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Knock on Wood Details


With the exception of the brilliant , must rank as the best of Danny Kaye's movie vehicles. Capitalizing on the star's recent successful engagement in London, the film casts Kaye as a neurotic American ventriloquist performing in England and Europe. In a parody of the 1946 thriller Kaye, Kaye is unable to control the words coming out of his dummy, resulting in a near-nervous breakdown. On the advice of his manager (David Burns), Kaye seeks out the help of a psychiatrist, who turns out to be beautiful Mai Zetterling. But first, he heads to a local repair shop to pick up one of his dummies. What Kaye doesn't know is that a set of stolen blueprints for a top-secret weapon have been secreted into his dummy's head. Before he knows what's happening, our hero is up to his ears in spies, counterspies, and corpses. Falsely accused of murder, Kaye spends the rest of the film adopting one disguise after another to elude both the authorities and the various enemy agents roaming about. Filled to overflowing with musical and comedy highlights, includes the famous "under the table" bit wherein Kaye finds himself literally between two warring spy factions, and a climactic ballet sequence reminiscent of (and superior to) the comic-opera finale of Kaye's Mai Zetterling (1945). And of course, the audience is treated to the tongue-twisting patter songs written for Kaye by his wife Sylvia Fine. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Awarded by
Directors Guild of America Melvin Frank Best Director 1954 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Melvin Frank Best Story and Screenplay 1954 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Norman Panama Best Director 1954 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Norman Panama Best Story and Screenplay 1954 Nominee


Danny Kaye
as Jerry Morgan / Papa Morgan
Mai Zetterling
as Ilse Nordstrom
Torin Thatcher
as Langston
Leon Askin
as Gromeck
Abner Biberman
as Papinek
Gavin Gordon
as Car Salesman
Otto Waldis
as Brodnik
Steven Geray
as Dr. Kreuger
Diana Adams
as Princess
Patricia Denise
as Mama Morgan
Virginia Huston
as Audrey
Paul England
as Chief Inspector Wilton
Johnstone White
as Langston's Secretary
Henry Brandon
as 2nd Trenchcoat Man
Eric Wilton
as Doorman
Carl Milletaire
as 1st Trenchcoat Man
Phil Tully
as Irishman
Philip Van Zandt
as Brutchik
Christopher Olsen
as Danny Jr
John Alderson
as Bobby
Noel Drayton
as Little Man
Genevieve Aumont
as Airline Stewardess
Alphonse Martell
as Policeman
Donald Lawton
as French Stage Manager
Rex Evans
as Customer
Kenneth Hunter
as Old Man
Winifred Harris
as English Woman


Melvin Frank
Norman Panama
Norman Panama
Melvin Frank
Melvin Frank
Norman Panama
Daniel L. Fapp
Victor Young
Musical Direction/Supervision
Alma Macrorie
Henry Bumstead
Art Director
Hal Pereira
Art Director
Sam Comer
Set Designer
Ray Moyer
Set Designer
Edith Head
Costume Designer
John P. Fulton
Special Effects
Francisco Day
First Assistant Director
Michael Kidd

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