The Court Jester ★★★½

Really enjoyable. A total star vehicle, seemingly designed around Danny Kaye's many talents as a singer and dancer and actor, as well as his capacity for goofy, joyous hijinks. The script has him veer between all kinds of different personas in his attempts to deceive and out-wit his enemies. Often, these changes take place from line to line, and watching him go from meek to overly confident and back again is just about always funny (I love the brief moment where he's holding onto the rope, prepared to swing from one part of the castle to the next). In this manic comic role, he comes across as immensely likable, a fitting protagonist for this kind of medieval adventure. I'd never seen a Danny Kaye movie before, but now I'm a fan. There's a lot of other weird and delightful stuff going on besides. Melvin Frank and Norman Panama's VistaVision compositions are filled with color, livening up both the exciting action sequences and the quirky musical sequences. The script has plenty of fun wordplay and silly asides, the supporting performances are strong, and there's a satisfying amount of momentum to the way the story unfolds.