Paul Grimault has long been regarded as the greatest of French
animators; the marvelous The King and the Mockingbird (1980) is the
pinnacle of his five-decade career. The history behind the film has
contributed to its legendary status: Grimault, working with screenwriter
Jacques Prévert, began The King and the Mockingbird in 1948 as an
adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Shepherdess and the
Chimney Sweep”; it was released unfinished in the 1950s by the movie’s
producer, in a version Grimault decried as an “impostor.” Over the next
20-some years, Grimault was able to obtain the rights to the movie
and complete it as he had originally intended. The result is a wondrous
vision, dominated by soft reds, yellows, and blues, and filled with futurist
touches: Although set during medieval times in Tachycardia, the realm
of the vain and universally despised monarch Charles XVI, The King and
the Mockingbird features not only rocket travel but also giant robots.
Charles is an avid huntsman but a terrible shot—incompetence that
invites further ridicule by the taunting, top-hatted bird of the title.
Hailed as an influence by the eminent Japanese animator Hayao
Miyazaki, Grimault’s film is a visual and aural delight.
“A lost-and-found delight!”
—The New York Times
GENRE Animated feature film
RUNNING TIME 87’
PRODUCTION France, 1980
FORMAT(S) Blu-Ray, DCP, DVD