6.0/10
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6 user 2 critic

King, Queen, Knave (1972)

On the death of his parents, Frank, a romantic teenager, moves in with his aunt and uncle He quickly falls in love with his beautiful, sophisticated aunt, Martha, and begins to fantasize ... See full summary »

Director:

Jerzy Skolimowski

Writers:

Vladimir Nabokov (novel), David Seltzer | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
David Niven ... Charles Dreyer
Gina Lollobrigida ... Martha Dreyer
John Moulder-Brown ... Frank
Mario Adorf ... Prof. Ritter
Carl Duering ... Enricht (as Carl Fox-Duering)
Christine Schuberth ... Isolda
Erica Beer Erica Beer ... Frieda
Felicitas Peters Felicitas Peters ... Ida
Christopher Sandford ... Hofmann
Sonia Hoffman Sonia Hoffman ... Sonia (as Sonia Hofmann)
Barbara Valentin ... Optician
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Elma Karlowa ... Hanna
Mogens von Gadow Mogens von Gadow ... Piffke
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Storyline

On the death of his parents, Frank, a romantic teenager, moves in with his aunt and uncle He quickly falls in love with his beautiful, sophisticated aunt, Martha, and begins to fantasize about her. Frank is torn between his adolescent desires and his fondness for his Uncle Charles. Written by Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

West Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

February 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Herzbube See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Niven and director Jerzy Skolimowski planned to re-team immediately on " The Barbary Light " based on the Penelope Mortimer novel, but the failure of " King, Queen, Knave " led to its cancellation. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Interview mit John Moulder-Brown (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Voskin
written and performed by Tom Winter Jr.
electronics by Francis Monkman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Far from being king of movies
5 May 2012 | by hte-trasmeSee all my reviews

I watched this film adaptation shortly after reading the Vladimir Nabokov novel on which it's based. I realize that doesn't necessarily do a film many favors in terms of predisposing one towards it, but even with that taken into account I don't think the film of "King, Queen, Knave" fares very well.

There would be no way really to reproduce that wonderful texture of the prose work, but in the adaptation somebody also seems to have systematically extracted all characterization and subtlety, leaving only a bare outline events. Slapstick comedy is played up but not timed well, so characters stumble over each other time after time in sequences that last too long.

Events are carried over in the writing of the adaptation with their significance stripped away, so that we seem to be hearing about a chauffeur dying for no narrative reason. Martha says she's surprised Frank (who in print was Franz) hasn't come round in three days, when moments earlier he was agonizing over a reason to visit for the first time.

The dichotomy between aggressively conventional Martha and the whimsical, creative Dreyer - central in how I read the book - falls by the wayside. Dreyer (who was Kurt and is now Charles) is less a curious, joking sort than a driven, slightly imperious executive type. David Niven gives a good, relaxed performance, but, with one scene of practical joking left in and others of business acumen played up, the character he's playing doesn't feel complete.

Gina Lollobrigida is a talented, magnetic personality and it's always a pleasure to watch her, in visual and acting terms. Here, though, she is given nothing more to do than be seductive and ruthless. She does it well, but it's a limited role. John Moulder-Brown grossly overplays Frank as so ineffectual that he's often almost incapable for speaking. It reaches the point of being not only ineffective but simply irritating to watch. Similarly Mario Adorf's interpretation of the inventor Ritter seems to be so full of broad strokes and "comedy" faces that it becomes an unfunny distraction.

There are a number of a sequences where dream images break into the narrative, but these clatter on so unsubtly that their surrealism becomes a puzzling distraction rather than an explication of the narrative.

"King, Queen, Knave" leaves logic, character, and atmosphere behind to play up comedy -- without getting any laughs. The best that can be said is that it's nice to watch Lollobrigida and Niven enjoying themselves in some pleasant scenery. On the whole, it;s not worth bothering.


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