The throne of rightful king of England, the small babe with the purple pimpernel birthmark, has been usurped by the evil King Roderick. Only the Black Fox can restore the true king to the throne--and all he needs is the king's key to a secret tunnel. And while he's trying to steal it, someone has to change the king's diapers. The task falls to Hawkins, the gentlest member of the Fox's band. The Fox's lieutenant, Maid Jean, guards Hawkins and the babe while they travel, but when they meet the King's new jester on the road, they decide to initiate a daring plan for Hawkins to replace him, become an intimate at the court, and steal the key. So, humble Hawkins becomes Giacomo: the king of jesters and jester to the king. But things begin to get zany when the King's daughter falls for Giacomo, the King falls for Jean, people randomly sing what are supposed to be recognition codes, and a witch with very effective spells (and poison pellets) begins to interfere. Written by
The "flagon with a dragon" routine had an antecedent in the Bob Hope Paramount comedy Never Say Die (1939): "There's a cross on the muzzle of the pistol with the bullet and a nick on the handle of the pistol with the blank." The credits do not list any writers in common on the two films. See more »
During Hawkins' swordfight with Ravenhurst, Hawkins runs offscreen. When he does, his sword is clearly in his hand, but when he slides down the stairs, it's gone. See more »
Life could not better be / Better be, better be / It could not possibly / No sirrah, sir-rah, sirree! / Songs could not gayer be / Sound your do-re-o-mi, re-mi-fa-so-la-see, fa-la-la-la follow me! / Why be gloomy? / Cut thy nose off to spite thy face? / Listen to me / A nose is hard to replace! / Skies could not bluer be / Hearts in love truer be / I say for you or me / Life couldn't possibly, not even probably / Life couldn't possibly better be! Life could not better be / On a ...
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The opening credits are a musical number where Hawkins dances around the credits as they appear. This is also the manner of a medieval theatre where an actor serves as a prologue to introduce the story. See more »
IMHO, one of the top funny films. I saw it when it first came out, and we enjoyed it so much, we nearly bought tickets to see it again, right away.
There are so many high points in the film that listing them would put me over quota. A close relative who's nearly humorless to this day says, "Get it? Got it. Good," when she wants to underscore a point she's made. Once in a while, I'll mutter "The vessel with the pestle..." when things seem to be getting a tad complicated. The film has impacted me significantly.
The lyrics of some of the sings are really good. "The Malajusted Jester" seems like something out of a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta.
This is doubtless Danny Kaye's comedic magnum opus. It isn't a "must see" (what is?) but if you haven't seen it, you're missing a lot.
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