The Court Jester
Starring: Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone
Written & Directed by: Norman Panama, Melvin Frank
How good is this movie?
A fun, silly, affectionate spoof of swashbuckling adventure films. Its mix of slapstick, wordplay, and situation comedy means it has something for everyone. The plot may not be the tightest, and the gender dynamics may feel a bit dated, but it’s too sweet and self-consciously goofy for me to care.
How ace is this movie?
Gwendolyn has some very romantic ideas about love, which the film plays for comedy. Her determination to marry “someone dashing and romantic who will carry me off as a princess should be” leads her to accept a complete stranger as her “true love”. The king’s preoccupation with “fair wenches” and Jean’s attempts to deal with his advances are also played for laughs. The one actual romance in the movie is between characters who have been friends and colleagues for a while. Unusually, they confess their love early in the film and spend the rest as a stable couple. Their undercover operation leaves them no time for passionate love scenes; however, despite their unwanted romantic entanglements, they also avoid becoming jealous or suspicious. They simply continue to trust and rely on each other and focus on completing their mission. It’s the kind of romantic dynamic I wish more movies would adopt.
3 Stars; 3 Aces