Wonder Man Reviews

“Danny Kaye Scores Again With Role in ‘Wonder Man’”
Youngstown Vindicator – Dec. 12, 1945
By: Jane Lamb

Spoiler Alert!

This review contains a summary of the movie.
So if you haven’t seen Wonder Man and don’t want to know what happens,
only read the sections highlighted in yellow for reviews on Danny.

            “Wonder Man” has been a long time coming this way, but now that it’s at the Palace Theater it is a sure thing for keeping the local citizenry convulsed with chuckles and chortles. Perhaps it would be more accurate to narrow the generalities down to Danny Kaye, for this human dynamo is the show, and the title a well-put description of him.
Ever since Kaye appeared in the first full-length movie “Up in Arms,” his unique comedy deliver has been delighting increasing numbers of fans. His brilliant performance in “Wonder Man,” has brought cheers from the country’s severest critics who predict his becoming one of the country’s great comics. What he may lack in subtlety, he certainly makes up for in whirlwind energy and irresistible hilarity. And in “Wonder Man” he doubles the fun by playing identical twins.
            The twins are just about as different as two people can be. Buzzy Bellew is a fast-stepping night club entertainer whose popularity with the public is exceeded only by his own self applause. Edwin Dingle, on the other hand, is a shy scholar whose favorite haunt is the public library. The contrasts give evidence that Kaye has acting talents in addition to his assets as a comedian.
            After Buzzy has been murdered by a group of gangsters, he makes himself visible to his twin, tells him to avenge his death by turning over evidence to the district attorney. This requires that Edwin impersonate Buzzy by taking his place as dancer and entertainer at the nightclub. With Edwin protesting furiously, Buzzy devilishly takes over Edwin’s body, and since he can dominate Edwin at will, there are some unhappy moments for the shy twin. Especially when the irresponsible Buzzy doesn’t show up when he is supposed to.
            Edwin has further complications in his romantic troubles. For Buzzy is engaged to his dancing partner, and Edwin is interested in a pretty librarian (Virginia Mayo). Both of them are annoyed by the strange turn of events, while Edwin is hotly pursued by the thugs who are beginning to think they didn’t dump Buzzy in the river after all, and by the district attorney. Buzzy had promised to give evidence before his death, and when Edwin goes in his stead and Buzzy fails to help him out, the district attorney charges withholding of state’s evidence.
Kaye is his spectacular best as the impudent night club entertainer, but has a certain charm as the mild-mannered, and sheltered scholar. There is a generous number of sparkling Kaye sequences in which he impersonates an allergy-ridden Russian baritone, a bright little telephone scene in which he duplicates the noises of a pet shop, and a riotous finale when he becomes involved in the whirl of an opera performance, with frantic directions from the pit.
            Additional laughs are furnished by S. Z. Sakall, as proprietor of a delicatessen, where Edwin first hears the harp music that’s a preliminary to Buzzy’s irresistible call. [The first place Edwin hears the music is actually in the library not the delicatessen. – J.N., webmistress.]
            Among the high lights of the film is a production number in which Kaye performs a Bali Boogie dance with attractive Vera-Ellen, a diminutive dancing discovery.
            The story itself doesn’t have much that is unusual, but with Danny Kaye as the headline performer it is a breathlessly funny show.

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