Time to review one of my all-time favourite movies. The colourful, fun-loving, comical, musical, witty, medieval, romantic, dramatic, 1953 CLASSIC… The Court Jester. (In case any of you are a fan of Movies You May Have Missed, that was my little tribute to them… and if you don’t know who they are, then you should check them out. This is two Canadians doing reviews of awesomely obscure movies that somehow bypassed the world’s attention, and it's very, very fun, although sometimes a little rude. It was introduced to me by my oh-so-wonderful Canadian friend Claire… anyway, I digress.)
So when I was about 10, my dad introduced me to The Court Jester, and I immediately fell in love with Danny Kaye. I mean, how could you not? He’s just so lovable! From the twinkle in his eye, to his perfect comic timing. On top of that, he is what I call a “Quadruple Threat” in theatre terms: not only does he present a triple threat by his ability to sing, dance, and act, but he is also hilariously funny.
Actually, an interesting titbit is that when Luke and I were on one of our first pseudo-dates (i.e. pre-dating hanging out), we were talking about our favourite movies, and I mentioned this very film. Luke responded, “I love Danny Kaye,” and from that moment on I knew it was meant to be! I mean, how many 20-somethings know who Danny Kaye is?! Answer – not many at all.
The plot is quite complicated for a family movie. Set in medieval England, it concerns an attempt to dispose of an illegitimate King and restore the rightful heir (who is currently a baby) to the throne. Kaye plays Hubert Hawkins, an ex-carnival entertainer, whose brother is the famous Black Fox (a kind of Robin Hood send-up). A plan is made to kill the King by planting spies, and as luck would have it, Hawkins manages to get into the royal castle in the guise of the King’s new jester. After this, madness and mayhem and much hilarity ensue. I think I’ll leave it there, and say it is most definitely worth a watch.
The Court Jester, which cost $4 million, was the most expensive movie ever made at the time it came out. It bombed at the box office, only bringing in $2.2 million. Despite this, it is now widely regarded as a comedy classic, and appeared on a list of 100 top comic films in 2000.
Hawkins: I'd like to get in, get on with it, get it over with, and get out. Get it?
Ravenhurst: Got it.
Hawkins: What manner of man is Giacomo? Ha ha! I shall tell you what manner of man is he. He lives for a sigh, he dies for a kiss, he lusts for the laugh, ha! He never walks when he can leap! He never flees when he can fight (thud) oop! He swoons at the beauty of a rose. And I offer myself to you, all of me. My heart. My lips. My legs. My calves. Do what you will - my love endures. Beat me. Kick me. (kiss, kiss) I am yours.
Hawkins: The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.
Until next time :)