Review: King of Hearts

Blu-ray & DVD: King of Hearts (1966)

Soldier and ornithologist Charles Plumpick (Alan Bates) is sent by his commanding officer (Adolfo Celi) to disarm a bomb that has been placed in the French town of Marville by retreating German soldiers at the end of WW1. Of course the path is not smooth and Plumpick ends up in the village insane asylum as the villagers escape the village. All that’s left are Plumpick and the inmates.

These inmates take over the town, pretending to live like normal townsfolk. Plumpick continues his mission to find the unexploded bomb with the help of the escaped inmates including his love interest Poppy (a very young and fresh Geneviève Bujold), who crowns him and refers to him as the King of Hearts.

Directed by Phillipe De BrocaKing of Hearts is a technicolour product of its time (1966) and it’s all in FRENCH. Alan Bates is one of my favourite actors so I’m biased, he’s young and so earnest and handsome is this, speaking French with conviction. He’s lovely to look at, as is the film. It does have an anti-war message and, dare I say, an ‘everyone is worthwhile, even crazy people’ vibe.

I don’t know if I wasn’t in the mood for it (it does happen) but this is a film that annoyed me. I wanted to like it so much, but I felt real relief when it finished. Then I watched it with the commentary by Wade Major who des a really admirable job and is genuinely filled with love for this film, but sadly I just did not like it, to me it’s rather fluffy and somewhat daft, but perhaps that’s the whole point.

DUAL FORMAT SPECIAL FEATURES

Limited Edition O-Card slipcase (first print run only)
• Gorgeous 1080p presentation from the Cohen Media Group 4K restoration (with a progressive encode on the DVD)
• Original LPCM mono audio
• Optional English subtitles
• Feature length audio commentary by film critic Wade Major
• Geneviève Bujold on the making of King of Hearts – an interview with the Academy Award nominated actress from 2017
• Interview with Pierre Lhomme – the cinematographer discusses working with Philippe de Broca, and the techniques used for filming King of Hearts
• Interview with Michelle de Broca – Producer and ex-wife of director Philippe de Broca talks about working on King of Hearts
• Eureka! trailer for the 2018 UK theatrical release of King of Hearts
• A collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by Philip Kemp

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Review by Tina (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Eureka Entertainment.