So much like Robin Hood that they hired the same actor to play the villain. But, you know, funny. (1 hr 41 min)
Poisoning and sword-fighting are played for laughs. A cart full of “wenches” are rounded up for the king’s entertainment. The non-sexual use of “make love.” As part of a sight gag someone appears to lose his head. A performing troupe of little people (“Hermine’s Midgets”) plays a featured role in the comedy-action finale.
The Duke ducked, the Doge dodged
“They broke the chalice from the palace.” With that small piece of news, a bit of mnemonic stumbling devolves into complete and glorious nonsense, as two not-especially-bright adversaries struggle to remember which of two drinks has the poison in it. This musical-comedy knockoff of The Adventures of Robin Hood was designed to showcase the physical and verbal comedy of Danny Kaye. He makes the most of a hypnotic spell that transforms him from a swashbuckling hero into a panicky wreck with the mere snap of a finger—even in the middle of his climactic fencing duel with Basil Rathbone. Also: I already knew about the young Angela Lansbury. What I did not know about was the young Glynis Johns.* Straight dads may consider themselves warned. —
*(The mom from Mary Poppins)