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court-jester-review

THE COURT JESTER (1955)

When the rightful heir to the England throne — marked by the pimpernel birthmark - is usurped by the evil King Roderick, the Black Fox is sent to restore the babe's rightful place as future King of England. In need of the key to the King's secret tunnel, the Fox goes in search of the covetous treasure while Hawkins is left in charge of changing the King's diapers, and Maid Jean is charged as guardian of the traveling quartet. Along the way, however, they meet the King's new Court Jester, the quartet devises a plan that has Hawkins traveling in the guise of Giacomo: "the king of jesters and jester to the King."

The perfect cast includes: Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury, and Cecil Parker.

Written, produced and directed by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank.

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This classic, 1955, witty musical/comedy is a "spectacular production, which not only features the tremendous pageantry and color of 12th century England," but also serves as a perfect showcase for "the considerable talents" of the great comedic actor, Danny Kaye, who is at his very best.

In the beginning of the story, Hubert Hawkins (Danny Kaye) has joined the Black Fox's rebel band, who are taking care of the surviving infant heir to the throne, and are trying to overthrow the evil king, who had killed all the other royal family members, in order to become king. Kaye and the female captain, Maid Jean,(Glynis Johns), that he takes orders from, have fallen in love, and are really motivated to help the rightful king back to his rightful place quickly, so they can have a life together, sooner than 20 years.

They hatch a plan for Kaye's character takes the place of Giacamo, the Jester (John Carradine) in order to gain access to the castle, with the quest of getting from another unknown rebel, Fergus, already in the castle, the key to the underground passage, that leads to the forest, in order to gain open access to the castle for the rebels. However, as it is with a lot of well-made plans, things go wrong, which create clever plot twists, misunderstandings, and humorous situations for all.

This entire professional cast works well together as an ensemble, and had a lot fun creating a very funny movie, based on talent, comedic timing, and old-fashioned humor, as well as a clever script.

Basil Rathbone, as the dastardly Sir Ravenhurst, does a fine job, and had fun playing the dastardly, sword wielding bad guy, that he had become famous for in many old movies, such as "Captain Blood."

It must of been hard to keep a straight face, and stay in character, with Kaye's humorous antics blooming in the scenes. Panama & Frank created a masterpiece, meant to bring much entertainment to the audience, which also gives Kaye plenty of material to practice his great comedic timing and acting skills.

Favorite scenes include: the sequence of scenes, resulting from Kaye's run-in with the sorceress, Griselda (Mildred Natwick), who was working for the King's daughter, Princess Gwendolyn (Angela Lansbury), who was unhappy about the man her father had picked for her to marry. Also, Kaye's actual performance as the Court Jester during the King's dinner party, not only is very humorous for the movie's audience, but also cracked up the entire cast watching Kaye's routine.

In between singing, dancing and clowning, Kaye also finds time for "some exciting jousting with knights, dangerous duels with swordsmen, and rescuing maidens in distress. It is described as a "delightful comedy for the whole family", as the whole family will enjoy this hilarious Danny Kaye movie.

Written, Produced and Directed by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank. Director of Photography: Ray June. Words and Music by: Sylvia Fine and Sammy Cahn. Music conducted and scored by: Victor Schoen.

Quote: "Get it?" Got it!" "Good!"

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If you enjoyed THE COURT JESTER you might like A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, DUCK SOUP, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, ROAD TO HONG KONG, START THE REVOLUTION WITHOUT ME, and A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM.