The Court Jester

Synopsis: The throne of rightful king of England, the small babe with the purple pimpernel birthmark, has been usurped by the evil King Roderick. Only the Black Fox can restore the true king to the throne--and all he needs is the king's key to a secret tunnel. And while he's trying to steal it, someone has to change the king's diapers. The task falls to Hawkins, the gentlest member of the Fox's band. The Fox's lieutenant, Maid Jean, guards Hawkins and the babe while they travel, but when they meet the King's new jester on the road, they decide to initiate a daring plan for Hawkins to replace him, become an intimate at the court, and steal the key. So, humble Hawkins becomes Giacomo: the king of jesters and jester to the king. But things begin to get zany when the King's daughter falls for Giacomo, the King falls for Jean, people randomly sing what are supposed to be recognition codes, and a witch with very effective spells (and poison pellets) begins to interfere.
Production: Paramount Home Video
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
101 min

This is the story of how the destiny

of a nation was changed by a birthmark.

A royal birthmark on the royal

posterior of a royal infant child.

Here returning to his castle is King Roderick.

Roderick the tyrant, who some

months before seized the throne

by a massacre of the entire royal family.

But uneasy lies Roderick's crown,

for rumor hath it that an infant,

the rightful heir to the thrown

had survived the massacre.

And even now is being cared

for by a group in the forest.

A group led by an elusive dashing

outlaw known only as..

the Black Fox!

The child lives! Death to

the tyrant! The Black Fox.

The Black Fox again!

To the castle, quick!

My kingdom seething with revolt,

cutthroats and assassins in every tree!

Why must I be surrounded by fools?

Ravenhurst! Ravenhurst!


Could you have been so

incompetent, bungled so horribly,

as to have permitted

that child to live?

Sire, there is no child.

My men assure me that none

of the royal family escaped alive.

Believe me, sire,

this is nonsense.

Nonsense? You call it nonsense, Ravenhurst!

Is it nonsense that I cannot

ride my own domain,

without being

murderously attacked.

My child, I came

within an inch of my life.

Oh, father.

Each day, some new insurrection.

Who is this Black Fox?

Oh just some ridiculous adventurer

with a handful of rabble.

Rabble today but

an army tomorrow!

We need help to wipe

them out. Men and arms!

Aye, an alliance with our good

friend Griswold of the North!

Aye, alliance, and quickly! He arrives

tomorrow for the great tournament.

Alliance with Griswold...

Sire, this rabble

can be crushed.

Griswold has men and arms.

We need no uncouth

interloper from the north.

Uncouth, yes, but

Griswold is strong.

Perhaps too strong.

Perhaps our friend

Ravenhurst fears an alliance

would put Griswold and not

himself at the king's right hand!

You shall die for this!

One of us will!

Stop! Stop! Stop, I say!

Put up your

sword, you fool.

Sire! -Silence! -But sire! -Silence!

-Your pardon, sire.

And you, too. Must we

quarrel amongst ourselves?

Do you think I

could make alliance?

Griswold is rich.

What could I offer him?

That which he desires most

in the world. Marriage, sire.

With your daughter,

the fair Gwendolyn.

Marriage with

Griswold? Never!

What's that you say?

He's a brute and a lout!

Brute or not, lout or not, if I

so decide, you'll marry Griswold.

I will not.

I am the king. If it pleases me,

you will marry Griswold.

If it pleases you so much,

you marry Griswold.

When I marry,

I marry for love.

Someone dashing

and romantic,

who will carry me off as a

princess should be carried off!

Who fills your head with

this childish fiddle faddle.

Ah, I know... Griselda.

She of the evil eye. Take

the witch out and burn her!

Harm one hair of her head and I

throw myself from the highest turret.

Gwendolyn, you go too far!

Dire news, sire! I've just come

from the forest. The child lives!

The child lives?!

Aye, sire.

How know you that this is the royal

child and not some outrageous impostor?

Because sire, disguised as a

member of their group, I saw him.

And I can assure you that

like his royal ancestors,

and on the same spot

as his royal ancestors,

he bears the royal birthmark.

The... purple pimpernel?

The purple pimpernel.

Oh... Then why stand you here,

you incompetent Jackalings?

To horse! To the forest!

Cut them down!

Kill the infamous child who

claims to be the rightful king.

And destroy forever this traitorous

fiend who calls himself the Black Fox!

Hawkins! Hawkins! Come here!

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Norman Panama

Norman Kaye Panama (April 21, 1914 – January 13, 2003) was an American screenwriter and film director born in Chicago, Illinois. He collaborated with a former schoolfriend, Melvin Frank, to form a writing partnership which endured for three decades. He also wrote gags for comedians such as Bob Hope's radio program and for Groucho Marx. The most famous films he directed were Li'l Abner (1959), the Danny Kaye film The Court Jester (1956), and the Bob Hope film How to Commit Marriage (1969). He wrote Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), Road to Utopia (1946), and The Court Jester, among other movies. He won an Edgar Award for A Talent for Murder (1981), a play he co-wrote with Jerome Chodorov. Panama continued to write and direct through the 1980s. He died in 2003 in Los Angeles, California, aged 88, from complications of Parkinson's disease. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Court Jester" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 24 Jan. 2022. <>.

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