Simply put, the funniest film I've every seen and the most amazing, breath-taking performance by a talent without equal. This is not cinematic trickery or screen vulgarity for the sake of humor. It's cinematic artistry by the only performer with the dancing, singing, elocutionary skills to create a movie without the cameras, sets, and editors. But include them, and the result is screen entertainment that rivals "Singin' In the Rain," "Wizard of Oz" and "The Bandwagon" -- all at once!
I've never understood why this film failed at the box office--a sad commentary on American culture and public taste in the mid-fifties, an era remembered for trite, empty-headed hit songs like "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window," "Hound Dog," "Sixteen Tons," and "If I Knew You Were Coming I'd Have Baked a Cake." Danny Kaye cannot play dumb. His is sophisticated entertainment based on the singular execution of witty and tricky "texts" exceeding the elocutionary and acting-dancing skills of any performer before or since Danny Kaye. (I came to appreciate his gift after, first, discovering Cole Porter's virtuoso song lyric, "Let's Not Talk about Love," and then hearing it performed by the person for whom Cole wrote the song--the only person capable of negotiating its tongue-twisting challenges at demon speed.
I did not see "Court Jester" in the theater (I don't recall hearing anything about it as a teenager). And every print I've seen--rented or purchased on VHS or DVD--has been a badly faded fuzzy print. I expected this most recent print from Amazon Prime to be no different. To my surprise and sheer jubilation, this is the first print to rival the quality of a pristine 35mm movie in a first-class movie theater. Still a relatively obscure jewel of American cinema, "The Court Jester" promises to loom larger with each passing year.