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Knock on Wood

4.4 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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(Sep 28, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

A ventriloquist with a rude dummy sees a London psychiatrist and winds up chased by spies.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Danny Kaye, Mai Zetterling
  • Directors: Norman Panama, Melvin Frank
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 28, 2010
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003UMW67K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,958 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Knock on Wood" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Danny Kaye is at his zaniest and best in the 1954 comedy Knock on Wood. Knock on Wood stars Danny Kaye and Mai Zetterling. Other actors in the film include Torin Thatcher, David Burns, and Leon Askin. The film was written and directed by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, with wonderful songs by Danny Kaye's wife, Sylvia Fine.

Jerry Morgan (Kaye) is a ventriloquist who is having trouble with his love life: just when his relationship with his girlfriend gets around to marriage, his dummy turns jealous and spoils everything. Jerry's manager is so distraught; that he threatens to quit unless Jerry sees a psychiatrist, Enter Ilse Nordstrom, played by Zetterling, who tries to help Kaye find the source of his problem. The chemistry between Kaye and Zetterling throughout the movie is wonderful. The two of them eventually fall in love.

At the same time, Jerry becomes unwittingly mixed up with international spies, danger and intrigue, while he runs from the police. In his escape, Kaye does a funny impersonation of a British car salesman, trying to demonstrate a new convertible loaded with lots of bells and whistles. Later on, he finds himself trapped on stage in the middle of the performance of an exotic ballet. This is Danny Kaye at his best!
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Danny Kaye has always been a family favorite, and this movie is a gem. Storyline has been well covered, so I won't go there. We have had it in VHS recorded from AMC years ago (back when they were American Movie Classics) and it has seen plenty of use. We are thrilled to have it in DVD format, but wish it had been a studio release with better treatment. As mentioned in another review, it is in 1.85:1 aspect ratio and there are no extras here, not even closed captioning.
In spite of all that, I am glad that it was released at all as a regular DVD (not DVD-R, as so many classics are these days). Some have mentioned their concern that it may be a bad transfer, as they saw in "Inspector General". I had a bad copy of that once (remember that it was in the public domain and people could get away with releasing it in any form of garbage) and this is a much better quality than that was, though not as sharp and crisp as if it had been digitally remastered.
If Paramount wasn't prepared to do anything with it, then I am grateful Olive Films at least made it available to us. I'd rather have this classic than not, even if it isn't as good as it possibly could be. The movie gets 5 stars, the DVD gets 4, so if I could average the package I would give it 4 1/2 stars.
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Released before "The Court Jester", "Knock on Wood" ranks along with that aforementioned film as one of Danny Kaye's best movies. A classic which hasn't seen the light of day in ages, it is happily coming to DVD. As a ventriloquist caught up in intrigue with stunning Mai Zetterling (what a name!), fans can watch wide-eyed Danny try out funny dialects, double-talking dialogue and weasel in & out of danger as only Kaye could do it.
Those who've already seen all the classic comedy bits but have had to wait to see them again, rejoice; those who are being introduced to the film for the first time, you're in for a real treat!
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A brilliant spoof on Spies and Murder with Danny Kaye at his best as an uncertain and confused ventriloquist. The DVD was long missing from Amazon's list which was unfortunate. Here is Danny Kaye now the versatile singer, dancer, actor and showman mimicking an Englishman and a Russian dancer as he falls in love with his shrink after some really funny episodes. A movie one can easily watch more than once.
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I saw this movie when it was released in what seems a long time ago now. The song that Danny sang in the Tap Dancing scene stayed in my memory and the scene with him under the table had me hysterical when I first saw it. I bought the DVD as sort of nostalgia but my wife and I still had a good laugh when we watched it together. I always thought of it as one of Danny's classics.
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What more can be said about Danny Kaye? So many reviewers have stated that he is one the most underrated actors of all time. I had no idea that he was so underrated until I started looking for his films on DVD. WHAT'S THE DAEL? REALLY? They're either out of print or not available, I don't get it. I grew up watching his old films on TV and have a lot of them still on VHS, and decided it was time to start getting the DVDs. He's one of (if not thee) greatest talents in film history. I read an article this year that stated his daughter was excited about all of his films being released... where are they? "Knock on Wood" is perhaps my favorite Danny Kaye film, it's great fun and he does some of his best work here (and everyone loves a mystery, right?) As far as I can tell, this Olive Films DVD is the only one available (Olive has a Blu-Ray as well, but I haven't seen it.) I'm grateful to have this film on DVD regardless of the quality, it is 1.85:1 widescreen and the sound is clear - however the picture is washed out and faded, with color blobs and blotches here and there. However it's watchable for me, and I'm not too bothered by the print, but let's face it, this film (as well as Kaye) deserves a full restoration. I have a full-screen copy I taped off of AMC in the 90's that has a bright clear picture, however the sound is so muffled on that print that I have to crank up the midrange on my EQ all the way - but there has to be a good print out there somewhere. Pick this up if you love Kaye, but don't expect a perfect picture.
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