The Court Jester (1956) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Court Jester (1956)

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Critic Consensus: A witty spoof of medieval swashbuckler movies, The Court Jester showcases Danny Kaye at his nimble, tongue-twisting best.

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Movie Info

Danny Kaye spoofs medieval swashbucklers in this classic musical comedy. While the infant King of England awaits his rightful place as leader of the British Empire, his rule is usurped by Roderick (Cecil Parker), an evil pretender to the throne. Brave rebel leader The Black Fox (Edward Ashley) intends to remove Roderick from the palace and bring the crown back to its true owner, but in the meantime the baby king needs to be looked after, which is the job of a man named Hawkins (Kaye). The Black Fox travels with the little king and his rebels as they search for the key to a secret tunnel that will allow them passage into the castle. Maid Jean (Glynis Johns), one of the rebels, meets a man en route to the Castle who is to be Roderick's new jester. The rebels quickly hatch a plan: detain the jester and send Hawkins in his place; the king can then find the key and initiate the overthrow. Hawkins is able to persuade Roderick and his men that he is indeed a jester, but his espionage work gets complicated when Princess Gwendolyn (Angela Lansbury) falls in love with him, and he runs afoul of Sir Ravenhurst (Basil Rathbone), the evil genius behind Roderick. Court Jester features Kaye's famous "Pellet with the Poison" routine. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Classics , Comedy , Kids & Family
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Paramount Home Video

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Cast

Danny Kaye
as Hubert Hawkins
Glynis Johns
as Maid Jean
Basil Rathbone
as Sir Ravenhurst
Angela Lansbury
as Princess Gwendolyn
Cecil Parker
as King Roderick
Mildred Natwick
as Griselda
Robert Middleton
as Sir Griswold
Michael Pate
as Sir Locksley
Herbert Rudley
as Captain of the Guard
Noel Drayton
as Fergus
Edward Ashley
as Black Fox
John Carradine
as Giacomo
Alan Napier
as Sir Brockhurst
Lewis Martin
as Sir Finsdale
Patrick Aherne
as Sir Pertwee
Pat Aherne
as Sir Pertwee
Richard Kean
as Archbishop
Larry Pennell
as Novice Knight
Tudor Owen
as Friar
Charles Irwin
as Griswold Aide
Leo Britt
as Sir Bertram
Russell Gaige
as Chamberlain
Ray Kellogg
as Court Official
Eric Alden
as King's Man
Joel N. Smith
as Forestry Officer
Robin Hughes
as Black Fox's Messenger
Nels Nelson
as One of Hermine's Midgets
Edward Peter Gibbons
as One of Hermine's Midgets
Thomas J. Cotton
as One of Hermine's Midgets
Billy Curtis
as One of Hermine's Midgets
A.J. Buster Resmondo
as One of Hermine's Midgets
Irving Fulton
as One of Hermine's Midgets
Frank Delfino
as One of Hermine's Midgets
'Little Billy' Rhodes
as One of Hermine's Midgets
Henry Lewis Stone
as One of Hermine's Midgets
George Louis Spotts
as One of Hermine's Midgets
Irving Douglas
as One of Hermine's Midgets
Harry Monty
as One of Hermine's Midgets
James B. Jordan
as One of Hermine's Midgets
Floyd Dixon
as One of Hermine's Midgets
Robert Smith
as Priest/Forester/Guard
Paul Newlan
as Soldier/Guard
Phyllis Coghlan
as Hairdresser
Bill Cartledge
as Pageboy
Len Hendry
as Guard
Claud Wuhrman
as Knight
John O'Malley
as Courier/Announcer
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News & Interviews for The Court Jester

Critic Reviews for The Court Jester

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (5)

Costumed swashbucklers undergo a happy spoofing in The Court Jester with Danny Kaye heading the fun-poking.

Full Review… | January 28, 2011
Variety
Top Critic

In The Court Jester, Funnyman Kaye takes all the laughs he needs, but he takes them when they do not stop the show.

Full Review… | January 28, 2011
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Some accomplished slapstick, but nothing special.

Full Review… | January 28, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Whether it's really watchable depends on what you feel about the charmless Kaye, whose vehicle this is from start to finish.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's good fun.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

It's as much horseplay as swordplay and, altogether, a witty delight.

Full Review… | March 24, 2014
Radio Times

Audience Reviews for The Court Jester

Danny Kaye's mistaken identity comedy set on the medieval British court is nothing less than one of the funniest films of all times. Sure, it starts out slowly and with a couple of old-fashioned yet catchy musical pieces. But once things are moving and the innocent bard starts playing the court jester's role, it's a joy to watch the mix-ups, puns and jokes that come with it. That's so cleverly written and charming that you can't help but smile for 90 minutes. It also helps that Danny Kaye is simply incredibly funny, with the sped-up knighting process and poisoned goblet sequence being the outrageous highlights. The old castle and ramparts sets from the classic knight adventures of that era are oozing with nostalgia. During the hilarious showdown things get particularly wacky and hilarious. You just have to love a film where dwarfs juggle grown men on their feet and the hero's fencing skills depend on a snap of the fingers. And you know you've just watched a feel good film when even the evil king sings along to the happy ending tune. A timeless masterpiece of comedy.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

[Rewatch] I film I loved as a child and this is my first viewing since and was full of Nostalgia for me. No doubt about it that Danny Kaye was a great showman and he was very entertaining throughout. Clever witty songs, along with some great comical scenes such as the Vessel with the Pestle. A feel good film.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

½

Good old fashion fun. They jump the shark a little when the midget circus comes to the rescue, but the final sword fight is makes up for it. and Angela Lansbury used to be HOT!

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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