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'Court Jester' Screens Friday

October 29, 1987|KEVIN THOMAS

"The Court Jester" (1956), one of the late Danny Kaye's finest films, screens Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the County Museum of Art's Bing Theater as part of the ongoing salute to Paramount.

Written, produced and directed by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank--and featuring words and music by Sylvia Fine and Sammy Cahn--"The Court Jester" is a fast and witty spoof of swashbucklers. Shot in VistaVision in lush pastel hues, it has a simplicity of design that only adds to the timelessness of its appeal and humor.

It's the classic instance of the dithery fellow turning brave when Kaye is pressed into passing himself off as the current ruler's new court jester, freshly arrived from Italy. The film is tailor-made for Kaye's special talents--his way with accents and tongue-twisters--and makes full use of his remarkable grace, in swordplay as well as in song and dance. The plot is of course deliriously complicated and involves such stalwarts as Glynis Johns (the fair maid of the jester's heart), Cecil Parker, Angela Lansbury, Mildred Natwick and Basil Rathbone.

"The Court Jester" is family entertainment in the best sense: a delight for children, with a sophisticated tone that's a bonus for parents. Information: (213) 857-6031, 857-6010.

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