Queen of Hearts

  • Film
  • Comedy
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A winning debut for Amiel, working from a script by Tony Grisoni about the experience of Italian immigrants to London circa the '50s (although it seems to waver in period). It's told from the point of view of imaginative ten- year-old Eddie (Hawkes), son of Rosa and Danilo (Long, excellent), elopers from Central Italy (where the first section is set). It's a family affair, centering on the East End café which waiter Danilo buys after a gambling windfall. Relatives arrive; the four children quarrel and grow up; grandma grumbles about the old ways; a shining new Espresso machine arrives; a wedding is celebrated; Eddie's brother takes to crime. Then jilted Barbariccia, 'King of the Knives', to whom Rosa was promised back in Italy, arrives bent on revenge. It's a modest film, but rich in human relationships - their scams, aspirations and myths - and true to the fantastic spirit of the boy narrator. The strong cast (some of the actors unprofessional) makes up for the rough edges. It plays like a mix of Ealing kids' fantasy and a gentle, naive pastiche of The Godfather.

Release details

Duration: 112 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jon Amiel
Screenwriter: Tony Grisoni
Cast: Vittorio Duse
Joseph Long
Anita Zagaria
Eileen Way
Vittorio Amandola
Roberto Scateni
Ian Hawkes