The Court Jester

A 12th century court jester in England becomes involved with a desperate band of outlaws who are attempting to overthrow the king.


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  • ★★★★ review by Kerry Maxwell on Letterboxd

    A perfectly silly Robin Hood-esque parody; with silly wordplay, silly songs, silly sight gags, and lot's of colorfully costumed little people. Danny Kaye is delightful and charming, Glynis Johns makes my knees wobble, and it's mid-50's Technicolor is gorgeous. Delightful family fun.

  • ★★★★★ review by Timcop on Letterboxd

    Danny Kaye's masterpiece, if you'll allow that Danny Kaye can star in a comedy masterpiece. A tour-de-force performance if there ever was one, Kaye plays the oft-hypnotized, mostly competent member of a rogue band plotting to overthrow the king and restore England to its rightful heir. He and his commanding officer, played with cunning precision by the wonderful Glynis Johns, stumble upon the opportunity to infiltrate the castle as the king's bumbling court jester, after hitting John Carradine on the head with a 2x4, of course. Hijinks with a capital "H" ensue.

    Also, the vessel with the pistol and the flagon dragon brew true pazzel wazzle.

  • ★★★★ review by Melissa W on Letterboxd

    My parents taped this off cable when I was a child and we watched it over and over simply to hear Danny Kaye completely talk himself into then out of the correct rhyme to remember the right cup to drink (They broke the flagon with the dragon!). And there was singing and dancing. And I'm pretty sure my brothers had the hots for Angela Lansbury and Glynnis Johns (who were probably around 19 or 20 when the movie was shot).

    And Basil Rathbone skulks about.

    Now that I'm a grownup I have it on DVD and can watch as much as I like!

  • ★★★½ review by Robert Beksinski on Letterboxd

    David's Movie entry #17: April 5th, 2014

    In Memory of David Eisen

    Sort of a Robin Hood prototype with an interesting spin on the unlikely hero scenario. The plot is fairly simple and just like the classic Hood fairy tale, the film can be easily predicted in the story of good versus evil, poor against the rich, and the fight for justice. What makes it stand out is even more simple, a man by the name of Danny Kaye.

    I can say with a 100% certainty that this film would not have been nowhere near as good as it is without his comedic brilliance and quite honestly superb acting abilities. This role was really a showcase performance for him and he took advantage of the opportunity in great flare. Just look at those theatrical expressions on his face as he goes through a routine for the first time in front of the King. He pulls it off flawlessly even synced to the music. I admit I am not entirely familiar with Kaye's work outside of his most popular turnout in White Christmas. I was in the past always under the impression that he was just a singing and dancing fellow like Fred Astaire but the truth is that he is so much more than just that common typecast.

    As I had said before, the plot to the film is simple but remains rewarding on entertainment value alone (mainly by the talent of Sir Kaye). The comedy is near brilliant throughout and even laughed out loud on multiple occasions. Kaye's wordsmith abilities especially when disguised as the Jester Giacomo (who was previously played by John Carradine in a once scene role unfortunately. I would have love to have seen more of him in the film, maybe even returning to reclaim his name) were on par with the utmost excellence. Take for example the tongue twister jokes with the Duchess and the Duke, or even the poison in the pestle. These riddles and repetitions almost reminded me of the medieval parody Monty Python and the Holy Grail and there may be even more than that in this film that influenced the later comedy masterpiece.

    The Court Jester was a jolly good ol' time and a film that can really brighten one's spirits with a good laugh.

  • ★★★★ review by Christina on Letterboxd

    A pleasant and entertaining musical full of physical comedy and clever word play. Now I know the origin of "Get it? Got it. Good!"

    Good: The movie has fun dialogue and I love all the word play. Danny Kaye is fun to watch.

    Bad: Are tights ever a good thing?

    Meh: The sure had some convoluted plans that got mixed up rather easily.

    "The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true."

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