Video - Le Roi et 'loiseau (The King and Mockingbird)

Completing this trilogy of posts about Paul Grimault's masterpiece of French animation, we come to the feature film itself. Thankfully, after some scouring on the internet, I was able to find a copy. And the best surprise - English subtitles. This is the only version of The King and Mockingbird anywhere to include subtitles in English. So we are really in for a treat.

You are about to watch one of the greatest animation movies ever made. Pull up the chairs, bring the family together, and fix the popcorn. Let's watch together and talk about it afterwords.


asuka said...

i always enjoy the end - who would have thought that it was french animation, not japanese, that invented the giant robot genre?

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Don't forget the Fleischers' Superman cartoon with the giant robot. I don't know how far back the giant robot goes, but it's pretty archetypal and has been with us for a very, very long time.

In Jungian terms, the archetype of the giant robot represents the dehumanization and mehanization of the industrial world. The man who becomes a cog in a giant metal machine. Fritz Lang's Metropolis is one great example.

And the archetype of the Tin Man addresses our humanity, a struggle for our identity after the arrival of the self-aware consciousness - "Let there be light!" Do I have a soul? Do I have a unique mind? Is my mind real, or am I the product of boilogical circuits?

Modern materialist science depicts human beings as machines only, as biological robots with the illusion of a soul - a "ghost in the machine." But this question of identity is an ancient one; it has only become more pronounced with the Industrial Revolution and the arrival of the machines.


Of course, it could just be that people really like seeing giant robots smashing stuff.

So take my insights with the usual grain of salt, heh heh.

asuka said...

i guess i don't know enough about giant robots! what struck me about the robot in la bergère et le ramoneur (please indulge my use of that title!) is that someone sits in it and pilots it, exactly like a go nagai robot. hwrê!

i buy your statements on the potential of "the robot" as symbol.
i'm going to have to take issue with the "jungian" bit though. an "archetype of the robot"? ah, yes, laid down in the collective unconscious through millennia worth of experiences with giant robots...

(i'm sorry - i just really hate jung. red rag to a bull, etc.)

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Yeah, I was being a little tongue-in-cheek with the robot talk. It's good not to over-analyse these things, and there's a fine line where fandom becomes insufferable. Yuck. Before you know it, you have convention halls full of nerds getting into fist fights over whether Captain Kirk could beat up Captain Picard. Heh heh.

In any case, giant robots smashing buildings is really, really cool. I don't know who started the idea, but the Japanese made a national obsession out of it. I'm sure France was a great influence on them, and you could easily connect the dots from Grimault to anime.

It's really strange that France's contributions to animation remain largely unknown here in the States. These are some wonderful movies, very beautiful and artful, and yet nobody seems to know about them, apart from the rare museum exhibit. When will some dutiful scholars start French animation blogs? Anyone? Bueller?

asuka said...

i wasn't arguing against your interpretations!

i want to let your readers know about the version of this film that currently available on american
yes, it's dubbed and the quality is dreadful.
however, this is the edit that influenced takahata and miyazaki, not the improved, later version. and it's only 3c!

by the way, the title the adventures of mr wonderbird deserves a "prince valiant" prize of some sort.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Yes, the first release of this movie in the '50s is the one that influenced the Japanese so much. It took Grimault another 20 years before he was able to revisit his film and complete it to his original intent.

Thanks for sharing the DVD from Amazon. Ouch, hah hah, that is hideous! I'll definitely post a photo for the blog when I can.

I also noticed that the same folks who published that DVD also published Toei Doga's Hakujaden, as Panda and the Magic Serpent. There's a nice surprise for the completists out there.

asuka said...

that english dub of hakujaden (a dub that is of some historical interest in itself by this point, i guess) is a riot.
you should watch it and post a review!

Chris said...

Daniel . . . Don't be ridiculous.

Captain Kirk could CLEARLY beat up Captain Picard!

Chris said...

By the way, about Le Roi et l'Oiseau (or, Asuka, La Bergère et Le Ramoneur), it's interesting to compare the two versions of the film. (It had a very tumultuous history.) The later "finished" version is obviously the more complete storywise, but in places it is really obvious where the newer animation was placed. At times, the new animation doesn't meld very well with the original animation. There is a noticable dip in quality. (But I want to note very clearly that that dip in quality is from superb animation to really good animation.) I'm thinking mainly of the scene with all the lions in the lion pit. There is some very inconsistent animation going on there. In some ways, though, this rough quality to parts of the film reminds me of William Faulkner and the rough beauty of his prose. I love genius that is rough around the edges, and in some ways I think this increases a work's value.

Doug said...

I thank you for posting this Daniel. I've heard about this many times ( I think from Ghibli World or maybe here?) but never thought I'd get to see it. Robots, cool!

danny said...


nitrateglow said...

Criterion needs to snap this one up. They've recently given Watership Down the Blu-ray treatment, so perhaps there is hope. Send them tons of suggestions!