Welcome Back! Today, we will be watching a movie called The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep. It was directed by Paul Grimalt (La Table Tournante, La Flute Magique, Le Petit Soldat) in 1952 France.
There are two versions of this movie. It was titled The King and the Mockingbird in 1980, but it began in 1948 as The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep. The film was a collaboration between Grimault and French poet and screenwriter, Jacques Prevert (Le Petit Claus et le Grand Claus, The Lovers of Verona, The Hunchback of Notre Dame). The film stopped production and was released unfinished by its producer, without Grimault’s or Prevert’s approval. During the 1960s and 1970s, Grimault obtained the rights to the film and was able to complete a new version as they originally intended, in 1980 (30 years after they started).
The 1952 version is dubbed as The Curious Adventures of Mr. Wonderbird and is available online for free.
Since, the film was taken out of the two’s control, and was released. It caused the studio failure. Andre Sarrut who was the producer released it without permission, which caused a rift and made them go their separate ways.
In 1967, Grimault regained possession of the film, and spent a decade trying to finance a new version under his supervision. By 1977, he arranged financing. Then in 1980 it was released under a new name, to differentiate it between the other.
The music is by Wojciech Kilar (The Portrait of a Lady, Death and the Maiden).
- Pierre Brasseur as L’oiseau (The Mockingbird); (Eyes Without a Face, Children of Paradise, Port of Shadows, King of Hearts)
- Fernand Ledoux as King Charles XVI; (La Bete Humaine, The Longest Day, It Happened at the Inn, The Trial)
- Anouk Aimee as the Shepherdess; (8½, La Dolce Vita, Lola, Mince Alors!)
- Serge Reggiani as the Chimney Sweep; (Le Doulos, La Ronde, El Pianista)
- Raymond Bussieres as the Chief of Police; (Paris When it Sizzles, Casque D’or, The Wing or Thigh?)
- Hubert Deschamps as the Automan; (The Fire Within, Zazie dans le Metro)
- Roger Blin as the Barrel Organ; (Orpheus, The Raven, The Adolescent)
- Philippe Derrez as the Elevator Operator and Speaker; (Le Coup Monte, Vidocq, Ne Vous Fachez pas Imogene)
- Albert Medina as the Beastmaster and High-Howler; (My American Uncle, Nazis dans le Metro, La Chateau)
- Claude Pieplu as the Mayor of the Palace; (Asterix and Obelix, The Tenant)
- Peter Ustinov as The Mockingbird (Babar Comes to America, Robin Hood- Prince John/King Richard, The Mouse and his Child, Spartacus)
- Claire Bloom as the Shepherdess (Clash of the Titans, The Princess and the Goblin, The King’s Speech, The Haunting, Crimes and Misdemeanors)
- Denholm Elliott as the Chimney Sweep (Watership Down, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Trading Places)
- Max Adrian as the King (The Devils, The Boy Friend, The Music Lovers)
- Alex Clunes as the Blind Man
- Cecil Trouncer as the Statue
- Philip Stainton as the Policeman
- Harcourt Williams as the Old Beggar
- Joan Heal as the Kitten
- Frank Muir as the Commentator
The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep is loosely based on The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep by Hans Christian Anderson.
The film was nominated for the BAFTA award for Best Animated Film in 1958. It won the Venice Film Festival in 1952 for Honorable Mention- Paul Grimault and Special Jury Prize. It was nominated at the Venice Film Festival in 1952 for a Golden Lion.
“The movie is rife with cultural references. Most basically, the castle is similar to 19th century fairy-tale castles, the best known of which is Neuschwanstein Castle, while the best-known such model in France is the medieval town Carcassonne, which notably has a surrounding ville basse (lower city), as in the movie. The city, with its dark, industrial underbelly recalls Metropolis by Fritz Lang, and the enslaved work recalls Modern Times of Charlie Chaplin.” (Wikipedia)
“There are extensive allusions to Germany, particularly connections between the king and Adolf Hitler, most obviously in the king’s appearance on leaving water (mustache and hair strongly resembling Hitler’s) and in the cult of personality, but also in the king’s statement that “work…is liberty”, alluding to the infamous “Arbeit macht frei” (work makes [you] free), written over the entrances to concentration camps, and also the iconic Stahlhelm (steel helmets) seen in places.” (Wikipedia)
I believe that the movie takes place in Germany in the 1800s.
- The Mockingbird: The King’s worst enemy whom he constantly taunts. It is implied that the King may have killed his wife. He is the father of four baby chicks.
- King Charles XVI: The megalomaniac yet lonely tyrant who fell in love with the Shepherdess painting on his wall.
- The Shepherdess: She is in love with the chimney sweep painting on the right.
- The Chimney Sweep: He is in love with the Shepherdess painting.
- The Chief of Police- Extremely loyal to the King.
- Minor Characters: Automan, Barrel Organ, Elevator Operator, Speaker, Beastmaster, High-howler, the Statue, Old Beggar, Kitten, Commentator, and Mayor
Before the Movie:
I have never seen or heard of the movie. A lot of the information on the movie is also on the 1980 version. If you would like to watch it, here is the link:
The movie is basically about a King who has a terrible relationship with a mockingbird. We suspect that he has killed the mockingbird’s wife and he is about to kill the mockingbird’s children, but the mockingbird saves them. It is time for bed and the King has a lot of art. The paintings come to life. The King’s painting likes the Shepherdess painting, but hates the Chimney Sweep painting. The Chimney Sweep and the Shepherdess painting like each other, so they run away together. The King’s painting tries to chase them, but loses them. So, he kidnaps the real King and sends the police to find them.
The two meet the Mockingbird and become fast friends. Eventually, they are all caught. The King will feed the Chimney Sweep to the lions if the Shepherdess does not marry him. She agrees and he sends the other two to work. They fail, so he sends them to be eaten. But, the lions don’t eat them. They all escape and take down the King. But, he escapes with the Shepherdess. Then, eventually they catch up, defeat the King, and everyone lives happily ever after.
The animation is well-done. There aren’t any songs, but the scores are really good. The story for the most part is well-done. There are a few flaws, but it isn’t anything too major.
There is a scene in the movie where the paintings come to life and one of the paintings is a painting of the King. The King has a trap door built, and he runs away from the portrait. Then he just stands there at the exact spot until the portrait pushes the button. It was irritating, because how stupid can you be. He built it, so he knows it’s already there. I don’t understand why he would just stand there.
Another thing that bothered me is that the movie clearly takes place before the 1900s. Yet, there is this airplane thing (it doesn’t look like an exact airplane, but close enough) and the airplane wasn’t invented until the early 1900s. So, how is this even possible? It shouldn’t be there, but it is.
Also, there are parts where it can be kind of boring. But, it isn’t too bad especially for a movie in the 1950s.
Most of the characters do not really have any character to them. They are very boring.
The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep is a decent movie. It isn’t bad, but I wouldn’t rate it as good either. It would be like okay. The animation is well-done and the story for the most part holds up. The scores are done. There isn’t any music, but I guess not all movies need music. The movie has parts where it can get kind of boring, but it isn’t that bad. I neither like nor dislike the movie. There really isn’t anything to say about it. Overall, it isn’t something that I would watch again, nor would I recommend it to someone else. But, it is appropriate for children. So, I rate it as a B-.
There are only two characters with actual personality: the King and the Mockingbird. The King was evil and not a character I would like. So, that just leaves the Mockingbird. He was funny and when he was grieving for his wife, you did truly feel sad for him.
The Mockingbird and the audience think the lion is going to eat him. As, the lion goes down to eat him, instead he takes off his chains. The suspense was great and it was a funny scene. Because, the lion only cared about him being quiet.
What did you think of the movie? What was your favorite scene?
Next, up would’ve been The Scarlet Flower, but it isn’t long enough. It was directed by Lev Atamanov. It was produced by the soyuzmultifilm in the Soviet Union. It came out in 1952. If you would like to watch it, here is the link:
So, the next movie will be The Snow Maiden. It was directed by Ivan Ivanov-Vano and Aleksandra Snezhko-Blotskaya. It was produced by soyuzmultifilm in the Soviet Union in 1952.
(I do not own pictures, videos, etc. My information came from Wikipedia and IMDB).