The Court Jester, the 1956 musical starring Danny Kaye, recently arrived on Blu-ray for the first time through the Paramount Presents line.
Writing in his Classic Movies Guide, film critic/historian Leonard Maltin refers to the musical comedy as “one of the best comedies ever made.”
In the 1950s, every studio was doing what they could to compete with the rise of television. For Paramount, this meant releasing films in the superior VistaVision format. Here is what the Paramount did to bring the film’s colors back to life:
For this new restoration, the original negative was scanned at 6K and one of the “separation masters” was also scanned and recombined with the negative scans to address color fading in the negative. The result is an incredibly vibrant picture that faithfully captures the colors and textures of Edith Head’s sensational costumes and Hal Pariera’s sparkling art direction.
What I can certainly say without question is that the restoration is absolutely amazing. The film is also as good as ever. I expect audiences–new and old–will love it!
This film is also the source of an iconic film line:
The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true!
The National Film Registry added the film in 2004. Meanwhile, the American Film Institute (AFI) honored the film with the 98th slot in the 100 Years, 100 Laughs list. Danny Kaye would also earn a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical.
The Court Jester’s limited edition also includes the same collectible packaging as previous titles. A foldout theatrical poster is on the outside sleeve while the interior contains photos of the key moments. Because the filmmakers are deceased, Leonard Maltin steps in for the Filmmaker Focus.
Kaye is kind-hearted entertainer Hawkins who disguises himself as the legendary king of jesters, Giacomo. Hawkins infiltrates the court of an evil villain (Basil Rathbone), but when a sorceress hypnotizes him, royal chaos ensues. Alternating identities at the snap of a finger, between swordplay and wordplay, Kaye’s comic genius shines through. The stellar supporting cast includes Glynis Johns, Angela Lansbury, Mildred Natwick, Cecil Parker, and John Carradine.
- Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on The Court Jester (HD – NEW)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD)
DIRECTORS/SCREENWRITERS: Norman Panama and Melvin Frank
CAST: Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury, Cecil Parker