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I think that people are generally harsh towards the nature of this film. It is not meant to be entirely accurate and yes, perhaps I am slightly biased having starred in the film myself (Jason Richards (I) on IMDb). You will see that I played the role of Ralph II, the little guy who played that tiny piano/ keyboard at the end of the film! Having looked at the film again recently, I regard it as one of those classic comedies not to be mocked. I had great fun when acting in the film and I had just as much fun watching it! John Goodman really is the greatest of guys (although the size of him really scared me when I met him!) I suggest to everyone who mocks this film, that this is one of the reasons he became so great in the movie world. If it wasn't for King Ralph, he would have never got to the Flintstones or any of the other films which have come to make him so renowned.
Though this film got trashed in a lot of circles, I rather like it if
for no other reasons than it gives Americans some notion of the
function of the monarchy in Great Britain.
Sometimes having the head of state and the head of government does have its bad points. Watergate for instance might have not been the gut wrenching experience if in America we were a parliamentary democracy with a royal head of state. Richard Nixon would have been put up for a "no confidence" vote and out he would have been without all the drama.
Drama on the other side of the Atlantic is saved for the Royals. This film might give an American some idea of what the abdication crisis was all about. John Goodman as the American born King has his own Mrs. Simpson.
In fact how he got to the throne is quite the tale. On some grand occasion the extended royal family got together for what looks like a team picture like they take in spring training of the various baseball rosters. Someone left a loose electrical cable dangling on the metal bleachers and the whole lot of them were electrocuted.
Genealogists poured through the Windham family tree and found some member had renounced it all and gone to America. The heir of that forgotten branch is John Goodman, Ralph Jones who does a lounge act in Las Vegas and not in classier joints in Las Vegas.
Of course the free and easy and thoroughly American Goodman doesn't take readily to his new found job. He can't quite comprehend that he has to serve as well as be served. And he has the same problem the Duke of Windsor had when he was briefly Edward VIII. With a lot more excuse since Windsor was brought up in the tradition.
Peter O'Toole as the lord who tries to give him some on the job training and John Hurt who has his own reasons for wanting Goodman to flop both give stand out performances. Best scene the palace ball for Goodman's prospective bride when Goodman does his lounge act.
It's a funny film and in its own way educational. The Duke of Windsor should have seen it. His duty would have been clear.
I confess that "King Ralph" is one of my favorite movies. Yes, the
basic plot concept of the film has been done in MANY stories, both
written and filmed, but the superb acting coupled with the
not-so-subtle jabs at British Royalty push the plot right over the top.
Never mind that John Goodman is brilliant (as usual), but the well-done
and loosely-serious role of Peter O'Toole adds a much needed anchor to
Mr. Goodman's highly-anticipated antics. The filming locations of the
film as well provide a truly beautiful backdrop to the production,
steeped strongly in tradition and British heritage. Two thumbs up for
this light-hearted comedy that dares to poke at some of the more
serious issues of royal responsibility and pressure.
Highly recommended for fun entertainment, I give "King Ralph" a 9 out of 10.
"King Ralph" was surprisingly entertaining and very funny, actually.
However outrageous, implausible, ridiculous the plot, that doesn't
matter. It was deliciously over the top to see Peter O'Toole and John
Goodman, the most unlikely team ever, provide the spectacle of a
cultural clash, to say the least. The movie cheerfully mocks both
American and British culture and stereotypes, but it does it rather
playfully, without being offensive to anybody. The joke is either on
the hamburger and baseball loving Americans, or the stiff conservatory
high-class Brits. People who describe this movie as "low-brow" comedy
obviously have no idea what that means. This is good quality humor, no
crude and tasteless jokes here. The actors are all top-rate and the
acting is first class.
Who could have played the majestic, royal British type better than Peter O'Toole? Nobody! He's perfect, graceful and dignified as the King's adviser. John Goodman, on the other hand, is perfect as the average joe who doesn't know or care much about protocol, good manners or politics. John Hurt is another excellent choice to play the part of an evil, unscrupulous aristocrat hung up on power. Hurt obviously enjoyed doing this part and he's very funny. The movie tends to drag when Goodman's girlfriend shows up, but Princess Anna enters the stage to compensate. There are also some unnecessary exaggerations, but I didn't mind. The script is good, the jokes are over the top and performances are great all around. Hilarious stuff!
This seems to get a panning from film reviewers here, but it actually
is a good comedy. The story line is mildly stupid and a replay of the
old fish-out-of-water formula, but the British were able to add a
fantastic flavour to the film and the comedy is kept in check and
doesn't become too outlandishly stupid.
Thumbs up in my view, but it's a little bit date these days. Superb supporting cast and a friendly film: nothing crude and from recollection, no bad language.
Goes to show that it can still be done if you really apply your mind to it!
It's not stupid, it's charming. A bit old-fashioned and corny, yes, but
entertaining and amusing and well worth the time! I just saw this for the
second time on cable TV and liked it just as much as the first time!
Goodman performs bravely and exquisitely as the good-hearted buffoon who overcomes the stuffiness and snobbishness of a group of bluebloods too good for their own bodily functions.
Although I own the DVD, whenever King Ralph show up on television I watch it all the way through. This is a clever satire sending up both the pretentiousness of the British monarchy and the crassness of American society. Peter O'Toole and John Goodman....both gifted actors give this film real depth in their nuanced performances. William Hurt's over the top performance as the villainous pretender to the throne is pitch perfect, and the supporting cast, including the aides to the King, the visiting Roals from Finland, the African King and Ralph's love interest are solid, leaving this movie without a weak performance. There is something in this for everyone; romance, betrayal, friendship, and a fast moving plot with just the right kinds of twists and turns that keep the pace of this relatively short movie moving right along.
I wasn't sure whether King Ralph would be my style, seeing how much the critics panned it. But when I watched it, I was surprised at how much I liked it. It is not perfect, but one of the worst films ever? No, far from it. It is enjoyable, despite the sometimes weak script, uneven direction and one or two parts that felt rather slow and contrived. What redeems it though is the cast. John Goodman amiably bumbles his way through his role and gives some charm into a character that could have been bland and uninteresting, and Peter O'Toole and John Hurt seem to be having a whale of a time as the adviser and scheming courtier. Also, the film does actually look nice, the cinematography is good and the scenery is lovely. The soundtrack and score were enjoyable as well. Overall, it has its problems, but it isn't a bad film by all means. 7/10 Bethany Cox
John Goodman stars as the title monarch in this royal comedy.
Ralph is a Las Vegas lounge singer badly in the need for some
moolah when a group of British councilmen approach him one night
and bear him the news that Ralph is the new king of England
after the whole royal family has been wiped out in a freak
accident! Reluctantly, Ralph takes the job. At first, he seems
like a fish out of water, the fact being that he is an American
first of all, and that he is also a total slob! Being king might
not be so good after all.
This movie is funny because Goodman does a nice job being a
lovable slob trying his best to be the royal figurehead of the
Britain. Peter O'Toole is also good as Willingham, the
aristocrat whose job is to look after the newly appoi
When the entire British royal family is wiped out in an "awful" accident, the American bar entertainer Ralph Jones (excellent: John Goodman, he makes up for most of the boring parts of the plot) becomes the new King of England. After a few adjustment problems with his new job (clothing, manners etc.) he falls in love with a young woman he meets at a local strip club. Problems emerge when his secretary tries to marry him to the Finnish princess to seal a business deal for a few English companies. All in all, a good movie with some great lines but also some boring parts.
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