Knock on Wood (1954)

Passed   |    |  Comedy


Knock on Wood (1954) Poster

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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6.9/10
839

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  • Danny Kaye and Mai Zetterling in Knock on Wood (1954)
  • 9193-1 "Knock On Wood" Bob Hope visiting Danny Kaye on the set 1955 Paramount
  • Danny Kaye and Mai Zetterling in Knock on Wood (1954)
  • Danny Kaye and Mai Zetterling in Knock on Wood (1954)
  • Danny Kaye and Torin Thatcher in Knock on Wood (1954)
  • Mai Zetterling in Knock on Wood (1954)

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4 July 2004 | aadlaf
10
| One of the all-time funniest films.
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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