Wonder Man (1945)


Won an Oscar in 1946 for Best Effects, Special Effects

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Movie Trivia

Wonder Man is the second of Danny's films, and it did quite well at the box office and amongst critics. One particular review said that it "brought cheers from the country’s severest critics." In this film, Danny took a bold step up and played not only one role, but two. In fact, Danny played twins and, for all intents and purposes, acted opposite himself. He did a brilliant job displaying two distinct personalities and would later reprise this technique in other films such as On the Riviera and On the Double. Wonder Man is a wonderfully entertaining movie with an interesting plot. Danny's songs, written by his wife, are fun and amusing, especially "Otchi Tchorniya" in which Buzzy Bellew's ghost, inhabiting the body of his twin brother Edwin Dingle, portrays an allergy-ridden Russian singer attempting to sing a song. It's a hilarious routine! As an allergy-ridden person, I definitely found myself able to relate. At the end of the movie, Edwin, while attempting to run from some henchmen, accidentally winds up on stage in the middle of an Opera. He spots the District Attorney in the audience and attempts to sing his testimony to him in order to incriminate a murderer. The whole scene is another hilarious one. The other actors do a fine job, but it is definitely Danny that shines in this movie! And he certainly put a lot of work into it (as he usually did in all his movies). Danny went so far as to study various Operas. "Before I started burlesquing opera, I wanted to know a little bit about the subject. So I studied opera for several months, actually learning several operatic roles. From what I learned, I was then able to sing operatic gibberish that sounded close enough to the real thing to be funny, even to those people who understand opera." (The Danny Kaye Story pg 186)

Film Information

Filmed: July 13-17, Aug. 7 - Nov. 16, 1944; Jan. 18, Jan. 23, 1945

Released: June 8, 1945
(Koenig, David.
Danny Kaye: King of Jesters, pg 76)

This is Virginia Mayo’s second movie with Danny. The first was Up in Arms, although she was only a Goldwyn Girl at the time. As a result, this is her first starring role in a film, and her first starring role with Danny. She would make three more movies with him.

Steve Cochran (“Ten Grand” Jackson) was also in The Kid From Brooklyn and A Song Is Born.

Vera-Ellen (Midge Mallon) was also in The Kid From Brooklyn and White Christmas.

This is the first movie (of two) in which Virginia Mayo’s character calls Danny’s character a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (The second is The Kid From Brooklyn.)

In the park, when Edwin is talking to his brother’s ghost, he says, “It’s impossible. It must be an optical illusion. I can’t explain it but the whole thing is inconceivable.” During this line, Edwin walks in front of Buster (aka Buzzy), and if you pause the movie (or use slow-motion) you can get a good look at Danny’s stand-in, posing as Buster. (Approx. 28 minutes into the movie)


“Danny Kaye teaches Danny Kaye to Sing” - brief article about Wonder Man; Oct. 1944

“Fine Future Assured For Danny Kaye” - article about Wonder Man and Danny’s sudden fame; Aug. 1944

“Danny Kaye A One-Man Double Bill” - amusing interview with Danny on the set of Wonder Man; July 1944

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