The opening scene of the movie describes it best: "Once upon a time there lived in Denmark a great storyteller named Hans Christian Andersen. This is not the story of his life, but a fairy tale about the great spinner of fairy tales."
At the turn of the century, Duke and Chester, two vaudeville performers, go to Alaska to make their fortune. On the ship to Skagway, they find a map to a secret gold mine, which had been ... See full summary »
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 »
When Hubert and Maid Jean are nearing King Roderick's castle, Sir Ravenhurst and Sir Locksley watch their arrival through telescopes, an invention of the 17th century. See more »
During the opening credits, Danny Kaye dances around the credits while singing a song about the movie. The lyrics of the song relate to the credits. For instance, when the music credits go by he sings about the music and when the screenwriter credits go by he sings about the story. See more »
"The Court Jester" is a terrifically funny movie, with a wonderfully complicated comic/adventure story, memorable characters, and outstanding dialogue. It also offers a great showcase for star Danny Kaye's many talents.
The story is a nicely done comic version of the Robin Hood-type adventure tales. Kaye is one of a band of rebels hiding out in a forest, led by "The Black Fox", who are opposing an evil king who has usurped the throne. Their secret plan to restore the rightful king involves having Kaye impersonate the evil king's new court jester, so that he can gain the monarch's confidence. But even as the rebels plot, the king's own nobles are maneuvering for advantage amongst themselves, some with murderous intent. The question of whom the king's daughter should marry also comes into play. The early part of the film moves somewhat slowly as all of this is established, but then things get delightfully complicated, and the laughs and adventure both start coming quickly. There are several outstanding sequences, and a fittingly wild sword fight finale.
The cast is filled with outstanding actors - Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury, and many others - who make their characters entertaining and memorable. The dialogue is terrific, and the cast does justice to it every time. The story and the medieval setting also make a great showcase for Kaye's varied talents such as singing, dancing, role-playing, and his other comic gifts.
All of this makes "The Court Jester" a wonderful and timeless film, great comic entertainment done with exceptional skill and talent. Don't miss it.
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