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Lost Classic The King And The Mockingbird Finally Comes To UK Cinemas and DVD

French animated feature The King And The Mockingbird (Le Roi Et LOiseau ) is finally getting a theatrical release in the UK courtesy of Studio Canal. Opening in limited release on April 11th, this movie has had a long road to hit British cinema screens. Directed by Paul Grimault, with a screenplay co-written by poet Jacques Prévert, it takes it's inspiration from a much-loved Hans Christian Anderson fairytale, The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep.

Production started on the film way back in 1948. The film was taken out of the hands of the director in 1950, and the production studio subsequently went bust. An unfinished version of the film was released in France in 1952, without the director's approval. Eventually, however, Grimault was able to acquire the rights to finish what he had started, and the film was finally completed in 1980.

Although rarely seen, the finished result is said to be hugely influential on a number of key animation figures. Studio Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata both cite it as big influence on their work. Aside from a few festival screenings, it has been largely unavailable in English until now. The cinema release will be followed by a DVD release on April 28th. [Preorder the DVD here]

 Charles the XVIth reigns tyrannically over the kingdom of Takicardie. Only brightly feathered Mockingbird, a playful and talkative fellow who has built his nest high up in the gigantic palace near His Majesty’s secret chambers, dares to make fun of him. In love with a beautiful and demure shepherdess, the King wants to force her to marry him. However, the young girl is in love with a brave little chimney sweep. Helped by the Mockingbird, they run away to escape the King’s evil clutches…