This film has been compared to two different Cary Grant thrillers - Hitchcock's North by Northwest and Charade. Though the similarities with those two films are vaguely noticeable, the patterns from another classic movie are unmistakable. Knight and Day is chock full of references to the perennial classic The Wizard of Oz (1939).
Both films are about a female who is taken against her will on adventures far away from home.
Our protagonist in Oz, Dorothy (Judy Garland), lives in Kansas and dreams of an adventure somewhere else. Most of the film is about being away from her home state.
Dorothy's signature dress (the one that sold for nearly half a million dollars at auction fairly recently ) is in blue gingham and so is June's blouse when we first meet her. She spends a good 30 minutes of the film in that blouse.
Blue gingham in Kansas. How much more iconic can you get?
WHIRLING AROUND IN THE AIR
A tornado carries Dorothy's house from Kansas to the fantasy world of Oz, where her adventure begins.
In Knight and Day, a strange guy that June meets in the airport, Roy (Tom Cruise), has hijacked the plane which twists and turns as they rapidly descend. Her adventure begins.
Dorothy's house lands on and kills a villain.
By the time the plane lands in Knight and Day, there are corpses of several assassins in it. Roy has killed everyone except June.
SCARECROW IN THE CORNFIELD
One of Dorothy's friends in the land of Oz is a talking scarecrow in a cornfield.
To avoid the authorities, Roy needs to land the plane anywhere but at an airport. He chooses a cornfield. During the skidding, we get a gratuitous shot of a scarecrow flying into the plane's window.
TIN MAN/ KNIGHT IN SUIT OF ARMOR
Dorothy's second friend in Oz is a man made of tin.
The MacGuffin, the item that drives the plot in Knight and Day, is a perpetual battery which is housed inside a miniature replica of a knight in a suit of armor.
[I know what you're thinking. Is Dorothy's third friend, the cowardly lion, referenced in Knight and Day? He isn't. There are hairy men, but not one of them is a coward.]
The bulk of the plot centers around Dorothy and her new friends going to see the wonderful Wizard of Oz who can grant their every wish.
In Knight and Day, June and her new FBI/assassin "friends" are after a whiz kid who has made a potentially world-changing item - a perpetual battery.
In both films, once the leads initially reach the wizard's/whiz kid's lair, they do not see the actual guy behind it all face-to-face. Instead, there are instructions to send them on another wild goose chase.
Dorothy must follow the yellow brick road to get to the Wiz and return home.
FLYING MONKEYS/ ANONYMOUS SUSPENDED ASSASSINS
Both films make a point to send a group of anonymous henchman, darkly-clad and suspended in mid-air, to capture the lead characters. Oz sends flying monkeys; Knight sends trained assassins who rappel down into a New York warehouse.
The villain of Oz creates a poppy field in Dorothy's path to make her sleepy and zonk out before reaching her destination.
Both lead females awaken at home in bed wondering if their adventure was just a dream.
Knight and Day is not a full-on remake of Oz, but there are plenty of references to the latter film. Don't you just love discovering the work of other quirky, obsessive classic movie fans?
- Date Night (2010) vs. North by Northwest (1959) and The Out-of-Towners (1970).
- The Wizard of Oz(1939) vs. The Wiz (1978) Part 1
- The Wizard of Oz(1939) vs. The Wiz (1978) Part 2