S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Directed by Melvin Frank + Norman Panama
The film casts Danny Kaye as a neurotic American ventriloquist performing in Europe. In a parody of the 1946 thriller Dead of Night, Kaye is unable to control the words coming out of his dummy, resulting in a near-nervous breakdown. His manager and best friend (David Burns) orders him to see a famous psychiatrist in Zurich. What follows is a zany adventure involving secret weapons, international spies and the beautiful Mai Zetterling. This classic Danny Kaye comedy was written, produced and directed by the great team of Norman Panama and Melvin Frank (The Court Jester).
That bit in the pub, with him staggering among a chorus of lush
Hibernians and bawling his long-bowsprited head off to a song called "Monahan
O'Han" is a darling exercise in high-class kidding; and the way he demonstrates
a low-slung car with a mess of mechanical accessories is top-quality sight-gag
burlesque, considering the combination with it of his parody of a Britisher's
Theatrical Release: April 6th, 1954
DVD Review: Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC
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|Distribution||Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 7.46 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 1.0)|
Olive Films is handling another 50`s Paramount release. This appears to be a continuing trend - I enjoyed the three Noir films they released - Appointment With Danger, William Dieterle's Dark City and Rudolph Mate's Union Station as well as the enjoyable Hammer-esque sci-fi Crack in the World from the mid 60`s.
Like previous Olive Film DVDs this is both dual-layered, progressive and bare-bones. Knock on Wood is anamorphically transferred in the original 1.85 aspect ratio (actually 4% cropped for widescreen at 1.78). It looks grainy and there is some minor dirt showing. I had an unexplainable anomaly occur with, usually rectangular, blue flashes appearing (you can see less prominent examples in the 6th and 7th captures below). Being almost exclusively frame specific they weren't overly noticeable and I can't be sure they aren't solely on my DVD screener disc - but I have contacted Olive Films and informed them - so I would expect if it was a strange transfer defect it will be resolved before public release. I did obtain and post two samples of light scratches at the bottom of this review.
The unremarkable audio is flat mono but everything is consistent and dialogue clear. As stated there are no extras - not even a trailer or any subtitles.
Like most film fans I love the talented Danny Kaye. I frequently revisit The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - which is a favorite. I have never had the opportunity to see Knock on Wood before and it is similarly fabulous fun. He truly is a pioneer as a everyman clown in the vein of Dick van Dyke and, much later, Jim Carrey. Aside from the blue-flash anomaly the transfer is strong but there are no extras. If you are keen on the film you may find solid value in the enjoyable presentation - which, I believe, has never been offered on disc before.