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Knock on Wood

Knock on Wood(1954)

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Norman Panama and Melvin Frank's onscreen credit reads: "Written, produced and directed by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank." The film opens with voice-over narration describing the French's top secret project and the two enemy agents charged with stealing its plans. According to a November 16, 1952 New York Times item, Panama, Frank and star Danny Kaye formed Dena Productions specifically to make Knock on Wood. Moira Shearer was mentioned as a possible co-star in the item, while Deborah Kerr was announced as a likely leading lady in a November 1952 Los Angeles Times item. As noted in a December 1953 This Week Magazine article, Kaye finally chose Swedish film star Mai Zetterling after he saw her in a play in London. Knock on Wood was Zetterling's first American film. According to a January 1953 Los Angeles Times item, Panama and Frank traveled to London to cast members of the Sadler's Wells Ballet company in the picture, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
       Although early production news items announced that the film was to be made in Europe, it was shot entirely in Hollywood. A March 1953 Hollywood Reporter item announced that the picture would be filmed in widescreen 3-D, but it was released only in widescreen. As noted in a July 23, 1953 Hollywood Reporter news item, production shut down temporarily after Pat Denise, who plays Kaye's mother in the picture, suffered "severe leg injuries" during filming. According to a July 1953 Daily Variety item, Kaye's onscreen dummies were designed using photographs of Kaye as a child. The dummies were fitted with a full set of plastic teeth, installed by dental technician Glen Cargyle, and their toupees were made by Max Factor, according to the Daily Variety item. For their work on the film, Panama and Frank were nominated for an Academy Award (Writing, Story and Screenplay) and for a WGA award.