Join the Boston Sunday Night Film Club this Sunday, Jun 24th at 5p for King of Hearts at the Brattle Theatre. Look for Dan wearing a multicolored shirt in the theatre lobby about 15 minutes before the film. As always, after the film we will descend on a local establishment for dinner/drinks/discussion.
During World War I, Scottish soldier Private Plumpick (Bates) is sent to a village in the French countryside on a mission to disarm a bomb set by the retreating German army. When he arrives, Plumpick encounters a strange town populated by what he takes to be charming eccentrics. What he doesn’t know initially is that the original villagers have fled, and the escaped residents of the local psychiatric hospital have moved into the town. Assuming roles like Bishop, Duke, barber, and circus ringmaster, the new townspeople warmly accept the visitor as their “King of Hearts.” With his bomb-defusing mission looming, Plumpick starts to prefer the acceptance of the insane locals over the insanity of the war raging outside.
Though it didn’t make much of a splash in its native France, KING OF HEARTS became a cult sensation when it premiered in the U.S. amidst the burgeoning anti-war movement of the late ’60s. In fact, in our liberal bastion of Cambridge (at the now defunct Central Square Cinema), the film showed for 4 years straight beginning in February of 1971! It has gone on to become a worldwide favorite and stands out as one of de Broca’s most memorable films. Now, fifty years after its original release, this satirical look at the absurdities of war is presented in a gorgeous new 4K restoration for modern audiences to discover.