The Court Jester (1956)

1956, Warner Bros. Directed by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama. Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury, Cecil Parker, Mildred Natwick, Robert Middleton.

Decent Films Ratings

Overall
Recommendability
?A+
Artistic/
Entertainment Value
?
Moral/Spiritual
Value (+4/-4)
? +0
Age
Appropriateness
?Kids & Up

External Ratings

MPAA ?NR USCCB ?A-I

Content advisory: Comic swashbuckling violence.

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The Court Jester (DVD)

From a National Catholic Register review

By Steven D. Greydanus

See Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood — and then see Danny Kaye in The Court Jester. As the former is the ultimate Hollywood swashbuckler classic, the latter is the ultimate swashbuckler spoof, and one of Kaye’s finest, funniest hours.

Not only does it terrifically succeed where movies like Mel Brooks’s Robin Hood: Men in Tights miserably fail, The Court Jester also as merry, high-spirited, and wholesome as the adventures it parodies, with none of the cynical, anarchic spirit (or content issues) of the likes of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

It’s also a genuinely entertaining tale, with a convoluted plot involving an evil usurper king (Cecil Parker), a scheming knight (Basil Rathbone) who covets the false king’s throne, and a Robin-Hood / Zorro type hero-outlaw called the Black Fox (Edward Ashley). Kaye stars as former circus performer Hubert Hawkins, now the meekest of the Fox’s merry men, who dreams of derring-do but is charged with caring for a royal infant who is the true heir to the throne in hiding.

Viewers always remember the classic tongue-twisting wordplay of the "vessel with the pestle" scene, but The Court Jester is full of hilarity, from Hawkins’s sparkling debut as a jester, to his rapid-fire personality changes under hypnosis, to his accelerated elevation to knighthood. It couldn’t possibly better be!

Tags: Robin Hoodery, Adventure, Comedy, Musical, Romance

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