Knock on Wood Reviews

“Danny Kaye Mimicry Entertainment In “Knock on Wood”
The News and Eastern Townships Advocate – Nov. 4, 1954

            The business of impersonating famous people has long been a favorite stint of many great performers. Most comedians have a repertoire ranging from political notables to the hillbilly routines of cowboy stars. By and large these takeoffs are very well accepted by audiences everywhere but several years back a young comedian came over the horizon who gave the art of impersonation a new look. That man was the imitable clown Danny Kaye.
            Mr. Kaye’s forte was impersonations but not necessarily those of famed figures. What he did was mimic everyday people doing everyday tasks and needless to say he was an immediate hit. In his latest film, Paramount’s Technicolor comedy “Knock On Wood,” which is due to open next Sunday at the Imperial Theatre, Danny is up to his old tricks of the trade. In “Knock On Wood” Danny does some hilarious takeoffs on such characters as an English Plutocrat, a celebrated Irish tenor, a car salesman and a ballet dancer. All of this is of course in addition to his key role of a ventriloquist whose dummy talks back.
            As the highly successful voice thrower Danny does a routine that is in itself one of the most subtle fit and superb jobs ever flashed on a motion picture screen. He further proves his versatility by singing and dancing and romancing throughout the film’s entire entertaining proceedings. It is little wonder that Danny boy is rated as America’s most polished comedy performer.
            An hilarious film which co-stars lovely Swedish actress Mai Zetterling, “Knock On Wood” was written, produced and directed by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama and is a Paramount picture.

“Danny Kaye Featured Today at Bama In ‘Knock On Wood’”
The Tuscaloosa News – Sep. 5, 1954

This review also contains a summary of the movie.

           How funny can a film get? Well, local movie goers are about to get the answer to this pleasant question when Paramount’s brand new Danny Kaye comedy, “Knock On Wood,” opens today at the Bama Theatre. Already hailed as one of the best, funniest, rollicking, great, and what have you films of all time, the fun-fest frolic co-stars lovely Swedish actress Mai Zetterling and was filmed in color by Technicolor. In a phrase, “Knock On Wood” is an all-out assault on the funny bone.

            Naturally the main feature of the film is Danny Kaye in a role designed strictly for laughs. It is the first picture for Danny in years that allows him to indulge in sheer, uninhibited clowning and, needless to say, the inimitable Mr. Kaye takes full and hilarious advantage of this wonderful situation.

           The story by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, a multi-talented pair, who also directed and produced, has Danny boy as a famous ventriloquist who has to seek psychiatric aid when his dummy starts talking back to him. The doctor he consults turns out to be the beautiful Miss Zetterling. Danny promptly falls in love with her and at the same time gets himself involved with a group of international espionage agents.

           From here on the events become too riotous for words as Danny, caught in the midst of warfare between the two rival gangs of spies is accused of all the murdering they are practicing on one another. As a matter of fact, the police seek him as the “red-headed ripper.” In order to escape the police, elude the espionage agents and in turn romantically pursue his lithesome mind doctor, Danny assumes the disguise of such varied characters as a festive Irish tenor, an English plutocrat, a pompous automobile salesman and, in an hilarious climax, a Russian ballet dancer.

           Advance audiences report “Knock On Wood” to be one of the funniest motion pictures to ever rollick forth from the Hollywood horizon. It has music, laughs and some wonderful dance routines of the ballet genre which were devised by famed Broadway choreographer Michael Kidd, plus, of course, the colossal Kaye talent. All in all, “Knock On Wood” emerges as a delight that is eagerly awaited by everyone everywhere.

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