Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Court Jester

The review with the preview is in the blog with the budget. This is a fun little movie that I wished I had had closed captioning for. This is the second time I've seen it, and I do regret it not being a film I grew up on, because considering I trained myself to be ambidextrous when I was 9 in case my right hand was ever damaged in a sword fight, Little Me would have adored this film. As an adult who fenced in college, I also really enjoyed the fight scenes. Do I see where this film is revolutionary? Not really, but it is a lot of fun. Danny Kaye as Hawkins is a riot, seeing baby Angela Lansbury is incredibly odd, but interesting, and the cunning Captain Jean, played by Glynis Johns, is very fun to watch. According to Wikipedia, this was the most expensive comedy produced at the time, and it is pretty obvious that the budget was spent on costumes and sets. It all looks lavish and fantastical, and is improved by the constant banter, dance numbers, and sword fights. The basic plot concerns a usurping king who has inadvertently left an infant of the royal house alive. The baby is being protected by a group of outlaws, including a former carnival performer, Hubert Hawkins. Hawkins ends up impersonating the king's jester, who is also an assassin, and has to steal a key, woo the princess, protect the baby, try to protect his own lady (who is far more competent at protecting than he is), assassinate rivals of an evil courtier, open the castle to invasion, and fight in mortal combat. Get it? Good. There's a ton of stuff jam-packed into this movie, but that's mostly an excuse to watch a farcical take on Robin Hood, complete with flashing a baby's butt at regular intervals to prove he is the rightful king. I can't honestly say the movie makes a whole ton of sense, because it really doesn't. The whole point just seems to be to make as many absurd situations as possible in a medieval sort of setting, to get Danny Kaye dancing, singing, and fencing, and to get tongue-twisting repartee flying through the air. But it's a ton of fun. Definitely what I would classify as quality family entertainment, and well-worth a watch.

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