Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: Le Roi De Coeur
France/Italy, 1966. Fildebroc, Les Productions Artistes Associes, Compagnia Cinematografica Montoro. Scenario and dialogue by Daniel Boulanger, based on an idea by Maurice Bessy. Cinematography by Pierre Lhomme. Produced by Philippe de Broca, Michelle de Broca. Music by Georges Delerue. Production Design by Francois de Lamothe. Costume Design by Jacques Fonteray. Film Editing by Francoise Javet.
Immensely charming war comedy that was embraced by counter-culture youth in the late sixties and eventually became a minor cult classic. Directed by Philippe de Broca (That Man From Rio) and set at the end of World War I, it stars Alan Bates as a Scottish infantryman and “communications specialist” (he takes care of the homing pigeons) who is sent into a tiny French hamlet and ordered to find the location of a German bunker. It seems that his superior officers have received word of a bombing that is about to take place to prevent their passing through the town, whose residents fled when they heard the news and left the streets at the mercy of the members of the local insane asylum. When the nutty but lovably quirky asylum inmates take over the town, you’ve got a brilliant comedy of manners that has much to say about human nature and the scary reality of war…after all, in times of battle, who can say what is sanity? Lively, colourful, funny and poignantly sweet, this is a wonderful experience.