Knock (play)

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Knock (French title: Knock ou le Triomphe de la médecine) is a French satire written in 1923 by Jules Romains. The play was presented for the first time in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on December 15, 1923, in a production starring Louis Jouvet.


The ambitious Dr. Knock arrives in the rural village of Saint-Maurice to succeed Dr. Parpalaid, an honorable man, but a physician with few patients. The people of the district are all in excellent health. Realizing that he was duped by his predecessor, Dr. Knock manages to convince everyone in good health that he or she needs medical care but does not know it.

"The Healthy are people who do not know that they are sick."

Knock begins offering free consultations to the townsfolk and diagnoses them with exotic maladies in order to prescribe treatment. His practice thrives as the townspeople turn into hypochondriacs. The result is inevitable. All the villagers take to their sickbeds and the hotel is transformed into a clinic. Even Dr. Parpalaid, who has returned, receives a "diagnosis" from Dr. Knock and takes to bed.


Titled Dr. Knock, the play was presented at the Peacock Theatre in Dublin in 1932, with set designs by the 16-year-old Orson Welles.[1]:106[2]:329

Film adaptations include the following:

A British television version for the BBC's Theatre 625 series was broadcast in 1966.


  1. ^ Callow, Simon, Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu. New York: Viking, 1996. ISBN 9780670867226
  2. ^ Welles, Orson, and Peter Bogdanovich, edited by Jonathan Rosenbaum, This is Orson Welles. New York: HarperCollins Publishers 1992 ISBN 0-06-016616-9.

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