King of Hearts

King of Hearts

Alan Bates
Director: Philippe de Broca Cast: Alan Bates
Alan Bates
, Geneviève Bujold
Geneviève Bujold
, Jean-Claude Brialy
Jean-Claude Brialy
Philippe de Broca


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The French/Italian/British King of Hearts (Le Roi de Coeur) takes place during World War I, but it might as well have been the Vietnamese conflict so far as its youthful "core" audience was concerned. Overacting outrageously, Adolfo Celi plays British colonel Alexander MacBibenbrook, who orders mild-mannered Scotsman Pvt. Charles Plumpick (Alan Bates) to undertake a life-or-death mission in a tiny French village. While evacuating the town, the Germans have left behind a time bomb that will explode at midnight; Plumpick must defuse that bomb. Upon his arrival in town, Plumpick discovers that it is far from deserted. A group of inmates from the local insane asylum, left behind during the evacuation, have claimed the village for their own. Knocked unconscious, Plumpick awakens to learn that he has been crowned "King of Hearts" by the gentle lunatics. None of the inmates pay any heed to Plumpick's warnings about impending doom, and when he attempts to lead them out of town, they are terrified at the prospect and scurry back to the "safety" of the village. Plumpick is finally able to render the bomb useless, whereupon the grateful inmates decide to stage a three-year celebration. When Plumpick tries to leave, he is kidnapped by the loonies at the behest of beautiful inmate Coquelicot (Geneviève Bujold), who has fallen in love with him. Bound and gagged, Plumpick watches helplessly as the Germans and the British troops kill each other off in comic-opera fashion. Finally set free, Plumpick weighs the horrible insanity of war against the more benign brand of lunacy represented by the inmates. The final image -- of a nude Plumpick carrying a birdcage, knocking on the doors of the asylum, and demanding that he be "accepted" -- was reproduced for the print ads of King of Hearts, effectively giving away the ending. An essential "date" film of the 1970s, King of Hearts was often released to campus movie houses in tandem with a pair of cult-favorite short subjects, the animated Bambi Meets Godzilla and Lenny Bruce's Thank You Masked Man.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/12/2018
UPC: 0741952839293
Original Release: 1966
Rating: NR
Source: Cohen Media Group
Time: 1:42:00

Special Features

Feature length audio commentary track by Wade Major, film critic with NPR affiliate KPCC-FM and co-host/producer of the IGN DigiGods podcast; New conversation between Geneviève Bujold and IndieWire's Anne Thompson; New interview with cinematographer Pierre Lhomme; 2018 re-release trailer; French re-release trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alan Bates Pvt. Charles Plumpick
Geneviève Bujold Coquelicot
Jean-Claude Brialy The Duke--Le Duc de Trefle
Julien Guiomar Bishop Daisy--Monseigneur Marguerite
Pierre Brasseur Gen. Geranium
Micheline Presle Mme. Eglantine
Michel Serrault Hairdresser
Françoise Christophe The Duchess
Pier Paolo Capponi Actor
Jacques Balutin Mac Fish
Daniel Boulanger Col. Helmut Von Krack
Adolfo Celi Col. Alexander MacBibenbrook
Marc Dudicourt Lt. Hamburger
Palau Alberic

Technical Credits
Philippe de Broca Director,Producer
Daniel Boulanger Screenwriter
Robert Christides Set Decoration/Design
Francois de Lamothe Art Director
Georges Delerue Score Composer
Jacques Fonteray Costumes/Costume Designer
Francoise Javet Editor
Pierre Lhomme Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- King of Hearts
1. The Knight Strikes At Midnight [9:47]
2. King Of The Fools [9:24]
3. Local Color [12:07]
4. Private Pumpernickel Has Gone Crackers [10:03]
5. Coronation Day [9:13]
6. Long Live The King [9:02]
7. High Wire Queen [10:03]
8. The Wicked World [9:05]
9. Midnight [10:15]
10. The Liberators [12:56]
11. End Credits [1:08]

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