their ... 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,
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 »
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 (1955), 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 »
[noticing recognition between Jerry and Ilse]
You two know each other?
Uh, no, not really. We slept in the same room last night. Uh... Uh, I-I mean... Uh, but I mean, we took a shower together. Uh, actually, we've never been actually introduced.
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The sequence in this film where Danny Kaye lands on the stage of an balletic opera in progress has got to rank up there with the funniest single scenes in motion picture history. The spoof is as spot-on as the "Fantasia" spoof of opera in the "Dance of the Hours" sequence. It's hard to explain how the previous reviewer thought the new-car-with-gadgets scene was the funniest; actually, it's the most dated, and "Knock on Wood" would be better off without it. The story is a wicked satire on espionage agents, with Danny caught up unawares in the center of an international spy ring. There's also a love story reminiscent of "Walter Mitty", but this is the funnier film of the two. Danny Kaye is one of the most underrated actors of all time. His facial expressions--conveying what he thinks, which is often opposite to what he or the other characters are saying--is like a second voice carrying the humor line. It's so well done that it seems mundane to people who are not on the lookout for it. Only Sid Caesar, of all the comics in American history, including Chaplin and the other silent greats, used his facial expressions to the supreme comic effect that Danny Kaye achieved. I might even rank Caesar above Kay, but unfortunately Caesar did not get any good movie roles. (Mel Brooks wanted him for "The Producers," and it would have become THE best comedy of all time if he had landed him, but some busybody associate producer hated Caesar and so he nixed the deal. How sad.) If I were pressed to choose among Danny Kaye's films, I guess I would choose "The Court Jester" above "Knock on Wood," in terms of all-round satisfaction. Yet the ballet spoof in "Knock on Wood" surpasses any single scene in "The Court Jester." If you never see it, you'll never know how funny a thing can be.
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