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Knock on Wood (1954)

Passed | | Comedy | July 1954 (USA)
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 »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny Kaye ... Jerry Morgan / Papa Morgan / Clarence
Mai Zetterling ... Dr. Ilse Nordstrom
Torin Thatcher ... Godfrey Langston
David Burns David Burns ... Marty Brown
Leon Askin ... Laslo Gromeck
Abner Biberman ... Maurice Papinek
Gavin Gordon ... Car Salesman
Otto Waldis ... Brodnik
Steven Geray ... Dr. Kreuger
Diana Adams Diana Adams ... Princess Maya
Patricia Denise Patricia Denise ... Mama Morgan
Virginia Huston ... Audrey Greene
Paul England Paul England ... Chief Inspector Wilton
Johnstone White ... Langston's Secretary
Henry Brandon ... Second Trenchcoat Man
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Storyline

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 Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The No. 1 Song-and-Dance Clown at his best!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

July 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Lachbombe See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dena Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

Danny Kaye's character turns a corner on Oxford Street and appears on Ludgate Hill, a mile away. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Kreuger: [noticing recognition between Jerry and Ilse] You two know each other?
Jerry Morgan: 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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Big Time Operators (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Knock on Wood
(1953) (uncredited)
Written by Sylvia Fine
Sung by Danny Kaye and danced by him and Patricia Denise
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the all-time funniest films.
4 July 2004 | by aadlafSee all my reviews

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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