Costumed swashbucklers undergo a happy spoofing in The Court Jester with Danny Kaye heading the fun-poking. Norman Panama and Melvin Frank drag in virtually every time-honored, and timeworn, medieval drama cliche for Kaye and cast to re-play for laughs via not-so-subtle treatment.

Costumed swashbucklers undergo a happy spoofing in The Court Jester with Danny Kaye heading the fun-poking. Norman Panama and Melvin Frank drag in virtually every time-honored, and timeworn, medieval drama cliche for Kaye and cast to re-play for laughs via not-so-subtle treatment.

A major assist comes from the Sylvia Fine-Sammy Cahn songs, of which there are five all tuned to the Kaye talent. There’s the quite mad ‘Maladjusted Jester’; a lullaby, ‘Loo-Loo-Loo I’ll Take You Dreaming’; a ballad, ‘My Heart Knows a Lovely Song’; the comedic ‘They’ll Never Outfox the Fox’, and ‘Life Could Not Better Be.’

Glynis Johns, fetched from England for the hoydenish Maid Jean role opposite Kaye, does exceedingly well. The same is true of Basil Rathbone, a many-seasoned chief heavy; Angela Lansbury, cutting a pretty picture as the Princess Gwendolyn; Cecil Parker, the not-so-bright King Roderick who has ousted the real royal family; and Mildred Natwick, the princess’s evil-eyed maid.

The Court Jester

Production

Paramount/Dena. Director Norman Panama, Melvin Frank; Producer Norman Panama, Melvin Frank; Screenplay Norman Panama, Melvin Frank; Camera Ray June; Editor Tom McAdoo; Music Victor Shoen (dir.);; Art Director Hal Pereira, Roland Anderson

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1956. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Danny Kaye Glynis Johns Basil Rathbone Angela Lansbury Cecil Parker Mildred Natwick

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more