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The Dumbfounded King (1991)
"El rey pasmado" (original title)

 |  Comedy  |  1 November 1991 (Spain)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 464 users  
Reviews: 3 user

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Title: The Dumbfounded King (1991)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
María Barranco ...
Lucrecia (as Maria Barranco)
...
Almeida
Laura del Sol ...
Marfisa
Gabino Diego ...
Rey
Juan Diego ...
Villaescusa
Fernando Fernán Gómez ...
Gran Inquisidor (as Fernando Fernan-Gomez)
Alejandra Grepi ...
D.ª Bárbara
Javier Gurruchaga ...
Eusebio Poncela ...
Conde La Peña Andrade
Anne Roussel ...
Reina
Luis Barbero ...
Ferrán de Valdivieso
Emma Cohen ...
Duquesa Vda. del Maestrazgo
Christine Dejoux ...
Colette
Carme Elias ...
Abadesa (as Carmen Elias)
Eulàlia Ramon ...
Paca Távora (as Eulalia Ramon)
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based on novel | See All (1) »

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Comedy

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Release Date:

1 November 1991 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

A kába király krónikája  »

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User Reviews

 
A yearning for beauty and true intimacy
6 January 2011 | by (Spain) – See all my reviews

A delightful, endearing, and fun film which is also intriguing and thought-provoking, like the terrific short novel on which it is based. Not surprisingly, the film was nominated for 14 Goyas – Spain's equivalent of the Oscars – and won eight.

The star-studded cast reads almost like a Who's Who of Spanish filmmaking in the early 1990s, featuring enshrined greats like Fernando Fernán Gómez and Juan Diego alongside then-youthful favorites like Gabino Diego and Javier Gurruchaga.

I would highlight that the excellent Portuguese actor Joaquim de Almeida, for many years now a regular in Hollywood as well as Europe, delivers an absolutely delicious performance as the Jesuit priest Almeida (no, no relation!). The intellectual Jesuits have always been suspect to the more conservative establishment in the Catholic Church, and Almeida plays the role with such subtle ambiguousness – an ambiguity that is absolutely key to developing the more complex elements of the film's plot – that long after the credits have rolled you will still be wondering about and arguing over his place in the story.

The film is also very well shot and expertly set, creating a suggestive yet realistic ambiance that is up to the level of the plot and the acting.

In perhaps his best role ever, Gabino Diego is the young Felipe IV, the homely Habsburg monarch to whom he bears a surprising resemblance. Felipe is dumbstruck by the brief sight of a naked prostitute – the Court favorite because of her exquisite beauty – which suddenly leads him to realize that he has never seen the Queen, his own lovely wife, in the buff. Why? Because although ribaldry and bawdiness were the norm for the commoners of 17th-Century Spain, the nobility and royals only had sex for procreation's sake – at least with their spouses – with floor-length nightgowns tailored with a conveniently located opening at the level of the pelvis to avoid the sins of concupiscence. Something that Felipe's equally young Bourbon Queen finds hard to understand, but she acquiesces to the customs of these oddly pious and dour Spaniards. Surrounded as he is by very conservative priests who constantly protect (and isolate) him as one of the visible heads of the Church in Spain, the naive King needs more than a little help to arrange a romantic tryst alone with the Queen, without the overbearing and antilibidinous presence of their omnipresent escorts and attendants. It is this entertaining and intriguing "foreplay" that is the backbone of the film.


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