The 25 Must-See Titles at the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival

10 of 26

The Court Jester poster. Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The Court Jester (1955)

A carnival performer named Hubert (Danny Kaye) becomes a court jester for the English court. His goal: to infiltrate and sneak a key to a gang of rebels. Problems arise when the Princess (Angela Lansbury) falls for him.

There’s nothing bad that can’t be solved by a great swashbuckler film. The Court Jester isn’t just a swashbuckler; it’s also kind of hilarious. Verbal wit Danny Kaye blends the works of Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power with his patented brand of tongue-twisters for a film that tells its own story and sends up the likes of The Adventures of Robin Hood (1939) and The Sea Hawk (1940).

While Kaye spouts wacky lines about finding “the pellet with the poison’s in the flagon with dragon,” the real heavy lifting belongs to the ladies. Angela Lansbury plays a princess here, but she’s a Queen in our hearts! She’s the lovesick Princess Gwendolyn and though she could do far better than Danny Kaye, it’s great watching her in a comedic role. Glynis Johns as Maid Jean, though, deserves her own movie – and it’s a shame that didn’t happen. Her Jean is quick, savvy and gets Hubert out of a few scrapes. The Court Jester is also beautifully costumed with some fantastic sets. And I didn’t even talk about Basil Rathbone, my favorite baddie! Honestly, watch The Court Jester however you can!

Next: The Great Dictator