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King Of Hearts (1966)

One of the lesser luminaries of the French New Wave, Philippe de Broca scored a cult hit with this atmospheric black comedy set at the end of the First World War.


The retreating Germans have booby-trapped a small town. All the inhabitants have been evacuated – well, all except the occupants of the zoo and the lunatic asylum!

Alan Bates is superb as Private Charles Plumpick, the Scot who is dispatched to locate the Germans’ explosives.

The satirical swipes at monarchy, patriotism and war are played down in favour of whimsical, if occasionally anarchic, comedy, as the asylum patient townsfolk urge Bates to become their king.

The French cast is exceptional, with Pierre Brasseur, Jean-Claude Brialy and Michel Serrault the stand-out performers.

Geneviève Bujold made her name as Coquelicot.


Private Charles Plumpick
Alan Bates
General Geranium
Pierre Brasseur
The Duke aka Le Duc de Trèfle
Jean-Claude Brialy
Geneviève Bujold
Col Alexander MacBibenbrook
Adolfo Celi
Madame Eglantine
Micheline Presle
Françoise Christophe
Bishop Daisy aka Monseigneur Marguerite
Julien Guiomar
Crazy barber
Michel Serrault
Lt Hamburger
Marc Dudicourt
Colonel Helmut von Krack
Daniel Boulanger

Philippe de Broca