Weak-kneed and fumbling GI Ernie Williams (Danny Kaye) impersonates a one-eyed English general in 1944 and becomes the victim of a Nazi assassination plot.
Ernie discovers there is some recompense for his self-afflicted predicament. It is the general’s wife, Lady Margaret (Dana Wynter) who also discovers a romantic preference.
Both as super-nervous Ernie and as imperious General Sir Lawrence MacKenzie-Smith, Danny Kaye is magnificent.
MacKenzie-Smith is the master planner of the campaign to open the Allies’ second front in the Second World War.
Thus, on taking the part of the general, Ernie is troubled by the burden of the planning as well as the irksome fact of the assassination plot.
He survives several ingenious assassination attempts, the attentions of his driver Sgt Bridget Stanhope (Diana Dors), and a regimental party roused to furious action by the general’s aunt, Lady Vivian, played by Margaret Rutherford.
On The Double marked a welcome return to the form of Kaye’s earlier comedies, affording him many opportunities to display his talents both as a comic and a mimic.
Wilfrid Hyde-White is very good and very funny as Colonel Somerset, the head of British intelligence. Margaret Rutherford is hilarious as Lady Vivian, and Diana Dors excels as Sgt. Bridget Stanhope. The rest of the supporting cast is excellent.
Made in Technicolor and Panavision, the film was a Dena-Capri production directed by Melville Shavelson and released by Paramount.
Pfc. Ernie Williams/General Sir Lawrence MacKenzie-Smith
Lady Margaret MacKenzie-Smith
Sergeant Bridget Stanhope
Corporal Joseph Praeger
Colonel Rock Houston
Sergeant Colin Twickenham
Terence de Marney
General Carleton Brown Wiffingham