Danny Kaye in “The Court Jester”

One of the funniest movies of all time has to be Danny Kaye’s “The Court Jester”. There are in particular two scenes that are most memorable. Many of my friends, associates, and even strangers have found uncountable ways to work the unforgettable “pellet with the poison” routine into otherwise rambling and confused conversations.

Much though I like the pellet with the poison, the vestle with the pestle, the chalice from the palace, and the brew that is true, my favorite part of the movie is the song where Kaye (supposedly) explains how he (disguised as Giacomo) became a court jester.

The “Pellet with the Poison” scene is pretty long, running to nearly 10 minutes. The volume on these clips is not uniform. The “Pellet with the Poison” has pretty good sound. I had to crank my volume up to hear the song.

The song about the court jester runs to only a few minutes.

The movie was written and directed by the team of Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, who collaborated on many movies but the other film from their repertoire which stands out for me was “Lil Abner”.

Glynis Johns played the gorgeous Maid Jean in “The Court Jester’. Johns is no stranger to fantasy audiences. She played Mrs. Banks in “Mary Poppins” and Penelope Peasoup in three episodes of Batman. And, oh yes, she had a few more roles, too (including a bit part in “The Thief of Baghdad”).

Other notable actors who appeared in the movie included Angela Lansbury (Murder, She Wrote), Basil Rathbone (Sherlock Holmes, Guy of Gisbourne in Errol Flynn’s “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood”), Mildred Natwick (the Widow Tillane from John Wayne’s “The Quiet Man”, and Gwendolyn Snoop Nicholson in “The Snoop Sisters”), and Alan Napier (Alfred in Batman).

If you ever have an afternoon or evening to kill and can get hold of this movie, watch it. It’s loads of fun.


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