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Le roi de coeur
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Reviews & Ratings for
King of Hearts More at IMDbPro »Le roi de coeur (original title)

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

excellent commentary about life and war

10/10
Author: blitzebill from United States
30 December 2008

some here may say this film is outdated.

but the story and its telling are superb.

the subtleties, the wry humor, cinematography, acting are all great.

genevieve bujold is gorgeous and moving.

alan bates an excellent pick for the lead.

the twists of plot and irony of war and the insane asylum as metaphor all mesh perfectly.

there are many fine qualities in this film that will never be outdated.

i suggest there's even an undertone related to the Vietnamese conflict raging in the year this was made.

a must-see!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Best Anti-war movie ever.

10/10
Author: Mac McIlmoil (olmac@aol.com) from United States
10 March 2008

There have been many excellent anti-war movies but, to me, this one stands far out in front, largely for what it doesn't show, such as the horrors of war. Rather, King of Hearts points a finger at the insanity of war and gives us a laugh or two at the same time.

A soldier more familiar with birds than explosives is sent into a village to search for a time bomb. He fines the regular residents gone and the village populated by escaped inmates of an insane asylum (though he doesn't realize this at once).

So who is really crazy, the inmates inside the walls or the soldiers on the outside.

That film credits list Alan Bates well below top billing though he is obviously the main character.

Watch it and enjoy.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

My favorite anti-war film -- slight spoiler, maybe

10/10
Author: dancingmike from Baltimore, MD
30 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I originally saw this film the year it was released in the USA. I laughed like crazy the first time, though I knew the film was much deeper. When I returned for a second time I bit my tongue and concentrated on the real message, a very powerful one, indeed. It remains my favorite film. Have I seen better films? Sure, but this one touched my heart. It was the right film at the right time at the right place.

In the beginning, it's a real treat to see the communications specialist wandering into the recently abandoned French town carrying a cage of pigeons. This is Pvt. Plumpick, played by the late, great Alan Bates. Well, he finds the town isn't exactly abandoned and gets chased into the town's insane asylum, hiding with the patients. When he gives his name as King of Hearts (the previous name was the Duke of Clubs)the delusional patients are overjoyed to see the king return. The Germans who chased him are spooked by the crazy people and leave.

Plumpick leaves the asylum and proceeds to check out the town. He sends a two part (two pigeon) message, but one bird doesn't make it through. Then he gets knocked out by a falling pole. When he awakes the town is busy with people, but as he wanders around he sees some very odd things. His messages are equally odd and confuse the already confused British general. What they do manage to deduce is that there probably is some kind of bomb set to go off at midnight. Finally Plumpick finds out it's the asylum patients who have come into the city and assumed roles. Of course, they are thrilled to find the King and the fun really begins.

Some comments focus on the patients not being really insane, but in those days, unless the family was very rich, anyone in the family who was "off" usually got packed off to an asylum to avoid stigmatizing the family. Plus most families expected their children to work and those "off" kids were of little use to them. Also,lots of people believed insanity might be a transmittable disease. We know better these days.

The inmates have their time in the city in their various roles. They are still delusional and mostly act like children with new toys. Look for Michel Seurralt as the hairdresser, who will play Albin/Zaza in the La Cage aux Folles films. When I watch the film now -- I've watched it so many times I've lost count -- I like to focus on specific characters, and have grown to love everyone in the town.

Things move along and, of course, this dreamland can't last forever. But if you think the wonderful part about the patients running the town was theater of the absurd, just wait, the best of that is yet to come. And I can't imagine any other way the film could have ended. A very powerful conclusion adorned by the insanity of theater of the absurd. Ionesco has nothing on De Broca! Just a beautiful film that occupies a permanent space in my heart and mind.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Exquisite and Magical

10/10
Author: pres10514 from United States
17 February 2007

In 1967, my young husband and I blundered on this movie as part of a double feature. We were waiting to see the beginning of another movie that we had watched from the middle, having arrived late, as was customary at that time. As this masterpiece, unheralded to us, unfolded, we turned to each other in wonder. Later, we learned of its highly deserved cult status.

I was unaware that the 60's were to be a golden age of cinema; one needs distance to appreciate this. Le Roi de Coeur is elegant, beautiful, visually charming, humorous, and finely acted. And in the service of a serious theme, as well. Most highly recommended, and far above current movie productions of any type.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

During the war a soldier comes to a small town. Everybody has left, except the "loonies " in a Mental Hospital.

10/10
Author: rosina22do9 from Brazil
10 July 2006

One of the best films I have ever seen. I was a child when I saw it and I still remember how it touched me.Alan Bates is superb and I found Genevieve Bujold very pretty and talented.I can't remember details, but I'm sure I could not take my eyes off the screen.I went with my parents and my sister and we kept talking about the film for almost a week at dinner time.After seeing this film I tried to keep track of Alan Bates and I was never disappointed. I remember him in " Zorba " with Anthony Quinn. I have been trying to find the DVD to rent, but I couldn't find it anywhere in Brazil. I also tried to follow Genevieve Bujold's career , but the last time I saw her act was In " Twins " with Jeremy Irons. I recommend ' The King of Hearts " to all people and I sometimes mention it to my students.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

King of Hearts is good cinema

9/10
Author: from Newport VT
26 May 2006

I watched this film initially in the 1970s, when as a student at UMaine, one of the local theaters ran it every night for several years. At the time, it seemed rather silly, but as Monty Python was pretty big on campus, it seemed to fit right in. Fast forward to 2006 when I saw it was being run on one of the movie channels. It was tremendous. Not a knee-slapper, but it was not intended to be.

As the French village is emptied of the normal citizens during WWI in the wake of the German army booby trapping the town, the British Army sends in a solitary soldier after being tipped off about the plan. The only residents remaining are those who reside in the local insane asylum. The soldier takes on the role of the King of Hearts as he hides among the residents when some of the Germans double back to check on the booby trap.

The residents leave the asylum and take on the roles of normal citizens in bright costume without a care in the world as the soldier strives to decode the secret of the booby trap in time. It is a good film to watch which can make you sit back and realize that maybe, just maybe. we all take life a little too seriously sometimes, instead of enjoying the moment.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A charmer, and here's an interesting bit of trivia about it!

10/10
Author: odit13 from United States
2 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In case anyone is wondering how a town that small could have had that many lunatics, enough to support an insane asylum and fill it with enough people to convincingly "populate" the town once they were let out - - - - well, back then it WAS possible! The people in the asylum were probably being portrayed (in the memory of the story-teller, or possibly on the basis of a "folk-legend" used as the basis of the tale) as suffering from what is called "general paresis of the insane". It was a kind of mental illness characterized by delusions of grandeur and imaginary personal accomplishments, like being a general, a duke or millionaire or the king (or, like in all the old jokes, Napoleon!). It was caused by syphilis, and was not all that rare in the days before penicillin.

"The King of Hearts" is a charming little fairy-tale love story, with a sub-plot message about the complete insanity of war. I know of no person who has seen it who DIDN'T fall in love with it. A word of warning about the rental availability, though. Be sure you get the sub-titled version (it's cool how the film is made 1/3 in English, 1/3 in French, and 1/3 in German!); there is a "dubbed" version out there somewhere, and it's a disaster.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Am I the only one who thought about the 2nd midnight??

9/10
Author: roryimdb from United States
16 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Am I the only person who wondered about the 2nd time the clock strikes midnight?? Clearly Plumpick doesn't disconnect the bomb's wiring: he merely interposes his body between the two switch contacts (the bell and the knight). The knight goes back, ready to strike again. Did I miss something?

I saw this movie when it first came out and remembered loving it. Funny, when I watched it again, I realized I remembered NOTHING about it! But I still thought it was a wonderful film, but having forgotten it, I was positive there would be a surprise ending. Well, there was, but still...what happens 24 hours later??

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Magic Town

8/10
Author: writers_reign
7 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The lunatic asylum as a metaphor is not of course original and has been employed in films as diverse as The Balcony and Folle Embellie but this one has an added element of charm that works heavily in its favour. Initially it's hard to accept Adolfo Celli as a Scottish officer or indeed Alan Bates as a Scottish soldier much less an ornithologist but as soon as the French actors are rolled out (almost literally) it picks up and is off and running. Micheline Presle is particularly striking and at one level the film is worthy of her daughter, Tonie Marshall, a more than accomplished director, but all the inmates have their moments - indeed De Broca seems to have deliberately provided each one with his or her moment in the sun so that the film is at its strongest as an ensemble piece although Genvieve Bujold's chocolate box beauty tends to catch the eye whenever she appears. The plot has been dealt with elsewhere but just for the record it's kick-started by one of those World War One blunders that were obviously commonplace and seem funny now but probably less so at the time especially to those on the receiving end; ornithologist Bates is mistaken by his Colonel for an explosives expert and ordered to diffuse the bombs thought to have been planted by the Germans prior to evacuating the town (along with the residents). Nothing Bates can say can deter the Colonel from sending an unqualified man to do a job for which he lacks both training and expertise and the upshot is that Bates inadvertently releases the inmates of the local asylum who then with the logic of a dream assume the clothes and roles of the townspeople. There's a fine sense of colour in the costumes, possibly inspired by Minelli but essentially it achieves its effects by a charm offensive. Highly recommended.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Ranks up there with Dr. Strangelove

10/10
Author: w-chisholm from United States
26 September 2005

The King of Hearts is the quintessential human comedy expressed in a flawless film. Every scene is trimmed to ITS essentials and integrated into the whole, and the rollicking hilarity and chaos is woven elegantly into the whole. Alan Bates, of course, never improved on his performance in subsequent films, yet his filmography exhibits a stunningly consistent high voltage presence, albeit in an occasional mannered (Batesian) style upon occasion. The rest of the cast, down to the idiotic soldiers of all ranks ("Et je aussi" !!) and up to all the 'eccentrics' give us screwball antics that have rarely been equaled (let One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest be admitted into the same category of greatness). Even Susan Sontag might have chuckled.

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