Court Jester (1956) Movie Poster

Trivia for Court Jester (1956)

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  • In the famous "snapping" swordfight between Danny Kaye and Basil Rathbone, Kaye's sword movements were too fast for Rathbone, who was sixty-three at the time. The fight choreographer dressed up as Rathbone's character and was filmed from behind for the fast sections. If you look, you can see that most of the fight consists of "Rathbone" from the back, then shots of the real Rathbone standing "en garde".
  • Basil Rathbone was a world-class fencer and it was due to his efforts that the hilarious fencing scene was filmed without injury. He later admitted that several times he was almost skewered by Danny Kaye's sword.
  • The "Now I can shoot and toot" speech during "The Maladjusted Jester" was previously said by Danny Kaye in Up in Arms (1944).
  • The Jackson Michigan Zouave Drill Team was a U.S. Civil War re-enactment group. They performed the intricate high-speed marching maneuvers during the knighting ceremony. The U.S. Army adopted the Model 1863 Zouave rifle, a percussion or "cap-and-ball" muzzle-loader, which was manufactured by Remington. Obviously the marching knights could not be armed with Civil War-era rifles in this movie. The original Zouave units were North African regiments of the French Army, beginning earlier in the 1800s and serving through both World Wars.
  • Unimpressed with him in tights, the producers made Danny Kaye wear "leg falsies" to improve the shape of his legs. This adds a touch of irony when Hubert Hawkins offers the Princess all of him, including his legs and calves.
  • Danny Kaye's daughter, Dena Kaye, said for the rest of his life, when people recognized Danny in a restaurant, they would walk up and spout the entire "brew that is true" speech.
  • Some songs that were written, but not heard in this movie are "I Live To Love" (sung by Danny Kaye to Dame Angela Lansbury when he swings into her bedroom) and an extended "Pass the Basket" number when Kaye appeared before King Roderick I (just prior to the famous "Maladjusted Jester"). Both songs were, however, recorded and released on this movie's companion record.
  • The song "Life Could Not Better Be" was used as the theme song of The Danny Kaye Show (1963).
  • Features Basil Rathbone's final sword fight on film.
  • The "flagon with a dragon" routine had an antecedent in the Bob Hope Paramount Pictures comedy Never Say Die (1939): "There's a cross on the muzzle of the pistol with the bullet and a nick on the handle of the pistol with the blank." The credits do not list any writers in common on the two movies.
  • During the "Maladjusted Jester" sequence, King Roderick I (Cecil Parker) kicks Hawkins (Danny Kaye) every time he makes a mistake. It took eleven takes, and afterward, Danny said he had bruises all over his hip.
  • Red Skelton in A Southern Yankee (1948) had a similar tongue twister involving the boot with the buckle and the pocket of the jacket. It could be an old vaudeville sketch.
  • This was composer Vic Schoen's first movie. He was not officially trained in the mechanisms of how music was synchronized to film, so he had to learn on the job. It took him a long time, but he was very proud of his work. Composer Igor Stravinsky listened to his score and later complimented Schoen, saying he had broken all of the rules.
  • The "vessel with the pestle" routine was preceeded in Bob Hope's movie The Paleface (1948), when he twisted the advice given to him by the bar patrons while stalking another gunfighter on the deserted city streets.
  • Included amongst the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.


  • The character The Black Fox was modelled on Zorro, the early California masked avenger whose name is Spanish for "fox". As in this movie, in The Mark of Zorro (1940), Basil Rathbone loses the big final sword fight.
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