About Le Roi et l'oiseau

Le Roi et l'oiseau (literally The King and the Bird, 1980) is the "director's cut" of a film first released as La Bergère et le ramoneur (The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep) back in 1952. At 6 years in production it had already gone far over its allotted time and budget, and thus the studio was forced to release it in a rough, unfinished form. Fortunately, years later the creators were able to get hold of the rights to the film, and continued to revise and expand the footage over the course of several decades. The result is one of animation's greatest achievements, a labour of love allowed to reach the full potential which so much else is so unfortunately denied of.

Also unfortunately, only the 1952 cut has ever been commercially released in any kind of English-language version. This dub has been re-released many a time on VHS and DVD, by different by companies and with different titles (it is currently available in the USA as The Curious Adventures of Mr. Wonderbird). One of these titles was The King and the Bird, which has understandably led to some people mistaking it for the completed 1980 version. To avoid such confusion, the new film has been titled The King and the Mockingbird in English — though it has only had a mere few film festivals showings in which to use this name.

As of September '07, there is no known DVD in the world which has English subtitles. However, if you have the French (R2/PAL) DVD, and a software DVD player such as VLC, it is possible to watch the film with this fan-made subtitle file (you'll also need either StuffIt or WinZip to uncompress it first). I can't guarantee that it will work, but it's that or becoming fluent in French. Many thanks to Ersan Hakki for the creating the file and sharing it on IMDb (in some cases, you may need to delay the subtitles by 18.4 seconds).

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