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The Court Jester (1955)

A hapless carnival performer masquerades as the court jester as part of a plot against an evil ruler who has overthrown the rightful king.
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ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny Kaye ... Hubert Hawkins
Glynis Johns ... Maid Jean
Basil Rathbone ... Sir Ravenhurst
Angela Lansbury ... Princess Gwendolyn
Cecil Parker ... King Roderick I
Mildred Natwick ... Griselda
Robert Middleton ... Sir Griswold
Michael Pate ... Sir Locksley
Herbert Rudley ... Captain of the Guard
Noel Drayton Noel Drayton ... Fergus
John Carradine ... Giacomo
Edward Ashley ... Black Fox
Alan Napier ... Sir Brockhurst
Lewis Martin Lewis Martin ... Sir Finsdale
Patrick Aherne Patrick Aherne ... Sir Pertwee
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Storyline

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 Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

SONGS! Where Walks My True Love -- Baby Let Me Take You Dreaming -- Life Could Not Better Be -- The Maladjusted Jester -- My Heart Knows A Lovely Song! -- Outfox The Fox See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 January 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Hofnarr See more »

Filming Locations:

Palos Verdes, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,200,000, 31 December 1956
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dena Enterprises See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

During Hawkins' sword fight with Ravenhurst, Hawkins cuts the candles in half with a swipe of his sword. As the candle pieces fall, the portions of the candles that remain appear to have been cut at an angle. As the scene cuts to Ravenhurst then back to Hawkins, the angle of the cut candles is gone and the candles appear level and to have been cut in half evenly. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Hawkins: 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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Crazy Credits

After the cast credits appear, Basil Rathbone's name slides onto the screen two more times, in large type used in ghost or horror films; and Danny Kaye each time knocks it off the screen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: A Family Matter (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Take You Dreaming
Performed by Danny Kaye
Written by Sammy Cahn and Sylvia Fine
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Never Outfoxed
24 April 2005 | by skallisjrSee all my reviews

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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