Every family has a selection of movies that they watch over and over again. The King of Hearts is the second VHS tape we ever bought, right after Harold and Maude. It really surprises me that so many people have never heard of this French classic. Turning someone on to it could be the best gift you have ever given them.
The storyline follows the naive and bumbling Colonel Plumpick (Alan Bates) as he is sent on a mission to detonate a bomb hidden in a sleepy French village by the Germans during WWI. Unbenownst to either side, the townspeople have abandoned the village to the inhabitants of the local asylum. As Plumpick searches for the bomb he is constantly thwarted by the alternate agendas of the town’s quirky new inhabitats. As the war rages on, we begin to see its futility through the eyes of these innocents.
The King of Hearts (“Le Roi de Coeur“) is the perfect crowd-pleaser. Filmed in 1966 when Alan Bates and Genevieve Bujold were at the height of their adorability, it makes for a romantic and touching love story. The banter and antics are hilarious, especially the boisterous and puffy-chested Scottish Commander and the eccentric new town barber.
Director Philippe de Broca is able to tread the thin line between heaviness and whimsy while covering controversial topics. The new DVD contains one additional scene that was cut from the orgiinal video. Over time, this film has lost none of its charm, and the message is as relevant as ever.