No doubt you’re already pointing fingers and saying: “Hey! He’s written one essay for two blogathons…cheater!” Well, guilty as charged—this piece is Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s contribution to The Paramount Centennial Blogathon, being hosted by Angela at The Hollywood Revue from September 27-28…and it’s also the fourth and last entry submitted to my BBFF Stacia’s Camp and Cult Blogathon at She Blogged by Night, held from September 17-28. It’s a
“I didn’t,” he replied, looking at me strangely. “That was the year I was born.” (So I ended up going along, not only seeing Star Wars a fourth time in the theater but also The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi—the last one a movie I swore I’d never, ever watch again, but you do those sort of things for friendship.)
“Got it,” I replied. “Good,” he responded, and then we both shared a laugh at us both knowing the film reference. “That movie’s a little bit beyond your jurisdiction,” I teased him, but he insisted “I love The Court Jester!” Bowled over by this cinematic common ground, I brought my VHS copy of the film with me to a video night we had planned that next weekend, where it was a big hit. (Even the lone dissenter who hadn’t wanted to watch it admitted afterward that it was a very entertaining film.)
Clearly, this is going to take some work…but as Hawkins informs us in the song sung during the opening credits: “What starts like a scary tale ends like a fairy tale…and life couldn’t possibly better be!”
The Court Jester (1956). Written, directed and produced by the team of Melvin Frank and Norman Panama (who also did the same duty on Kaye’s Knock on Wood), the spoof on sword-and-sorcery films cost a lavish $4 million to make, making it the most expensive film comedy produced at the time.
And…it tanked at the box office. Hard to believe, I know—but the picture only brought in 2.2 million in receipts. Yet it would later become a television favorite, which is where I saw it…and I’m guessing my
Morgantown friends did
as well. Come to think of it, one of
those friends and I made a weekend trip to Maryland at the end of 1999 (for a
New Year’s celebration) and made arrangements to stay with sister Debbie and
her husband Craige. We ended up watching
the movie when we came across it on one of the cable stations.
a huge fan of the film (even though I confess I love City Lights more) but I don’t think I’d quibble with its perfection—and what’s more, there are other comedies that are equally deserving of that status: Keaton’s The General, the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup, etc. But I’d definitely have to clear some brush to make sure The Court Jester was listed near the top. It’s one of the first films I purchased on DVD when I finally got a player in 1999, and every time I slip it into the player I know I’m guaranteed to be entertained and amused during its 101-minute running time. Life couldn’t possibly better be.