For this year’s A-To-Z Challenge, my theme is MOVIES. I will be working my way through the alphabet during the month of April with movie titles and short blurbs about each movie. Today’s movie is “The Court Jester.”
When I was a young lad, Danny Kaye was one of my favorite comic actors. I loved his movies, and of them all, “The Court Jester” was my favorite. The movie was a 1955 musical-comedy, medieval romance, costume drama film starring Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury and Cecil Parker.
The throne of rightful King of England, a small baby with the purple pimpernel birthmark, has been usurped by the evil King Roderick I (Cecil Parker). Only the Black Fox (Edward Ashley) can restore the true King to the throne, and all he needs is the King’s key to a secret tunnel. While he’s trying to steal the key, someone has to change the baby King’s diapers. The task falls to Hubert Hawkins (Danny Kaye), the gentlest member of the Fox’s band. The Fox’s Lieutenant, Maid Jean (Glynis Johns), guards Hawkins and the baby 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. 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.
The film contains three songs (all sung by Kaye), makes heavy use of slapstick comedy and quick-witted wordplay, and is best remembered for the tongue twister “The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true!”
Even this jaded old fart, who is not a fan of musical comedies, still enjoys watching this hilarious old classic tale starring the legendary Danny Kaye.