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King of Hearts Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

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 Geneviève Bujold and Lenny Bruce's Thank You Masked Man. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast

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

Crew

Philippe de Broca
Director
Philippe de Broca
Producer
Daniel Boulanger
Screenwriter
Pierre Lhomme
Cinematographer
Georges Delerue
Composer (Music Score)
Francoise Javet
Editor
Robert Christides
Set Designer
Jacques Fonteray
Costume Designer
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