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The Heart of the King's Jester (1912)

The Jester falls in love with the Princess. The Princess cannot abide him and when he declares his love, she laughs derisively and points to the water of the fountain at which he is sitting... See full summary »

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Earle Williams ...
The King's Jester
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The Princess
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The King
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The Queen
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Storyline

The Jester falls in love with the Princess. The Princess cannot abide him and when he declares his love, she laughs derisively and points to the water of the fountain at which he is sitting, telling him to gaze into it and behold the reflection of his unattractive countenance. He recognizes the hopelessness of his suit, and when he discovers the Princess in tryst with the handsome young shepherd, the Jester is filled with jealous rage and at once notifies the King. The shepherd is arrested and brought to the King, who pronounces a sentence of death upon him. The Princess throws herself upon the neck of her lover and clings to him, while she implores her father to spare his life. The King's Jester is touched with remorse. He immediately sets about freeing the shepherd and helping the young couple to escape from the kingdom. He goes to the chamber of the Princess and tells her of his plans, then hastens with his dogs to the King's court, where he finds the young shepherd bound before ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Short | Drama

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Release Date:

3 January 1912 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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A Merryman Moping Mum
1 May 2012 | by See all my reviews

This short subject from Vitagraph concerns a jester who loves the king's beautiful daughter. He, however, dresses weird and has a hunchback, so she prefers a shepherd. The jester helps them escape and brokenhearted, he mopes.

It's a slow melodrama. The direction of the actors in this piece are very broad. Although Vitagraph was a leading studio at this point, it was Griffith at Biograph who got his actors to rein in their movements. However, while the actors (including Edith Storey and Earle Williams) are overwrought, the set is very well dressed and the frame's composition is filled, if not well to the modern eye, ornately. The proscenium arch frames the screen, but the unknown cinematographer works hard to split the screen in a sort of triptych effect, searching for ways to avoid irising to define the action.

The net result is a film that is not very successful, but still of some interest to the film historian, pointing the way towards advances in composition.


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