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Matt Hough

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A musical swashbuckler spoof tailored specifically for the talents of comic Danny Kaye, Norman Panama and Melvin Frank’s The Court Jester is a lark for the ages.



The Court Jester (1955)



Released: 27 Jan 1956
Rated: Approved
Runtime: 101 min




Director: Melvin Frank, Norman Panama
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family, Musical



Cast: Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury
Writer(s): Norman Panama, Melvin Frank



Plot: A hapless carnival performer masquerades as the court jester as part of a plot against an evil ruler who has overthrown the rightful King.



IMDB rating: 7.9
MetaScore: N/A





Disc Information



Studio: Paramount
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC...

Continue reading...
 

john a hunter

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Surprised to read about how it was a box office disaster.
I recall seeing it in the UK during the school holidays in a packed theatre.
It was one of the first films I was allowed to attend.
Looking forward to revisiting it after more years than I would like to remember.
 

haineshisway

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Listen, you cannot trust Wikipedia for ANYTHING, or the iMDB for that matter. This movie cost nowhere NEAR four million dollars. What, someone thinks The Court Jester cost more than Carousel, Anastasia, High Society, Lust for Life, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Searchers, and just about every other film made that year? In fact, I can only find four or five films whose budget exceeded four million dollars. There's no way this cost over two million, and there's no way it didn't make that back.
 

Matt Hough

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Listen, you cannot trust Wikipedia for ANYTHING, or the iMDB for that matter. This movie cost nowhere NEAR four million dollars. What, someone thinks The Court Jester cost more than Carousel, Anastasia, High Society, Lust for Life, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Searchers, and just about every other film made that year? In fact, I can only find four or five films whose budget exceeded four million dollars. There's no way this cost over two million, and there's no way it didn't make that back.
Leonard Maltin says in his bonus material that the film cost four million. He doesn't mention what it grossed.
 

Robert Harris

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Leonard Maltin says in his bonus material that the film cost four million. He doesn't mention what it grossed.
And he probably pulled it from IMDB, which as Mr. Kimmel suggests is not a perfect fount of information. Unless, of course, the Jackson, Michigan Zouave Drill Team and Hermine’s Midgets were grossly overpaid.

For perspective, the budget of Lawrence (with neither the drill team nor midgets) was 12 million, five years hence. But it was less of a studio film.

Compare the two.
 

Bob Furmanek

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According to the two most reliable sources, the film performed well above average throughout 1956. It opened with "resounding success" at the New York Paramount.

Here are the year-end rankings in Boxoffice (100 is considered average business) and Variety.

The film did extremely strong business overseas.

Based on the cost of other VV titles at the time, I would estimate the budget to be slightly north of one million.
 

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Matt Hough

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And yet the grosses quote from Boxoffice ($2.2 million) is also in that Wikipedia article. Whoever supplied those budget figures had to have gotten them from somewhere.
 

haineshisway

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And yet the grosses quote from Boxoffice ($2.2 million) is also in that Wikipedia article. Whoever supplied those budget figures had to have gotten them from somewhere.
Well, we could make a supposition as to where that might have been :) Seriously, it could not have cost four million dollars - Paramount would never have spent that kind of money on a film geared for Kaye's audience.
 

marcco00

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my blu ray is on the way and should arrive on wednesday, really enjoying this great run of

beautifully restored , vividly colored films, hope it continues in 2021!!!
 

jackR

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It also contains one of the all-time great sword fighting sequences between Kaye and Basil Rathbone. Basil was a fencing champion, but Kaye was a revelation. I wonder if it influenced the astounding sword sequence in The Princess Bride where both actors switched sword hands. Both were rare in their blend of comedy and fencing. Don't forget, the vessel with the pestle holds the brew that is true!
 

cinefan

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Thanks for the review. I love this film and am anxiously awaiting my copy of the blu-ray.

Regarding the film's budget I found this interesting article from the AFI which cites "the file on the film in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library". That seems to give the figures at least an air of authority. I know budgets can be framed in different ways for different audiences. So maybe it's more like "hot air" of authority :). And I further know I'm supremely ignorant on these matters compared to others in this thread.

Anyway, for what it's worth, it notes an initial production budget quoted from said file of just under $2.5 million for 48 days of shooting, but then goes on to say:

According to a 29 Oct 1955 Paramount breakdown of the film's expenses, The Court Jester's total cost to that point was $3,702,103, having used seventy-six actual days for filming, eighteen days of rehearsal, and another eighteen days for second unit work, including location shooting in Palos Verdes, CA. In its Jan 1956 feature article on the film, Life stated that The Court Jester was the most expensive film comedy produced to date.

So, while not a clear source for where the 4M number might have come from, it's at least approaching the neighborhood.
 

Patrick McCart

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I pre-ordered this the day it was up on Amazon. While I would have liked a bit more substantial supplements, not to mention a Perspecta option for the sound... it's wonderful to finally get rid of the 4th oldest DVD in my collection and from a beautiful new 4K restoration.
 

Rob W

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This 4k restoration is actually several years old, and premiered at the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival, where I saw it in the Chinese Theatre in a spectacular presentation.
 
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