Directors: Melvin Frank, Norman Panama
Cast: Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone
Release Date: January 26, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 6.5/10
Celebrating its 65th Anniversary, Paramount’s beloved madcap musical debuts on Blu-ray, beautifully remastered from a 6K film transfer of the original VistaVision negative. In this swashbuckling comic farce, star Danny Kaye is kind-hearted entertainer Hawkins who disguises himself as the legendary king of jesters, Giacomo. Hawkins infiltrates the court of an evil villain (Basil Rathbone), but when a sorceress hypnotizes him, royal chaos ensues. Alternating identities at the snap of a finger, between swordplay and wordplay, Kaye’s comic genius shines through. The stellar supporting cast includes Glynis Johns, Angela Lansbury, Mildred Natwick, Cecil Parker, and John Carradine.
Please Note: Paramount Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
You can also check out our reviews for the other releases in the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line by clicking on each title below!
The delightfully silly 1950’s classic ‘The Court Jester’ tells the tale of kind and heartfelt entertainer Hawkins (portrayed by Danny Kaye) who finds himself forced to take on the disguise of a legendary jester in order to infiltrate the kingdom where a vengeful and unforgiving murderer has claimed the throne. Dedicated and intent to have the bravery to accomplish his mission, things take a hilarious turn when a sorceress puts a spell on him resulting in increasingly chaotic situations occurring throughout the kingdom. Now, this beloved 1956 madcap musical comedy arrives home on Blu-ray in high definition for the first time ever for fans to experience like never before and a whole new generation to discover for the first time.
The 1956 comedy classic ‘The Court Jester’ comes home on Blu-ray for the first time ever as the thirteenth title in the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line which features various noteworthy films from Paramount’s expansive library spanning multiple decades and all featuring new 4K remasters (or in this case 6K) along with collectible packaging and some extras. ‘The Court Jester’ makes another welcome installment in the line and the wonderfully goofy comedy written, produced and directed by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama and starring comedy legend Danny Kaye, along with Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury and Cecil Parker still delivers an enjoyable, light-hearted and humorous adventure worth taking sixty-five years after its initial release, even for those such as me that weren’t around back when it was released and never had the pleasure of this beloved piece of cinema. Fans of this kindhearted fantasy-comedy should be truly thrilled with its Blu-ray debut and will almost surely want to make a point of picking up a copy at some point in the foreseeable future. Even if the release may be somewhat light in the bonus content department, the fantastic new high definition video presentation and more than satisfactory soundtrack alone will probably still make this one a must own for many.
Overall, the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘The Court Jester’ brings home the lovable 1956 comedy on Blu-ray for the first time ever. Serving up a beautifully remastered high definition video presentation from a 6K transfer of the original VistaVision negative and complimented by a quite solid dual-mono DTS-HD MA soundtrack, all of the wonderful costumes, sets and songs look and sound downright marvelous and while I don’t have much prior knowledge of the film it seems safe to say that it has likely never looked or sounded nearly as magnificent as it does here. Fans of ‘The Court Jester’ should be thrilled with what the film’s long-awaited Blu-ray debut has to offer in the way of the feature presentation, even if a bit lite on the bonus material. The release is definitely recommended for any fans of the film that are contemplating a purchase.
The ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘The Court Jester’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation remastered from a 6K film transfer of the Original VistaVision negative, and with a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. This beautifully remastered video presentation is quite the treat and provides a clean, smooth and richly detailed presentation from start to finish with no notable faults or problems to be uncovered along the way. It holds up admirably even during the more heavily populated sequences, never allowing anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a magnificent high definition presentation from Paramount that should thoroughly satisfy fans of this comedy classic that have been anxiously awaiting its arrival on Blu-ray.
The Blu-ray release features a 2.0 channel dual-mono DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This 2.0 soundtrack delivers a crisp, clean and nicely balanced dual mono soundtrack that is quite likely the best that the film has ever sounded. It captures the original songs, plus dialogue, effects and everything else and never allows one audio element to conflict with any dialogue or other elements that might be occurring simultaneously, always ensuring that the nature effects, down to the singing and background chatter all remain clean and unobstructed every step of the way. Overall, this is a solid 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers quite beautifully throughout and shouldn’t disappoint the fans.
The ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘The Court Jester’ arrives home featuring the standard collectible packaging available on the ‘Paramount Presents’ lineup which includes a slipcase that opens up with a larger version of the film’s original theatrical poster artwork and more photos on the interior of the actual Blu-ray case insert (a beauty shot of the artwork from the studio is included below like usual for a better idea of what to expect). The actual Blu-ray disc itself also includes the new Featurette ‘Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on The Court Jester’ (running approximately 7 minutes in length), in addition to the film’s ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (running approximately 2 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 6.5/10
‘The Court Jester’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray for the First Time, Newly Remastered as part of the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line from Paramount Home Entertainment
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