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A King Without Distraction (1963)

Un roi sans divertissement (original title)
A policeman and a serial killer play cat and mouse in an isolated mountain village in Nineteenth century France.


Jean Giono


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Complete credited cast:
Claude Giraud ... Capitaine Langlois
Colette Renard Colette Renard ... Clara
Charles Vanel ... Le procureur du Roi
Pierre Repp Pierre Repp ... Ravanel
Albert Rémy ... Le maire
René Blancard ... Le curé


One Winter in the Ninetenth century. A mysterious crime has been committed in an isolated village of the Aubrac region. A retired prosecutor who lives there asks Langlois, a police captain, to investigate the case. The police officer accepts, settles down in the village and, by dint of obstinacy, winds up finding out who committed the murder. But, while tracking down the slayer, Langlois also discovers something very unpleasant about himself, he too loves killing... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »









Release Date:

30 August 1963 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

A King Without Distraction See more »

Filming Locations:

Les Hermaux, Lozère, France See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Les Films Jean Giono See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex System)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Having made friends with Jean Giono, Édouard Molinaro was asked by the writer to co-write and direct the film. They did write a first draft of the script and went as far as to scout locations in the Aubrac region but the project failed for production reasons. François Leterrier took over two years later. See more »


Pourquoi faut-il que les hommes s'ennuient?
Written, Composed and interpreted by Jacques Brel
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User Reviews

30 April 2008 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

This is François Leterrier's second film ,and along with his first effort "Les Mauvais Coups" ,it can be considered his best.The rest of his career,with the eventual exception of "Projection Privée" is almost worthless ("Emmanuelle","Va Voir Maman Papa Travaille" ).It's extraordinary he fell so quickly after his ambitious debut.

"Un Roi Sans Divertissement" is an anomaly in the French sixties.It has nothing to do with the nouvelle vague (who said fortunately?) and nothing to do with the old one either.Its cast is bizarre:Claude Giraud,de la Comedy Française, was essentially a stage actor,mainly known for a supporting part in the "Angelique Marquise des Anges " saga and Colette Renard was a singer , an occasional actress.Charles Vanel was the only household name ( "Le Salaire de la Peur" ,"Les Diaboliques" and "To catch a Thief").A Jacques Brel song (not intended for the film) "Pourquoi Faut -il Que Les Hommes S'Ennuient?" "(=why must men be bored?)is heard during the credits .

A rural thriller involving a serial killer ,a "man like you and me" ,an officer who investigates in a small village surrounded by snow ;he is housed in a middle age woman's café (who was once a madam). The screenplay displays weaknesses -it's difficult to believe the final behavior of the hero-and the dialog is too poetic,too literary. Jean Giono was more convincing when he showed his pacifism in other works than when he tries his hand at metaphysical considerations.

What is really fascinating is the cinematography ,the atmosphere which the director creates: the search in the snow where human people look like giant insects from a distance ,a search which looks like an entertainment:the moment when they share a delicious chef's special paté is revealing.Sometimes the picture almost turns black and white.And I've rarely seen a more inventive way of filming a church.

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