Knock on Wood (1954)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Action Comedy  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

One of Danny Kaye's most enjoyable vehicles, Knock on Wood would be an even better picture if it were slightly more consistent. As with many comedies of this type, Wood is essentially a premise upon which a number of gags, routines and situations have been hung. A couple of these don't pay off, which combined with the film's needing about fifteen minutes to find its footing, keeps Wood from being absolutely first rate on the whole. But it's still undeniably hood fun, and when it hits its high points it really and truly soars. Chief among those high points is the hilarious, can't-miss ballet sequence (choreographed to a fare-thee-well by Michael Kidd), which certainly takes full advantage of Kaye's unique physical talents in numerous ways. There's also one of his patented tongue-twisting patter songs, this one telling the tale of one Irishman by the name of "Monahan O'Han," that scores a bull's eye, and a marvelous under-the-table sequence that demonstrates the comedian's skillful timing. As an added treat, there's an obscure but quite lovely little ballad called "All About You" that sticks in the head long after viewing. Throw in a young and quite beautiful Mai Zetterling and some solid comic support, and Wood emerges an engagingly fun, if very silly, way to pass the time.