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
Some songs that were written but not heard in the film are "I Live To Love" (sung by Danny Kaye to Angela Lansbury when he swings into her bedroom) and an extended "Pass the Basket" number when Kaye appears before the King (just prior to the famous "Maladjusted Jester"). Both songs were, however, recorded and released on the film's companion record. See more »
During the "They'll Never Outfox the Fox" number Hawkins finds a "most wanted" poster of the Black Fox. At 9:44 he begins ripping the paper and handing the pieces to his circus friends. On the first rip, the foley work is behind the action, so we don't hear the first rip until after Hawkins has started to tear it. On the third "rip", although we hear the sound of the rip, the paper does not actually tear. 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 »
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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