Animation is a realm in which pretty much anything is possible. Worlds and characters are created and art and story combine to form true visual magic. The French film The King and the Mockingbird is an animated adventure where such things are possible, good versus evil and heroes battle darkness. Originally conceived in 1948, the film took over three decades to finally be completed and was eventually released to the masses. 1980 saw the release of the film and with various modifications and tweaks over the years. It finally came to be and audiences and lovers of animation were in for a real treat. Even today, the film continues to soar and resonate with animation fans and lovers of good stories worldwide.
The King and the Mockingbird is a relatively simple story told in a highly imaginative way. The film takes place in the fictional kingdom of Takicardia, where King Charles V + III = VIII + VIII = XVI rules with an iron fist. He is a tyrant and has a sincere hatred for his subjects. His castle is enormous, consisting of over 200 floors and he gets heckled regularly by a sarcastic mockingbird. Unbeknownst to anyone else, he has a crush on a shepherdess who lives in one of his paintings. At night, the paintings come alive and a lowly chimneysweep leaps off of the wall and also desires the shepherdess. The rest of the film follows the shepherdess and the chimneysweep as they escape the clutches of the sinister king and evade him at every turn.
Spoken in French, The King and the Mockingbird is a timeless tale that will resonate with audiences both young and old. The story is basic enough for anyone to digest and the animation is of the utmost quality, giving even Disney a run for its money. 1980 was a time in which animated features weren’t exactly thriving and The King and the Mockingbird was in some ways, revolutionary, eventually opening the door for future talented animators.
The film is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale The Shepherdess and the Chimneysweep, a sweeping adventure that seems to only be fitting for an animated film. The characters in the film are all very well-drawn, figuratively and literally. The King is a despicable man and his actions reinforce this unfavorable image. He is at the forefront of this tale and he makes for a very entertaining focus indeed. His subjects all suck up to him and are composed of random creatures from dogs to lions. This kingdom is obviously not of this world and the characters and setting are truly bizarre, making for a very visually dazzling experience.
Few animated features have matched the highly imaginative nature of The King and the Mockingbird. The art is truly wonderful, as is the story and Wojciech Kilar robust musical score. It basically has all of the ingredients that make an animated film wonderful. The creative team behind this marvel should all be commended because it is really one of a kind. Basically, if you fancy a film that will transport you to a world with unique and fascinating characters and a story full of wit and bold adventure, then The King and the Mockingbird is right up your alley.