This movie, above all others, is probably the one best-remembered by most of Danny's
fans. So it might surprise some fans to learn that The Court Jester did not do very
well at the box office. Danny's explanation for this, from Kurt Singer's The Danny
Kaye Story, was this: "The picture didn't make money because its production cost
too much in today's inflationary market. Expenses got out of hand." (pg 203) Today
you'll find nothing but praise from people reflecting on this movie, and that's as
it should be. To me, this is Danny's ultimate movie, and so far I haven't found anything
else (by Danny or other entertainers) that can top this film. The dialogue in this
movie is quite clever, and the supporting cast is superb. One of my personal favorites
is Herbert Rudley as the Captain of Guard. His interaction with and reactions to
Danny are hilarious! As others have said, this movie truly did provide a wonderful
vehicle for Danny's talents. Could he possibly have done any more? He sang, swung
on ropes, jousted, fenced, spoke in various accents and rattled off tongue-twister-like
dialogue. He was charming, innocent, bold, sweet, and sexy! Credit should also be
given, however, to Norman Panama and Melvin Frank for coming up with such a fantastic
script in the first place. They were well aware of what Danny could do and certainly
tailored this script to fit his various talents. The songs, written by Sylvia Fine
and Sammy Cahn, are also wonderful and memorable. I sang the songs constantly as
a young girl. This is certainly one of Danny's most memorable roles, and by far,
one of his best movies!
Filmed: Nov. 22, 1954 - Feb. 16, 1955; Feb. 25 - Mar. 12, Mar. 18, 1955
Released: January 27, 1956 (Koenig, David. Danny Kaye: King of Jesters, pg 173)
Produced by Dena Productions, the company founded by Danny and Sylvia, as well as
Norman Panama and Melvin Frank
Written, directed and produced by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, the same duo that
wrote, directed and produced Knock on Wood
Songs by Sylvia Fine and Sammy Cahn
The Internet Movie Database has both Danny and Sylvia listed as uncredited Executive
Producers for this film. Since it was produced by their production company, that
is understandable. They most likely would have had producer status of all films produced
by Dena Productions.
Ralph Faulkner, Danny’s trainer, stepped in as Basil Rathbone’s fencing double because
Rathbone could not keep up with Danny’s speed.
The marching knights during the ceremony were actually a real drill team from Michigan.
According to The Danny Kaye Story, this movie cost 3 million dollars to make.