- Format: NTSC
- Region: All Regions
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: PARAMOUNT
- DVD Release Date: 8 Oct 2019
- Run Time: 101 minutes
- Customer Reviews: 1,057 customer ratings
- ASIN: B072QMXZ6P
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
15,978 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #12000 in Movies (Movies & TV)
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In this swashbuckling comic farce, star Danny Kaye plays kind-hearted entertainer Hawkins who disguises himself as the legendary king of jesters, Giacomo. Hawkins infiltrates the court of the evil villain Basil Rathbone, but when a sorceress hypnotizes him, royal chaos ensues. Giacomo now believes he is also an infamous assassin, and alternates between his identities at the snap of a finger. Between swordplay and wordplay, Danny Kaye displays his fancy footwork… and his comic genius. With a stellar supporting cast, including Glynis Johns, Angela Lansbury and Mildred Natwick, Kaye sings and dances among dueling knights and damsels in distress.
Through it all, this jester proves he’s
one of the original kings of comedy.
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Top international reviews
I did think that the movie took about half-an-hour to really get going - when Kaye’s character reaches the castle, and there’s some funny quickfire dialogue between him and Basil Rathbone. After that, the physical and verbal comedy really takes off.
This reasonably-priced disc has no extras - but then they didn’t have DVDs in the olden days, did they?
I confess I have to be careful here. THE COURT JESTER is a childhood treasure. My sis and I, dragged off the rainy streets into a fleapit cinema, sat back enthralled as a blaze of colour flashed before us, a lavish, comic romp which left us wet-eyed and aching with laughter. So am I guilty of nostalgia? Well, I bought the DVD at Amazon's wonderfully silly price, sat back to watch with intent objectivity and ended up (yes, you guessed it) wet-eyed and aching with laughter.
Danny Kaye was unique in that he combined sublime, razor-sharp physical comedy with hilarious tongue-twisting wordplay. I can think of no one else who combined them so skilfully. Comparisons with Jim Carrey amaze me. Like comparing Russell Brand with Peter Sellers - completely different league. And the film outplays most modern equivalents in every area, even the best of them. It's cram-packed with comic sequences of mind-blowing quality. The famous joust with it's glorious build up is just one of them. The Knighting Ceremony is to my mind in the top ten comic scenarios ever filmed. The amazing fencing scene with Basil Rathbone, the hilarous courting sequence with the princess and the glorious finale are just as good. Look out for the fabulous disposal of the king's soldiers into the moat.
The plot is excellent, a maze of twists and turns, unexpected turn-ups - farce at its best. Few modern scripts match it. The writing is top drawer, wonderfully funny wordplay and rhyme, great little one-liners and tongue in cheek parody of its Errol Flynn origin. And Danny Kaye delivers with such jaw-dropping skill - sometimes you watch in disbelief.
The music is good too. A couple of great melodies, steeped in the craft of the fifties musical songwriters and some lightning, virtuoso verbal gallops, Danny's trademark deliveries which delighted kids of the fifties and which have lost none of their sparkle.
The cast is fabulous. He's supported by an excellent Rathbone and a brilliant Cecil Parker as the King - a performance never given the credit it deserves. Glynis Johns still ticks all my boxes and all the minor parts are played (and over-played) superbly. I love the hypnotic lady in waiting.
But a word of warning. Danny Kaye (like many of his contemporaries) was prone to outbursts of whimp-cringing, bottom clenching sentimentality. Though this in my opinion is the best of his movies and the least infected, it's a feature of many American films of the period and genre (even worse today). But we hardy Brits can turn away from such sick-making drippery and return to the film when it has passed like an unwanted cloud. Unfortunately much of it occurs at the outset of the movie as the plot is introduced so STICK WITH IT! All the fabulous stuff is twenty minutes into the film and well worth waiting for. Strap the kids to the settee!
So. Is this film a work of comic genius?
YEAH! VERILY YEAH!
And what should you do with this DVD?
GET IT! GOT IT? Good.
Danny Kaye stars as Hawkins, a freedom fighter who, due to a set of improbable circumstances, has to infiltrate the King's Court disguised as Giacomo, a world renowned Jester. What follows is a classic farce plot, replete with mistaken identities, hypnotism and false identities... Poor old Hawkins is pulled from pillar to post and has to do some fancy footwork to keep his head on his shoulders.
Kaye is outstanding and entertaining as the central character, and carries the film well. Basil Rathbone sends up his earlier role as the Sherriff of Nottingham, and turns in villainously funny performance, almost playing it straight as the madness goes on around him. Good support comes from a very young Angela Lansbury as the beautiful Princess.
Packed full of hilarious set-pieces - the climactic sword fight, the hilarious duel where one of the duellists drinks has been spiked, etc etc, this is a film with much to enjoy, and that will still be funny and entertaining in 50 yrs time. Recommended for any family occasion.
Danny Kaye is at his best in this farce/spoof with his rubber facial expressions and rapid wordplay. It's the sort of comedy that will polarize opinions - a closest modern day comparison would perhaps be Jim Carrey in The Mask, or Me, Myself and Irene. Great comic timing from all with a prominent part played by Angela Lansbury (murder she wrote).
Shame there are no extras on the disc but if you can get this for around a fiver it's well worth snaffling up.
Well recommended as a classic old film for everyone to enjoy.
Very enjoyable swordfight between wicked Basil Rathbone and Kaye.
The costumes are amazing, as is the 'English' countryside, with its 'Roger Corman' castle perched on a cliff top.
This is the kind of film no one would want to make nowadays.
It is is a bright, innocent display of talented troopers having fun.
The story could have been cliché (usurper trying to murder the rightful heir to the throne) but with Danny Kaye as the reluctant hero and the murderer in one person, this becomes the most hilarious variation of the theme. Just watch it already.