1955 Certificate: u


Danny Kaye is a medieval court jester who joins a plot to oust a tyrannical usurper and restore the rightful heir to the British Empire. A film for which the term madcap might have been coined, this swashbuckling musical comedy rolls merrily along, with a young Angela Lansbury playing the scheming Princess Gwendolyn. The film features an ingenious duel between Kaye and villainous stalwart Basil Rathbone as well as the famous tongue-twister monologue "Pellet-with-the-poison-in-the-vessel-with-the-pestle-not-in-the-chalice-from-the-palace..."


  • Melvin Frank

  • Norman Panama


  • Danny Kaye

  • Basil Rathbone

  • Angela Lansbury

  • Glynis Johns


Great, madcap, medieval romp with Danny Kaye at the top of his form, whether performing one of his tongue-twisting songs or fighting a cleverly comic duel with villainous Basil Rathbone.

Best of all: the sequence where Kaye is forced to joust with the most fearsome knight in the land, played by burly Robert Middleton.

One of them will have to drink from a tankard which contains a poison pellet, but each has trouble remembering whether it is in 'the chalice from the palace, the flagon with the dragon, or the vessel with the pestle'.

As they stagger towards each other muttering about pellets and pestles, you may be staggering with laughter.