King of Hearts

Director: Philippe de Broca
Year Released: 1966
Rating: 1.5

The British military demand Private Plumpick (Alan Bates), an ornithologist, go to a small French town and disarm the bomb the Imperial German Army have planted, but it turns out the lunatics at the local sanitorium have escaped and are playing dress-up, so he can't help but join in the frivolity.  I get what De Broca is going for - he's arguing that the loons live in a "utopia" compared to the horror of reality - but that undermines the seriousness of true mental illness: here they're a silly theatrical troupe, but visit any actual mental hospital and it's not exactly what you'd call a "fun" or even "appealing" place.  The point is made early on and then it beats on the same note repeatedly, but I kind of like the ending: why risk annihilation when you can escape from it all?