The Court Jester ()

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A hapless carnival performer masquerades as the court jester as part of a plot against an evil ruler who has overthrown the rightful king.

  • Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win.
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Cast verified as complete

Hubert Hawkins
Maid Jean
Sir Ravenhurst
Princess Gwendolyn
King Roderick I
Sir Griswold
Sir Locksley
Captain of the Guard
Noel Drayton ...
Black Fox
Sir Brockhurst
Lewis Martin ...
Sir Finsdale
Patrick Aherne ...
Sir Pertwee
Richard Kean ...
Hermine's Midgets ...
The Jackson Michigan Zouave Drill Team ...
Marching Knights - Knighthood Ceremony (as The American Legion Zouaves Of Richard F. Smith Post No. 29 Jackson Michigan)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
King's Man (uncredited)
Lee Belser ...
Court Lady (uncredited)
Chad Dee Block ...
Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
Leo Britt ...
Sir Bertram (uncredited)
Bill Cartledge ...
Pageboy (uncredited)
Phyllis Coghlan ...
Hairdresser (uncredited)
Tommy Cottonaro ...
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
Frank Delfino ...
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
Leslie Denison ...
Guard (uncredited)
Burnell Dietch ...
Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
Floyd Hugh Dixon ...
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
Irving Douglas ...
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
Alan Eric ...
Forester (uncredited)
Townsman (uncredited)
William Augustus Fuller ...
Forestry Officer (uncredited)
Irving Fulton ...
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
Russell Gaige ...
Chamberlain (uncredited)
Edward Gibbons ...
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
Richard Gilden ...
Forester (uncredited)
Forester (uncredited)
Roy G. Gunther ...
Pageboy (uncredited)
Kenneth Harp ...
Forester (uncredited)
Robert Hart ...
Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
Len Hendry ...
Guard (uncredited)
Black Fox's Man with Message (uncredited)
John Irving ...
Gate House Guard (uncredited)
Charles Irwin ...
Griswold Aide (uncredited)
James B. Jordan ...
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
Morgan Justin ...
Bit Part (uncredited)
Ray Kellogg ...
Court Official (uncredited)
King's Soldier (uncredited)
Mike Mahoney ...
Soldier (uncredited)
Roger Lee McKee ...
Knight Recruit (uncredited)
Frank Meservey ...
Knight Recruit (uncredited)
Lee Miller ...
Frank (uncredited)
Harry Monty ...
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
Knight (uncredited)
Nels P. Nelson ...
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
Paul Newlan ...
Soldier / Guard (uncredited)
John O'Malley ...
Courier / Announcer (uncredited)
Friar (uncredited)
Norman Papson ...
Page Boy (uncredited)
Novice Knight (uncredited)
Gerald R. Peters ...
Forester (uncredited)
Townsman (uncredited)
William Pullen ...
A.J. Buster Resmondo ...
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
'Little Billy' Rhodes ...
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
Ronald R. Rice ...
Knight Recruit (uncredited)
Thomas G. Royal Jr. ...
Forester (uncredited)
Wallace Russell ...
Forester (uncredited)
Joel Smith ...
Forestry Officer (uncredited)
Robert E. Smith ...
Priest / Forester / Guard (uncredited)
George Spotts ...
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
Gary Stalley ...
Infant (uncredited)
Larry Stalley ...
Infant (uncredited)
Ed Stoddard ...
Forester (uncredited)
Henry Lewis Stone ...
One of Hermine's Midgets (uncredited)
Trevor Ward ...
Bit Role (uncredited)
Leo Wheeler ...
Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
Claud Wuhrman ...
Knight (uncredited)
Stephen Wyman ...
Forester (uncredited)

Directed by

Melvin Frank
Norman Panama

Written by

Norman Panama ... (written by) and
Melvin Frank ... (written by)

Produced by

Melvin Frank ... producer
Norman Panama ... producer
Sylvia Fine ... executive producer (uncredited)
Danny Kaye ... executive producer (uncredited)

Music by

Walter Scharf ... (uncredited)
Vic Schoen ... (uncredited)

Cinematography by

Ray June ... director of photography: VistaVision
Ray Rennahan ... director of photography (uncredited)

Film Editing by

Tom McAdoo ... (edited by)

Art Direction by

Roland Anderson
Hal Pereira

Set Decoration by

Sam Comer
Arthur Krams

Costume Design by

Edith Head ... (costumes)
Yvonne Wood ... (costumes)

Makeup Department

Wally Westmore ... makeup supervisor
Willard Colee ... makeup artist (uncredited)
Gertrude Reade ... hair stylist (uncredited)

Production Management

Hugh Brown ... assistant production manager (uncredited)
Frank Caffey ... production manager (uncredited)
Charles Woolstenhulme ... unit production manager (uncredited)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

John R. Coonan ... assistant director (as John Coonan)
William Watson ... second unit director (as Wm. Watson)
Bernard McEveety ... second assistant director (uncredited)

Art Department

Carl Coleman ... props (uncredited)
Dorothea Holt ... illustrator (uncredited)
Joe Keller ... props (uncredited)
Lew Vasquez ... prop shop (uncredited)

Sound Department

John Cope ... sound recordist
Harry Lindgren ... sound recordist
A.H. Barnett ... production sound mixer (uncredited) / recordist (uncredited)
Doug Grant ... boom man (uncredited)
Bill Wistrom ... sound editor (uncredited)

Visual Effects by

Farciot Edouart ... process photography
John P. Fulton ... special photographic effects
Irmin Roberts ... special photographic effects


Eric Alden ... stunt double: Basil Rathbone (uncredited)
George Dockstader ... stunts (uncredited)
Richard Elmore ... stunts (uncredited)
Ralph Faulkner ... fencing double (uncredited)
Lila Finn ... stunt double: Glynis Johns (uncredited)
Bob Herron ... stunts (uncredited)
Allen Pinson ... stunt double: Danny Kaye (uncredited)
Clint Sharp ... stunt double: Danny Kaye (uncredited)

Camera and Electrical Department

Alfred Cline ... assistant camera (uncredited)
Howard Kelly ... gaffer (uncredited)
William Schurr ... camera operator (uncredited)
Joe Schuster ... electrician (uncredited)
Mike Semenario ... grip (uncredited)

Casting Department

Bert McKay ... casting (uncredited)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Bud Clark ... wardrobe: men (uncredited)
Hazel Hegarty ... wardrobe: women (uncredited)

Music Department

Sammy Cahn ... words and music
Sylvia Fine ... words and music
Vic Schoen ... conductor (as Victor Schoen) / music scored by (as Victor Schoen)
Gerard Carbonara ... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Van Cleave ... composer: title music (uncredited)
Franz Waxman ... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Victor Young ... composer: stock music (uncredited)

Other crew

D.R.O. Hatswell ... technical advisor
Hal C. Kern ... assistant to the producers
Richard Mueller ... technicolor color consultant
James Starbuck ... choreographer
Bea Allen ... dance assistant (uncredited)
Robert Alton ... choreographer (uncredited)
Elmer Bernstein ... dance rehearsal pianist (uncredited)
Wilda Bieber ... dance instructor (uncredited)
Patricia Casy ... dance rehearsal: ballet dancer (uncredited)
George Chakiris ... dance instructor (uncredited)
Ralph Faulkner ... fight choreographer (uncredited)
Alex Goudovitch ... dance assistant (uncredited)
Sam Ledner ... dance assistant (uncredited)
Gregor Marijan ... dance rehearsal: ballet dancer (uncredited)
Joe Marino ... dance rehearsal pianist (uncredited)
Bob McElwaine ... publicist (uncredited)
Tom Taylor ... double: Danny Kaye (uncredited)
Dorothy Yutzi ... script clerk (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies




Special Effects


Other Companies



Plot 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 Kathy Li

Plot Keywords
Taglines The Musical Romantic Adventure Of This Or Any Year! See more »
Parents Guide View content advisory »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • Le bouffon du roi (France)
  • El bufón de la corte (Spain)
  • El bufón del rey (Mexico)
  • Hovnarren (Sweden)
  • Hovinarri (Finland)
  • See more »
  • 101 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $4,000,000 (estimated)

Did You Know?

Trivia Danny Kaye's daughter, Dena Kaye, said for the rest of his life, when people recognized Danny in a restaurant, they would walk up and spout the entire "brew that is true" speech. See more »
Goofs When Hawkins is in Gwendolyn's chambers, the fur rug and the rose repeatedly change positions between shots. See more »
Movie Connections Featured in Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter (1982). See more »
Soundtracks The Maladjusted Jester See more »
Crazy Credits 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 »
Quotes Hawkins: I've got it! I've got it! The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true! Right?
Griselda: Right. But there's been a change: they broke the chalice from the palace!
Hawkins: They *broke* the chalice from the palace?
Griselda: And replaced it with a flagon.
Hawkins: A flagon...?
Griselda: With the figure of a dragon.
Hawkins: Flagon with a dragon.
Griselda: Right.
Hawkins: But did you put the pellet with the poison in the vessel with the pestle?
Griselda: No! The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon! The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true!
Hawkins: The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.
Griselda: Just remember that.
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