7.5/10
3,444
62 user 34 critic

King of Hearts (1966)

Le roi de coeur (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Comedy, War | 19 June 1967 (USA)
During World War I, a British private, sent ahead to a French town to scout for enemy presence, is mistaken for a King by the colorful patients of an insane asylum.

Director:

Philippe de Broca

Writers:

Daniel Boulanger (scenario and dialogue), Maurice Bessy (idea)
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1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marc Dudicourt Marc Dudicourt ... Lieutenant Hamburger
Daniel Boulanger Daniel Boulanger ... Le Colonel Von Krack
Paul Faivre Paul Faivre ... Le Coiffeur
Jacques Mauclair Jacques Mauclair ... Le Maire
Pier Paolo Capponi ... Un Officier Anglais (as Paolo Capponi)
Jacques Balutin Jacques Balutin ... Le Sergent Mac Fish
Adolfo Celi ... Le Colonel Mac Bibenbrook (as Adolfo Celli)
Alan Bates ... Le Soldat Charles Plumpick
Pierre Brasseur ... Le Général Géranium
Michel Serrault ... Monsieur Marcel
Jean-Claude Brialy ... Le Duc de Trèfle
Julien Guiomar ... Monseigneur Marguerite
Micheline Presle ... Madame Eglantine
Françoise Christophe ... La Duchesse
Geneviève Bujold ... Coquelicot
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Storyline

During the latter part of World War I, Private Charles Plumpick is chosen to go into the French town of Marville and disconnect a bomb that the German Army has planted. However, Charles is chased by some Germans, and finds himself holed up at the local insane asylum, where the inmates are convinced that he is the "King of Hearts". Feeling obligated to help the inmates, Charles attempts to lead them out of town, but they are afraid to leave, and frolic about the streets in gay costumes. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

De Broca's Crowning Triumph!

Genres:

Drama | Comedy | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Philippe de Broca played a soldier named "Adolf", who has a mustache like Hitler, in one of the first scenes. See more »

Goofs

After the battle in the town, after all the British and German soldiers kill each other and the reinforcements arrive, one German Soldier is clearly moving, adjusting his helmet, and then "playing" dead. See more »

Quotes

Coquelicot: What's under their kilts?
Monseigneur Marguerite: Nothing!
Madame Eva alias Madame Eglantine: You mean everything!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits rise and then fall to coincide with the sound of a large clock. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Dead End (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

La Valse Tordue
Written and Performed by Georges Delerue Et Son Orchestre
See more »

User Reviews

 
Subversive Anti-War Fairy Tale
10 November 2005 | by martin-941See all my reviews

Perhaps I am biased because the female lead, Genevieve Bujold (Coquelicot / Poppy) reminds me of a young French girl whom I fell in love with, and then lost, 40 years ago - the very same year that I first saw the film (1966 or early 1967).

But personal memories apart, it is stunning to watch how French director Philippe de Broca managed to fuse hilarious fun and melancholy reflection in a mold that is an incredible mixture. There is fairy tale, commedia dell'arte, circus, slapstick, comedy, romance - and World War I carnage. Among the supporting roles, the cast features some of the foremost French actors of those times; and it is obvious that they enjoyed every bit of it, especially as they put in a number of biting quips along with marvelous cameos.

This is what happens: For one day Private Charles Plumpick (Alan Bates) becomes, rather against his will, the mock king of a group of lunatics. This motley crowd have escaped from their asylum and have temporarily taken possession of a deserted town in Northern France between the 1918 front lines. Eventually Plumpick owes it to his lunatic friends that he survives when his Scottish battalion and their German counterpart meet in battle. There seems to be no way out of the madness of war. But don't miss the penultimate scene! (Rumour has it that it was censored in the American version at the time...)

My favorite scene is when young, innocent Coquelicot takes the shortest way from the brothel (well - it's a French film, isn't it?) to the town hall to meet her loved one, the King of Hearts - using two telegraph wires as a tightrope.

Why the film was a flop in its own country, and why neither a DVD or at least a video tape is available in France, I simply do not understand. Is it because only the French speak French but the Scots speak English and the Germans speak German? (Note de Broca himself, very early in the film, in a 5 second cameo as Private Adolf Hitler!) No need to worry - there are subtitles to help you along. Actually the DVD recently on sale in the USA *is* the original French version! Subtitled, and uncensored, to be sure.

I cannot deny that the film does have its shortcomings. The story is somewhat inconsistent, there seem to be goofs galore, continuity is lousy. But then it seems that de Broca had to make do with a lousy budget, too. And what he has created is essentially a dream which opposes to the nightmare of war a vision of humanity. In such dreams inconsistency, goofs and lousy continuity do not really matter. So it is still 10 out of 10.


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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French | English | German

Release Date:

19 June 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

King of Hearts See more »

Filming Locations:

Senlis, Oise, France

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,443, 25 February 2018

Gross USA:

$17,646

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,130
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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