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.  The Musical Romantic Adventure Of This Or Any Year!

ACTORS :  Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1955

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The Court Jester  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.

Never Outfoxed

The Court Jester  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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