King Ralph (1991)

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Released 24-Dec-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 92:21
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By David S. Ward

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring John Goodman
Peter O'Toole
John Hurt
Camille Coduri
Richard Griffiths
James Villiers
Leslie Phillips
Case ?
RPI ? Music James Newton Howard

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Picture a Hollywood executive meeting. They are brainstorming ideas for new movies - they need something new, something fresh: "Terminator 3 - this time with Arnie playing both the good and the bad guy?"; "Five Weddings and Two Funerals?"; "What if an American became King of England? Hey, could we make him a Las Vegas performer?". Well, that's my theory, anyway.

    King Ralph is the result (no, it isn't Terminator 3). The entire British Royal family is electrocuted in a photo-taking incident. The closest surviving relative turns out to be Ralph Jones (inventive name!), played by John Goodman. Reluctantly, he is convinced to take the throne of the United Kingdom. It is suggested, delicately, that he might care to choose an appropriate name for use as King ("Edward and George have been popular this century"), but he decides to keep Ralph, hence King Ralph.

    This is a classic "fish out of water" story. There is some excellent dry wit, mostly from Peter O'Toole, who plays Cedric Willingham, the private secretary charged with making Ralph into the perfect British sovereign. We get to see some fairly silly training of Ralph, including cricket (not that I recall seeing a monarch play cricket). The training is pretty much a Pygmalion effort.

    There is an obligatory love-interest, although it is rather contrived: Miranda Greene, who Ralph meets under less than salubrious circumstances.

    There is an obligatory villain. In this case, it's Lord Percival Graves (John Hurt, playing sinister) - he wants Ralph thrown out so his own family line (Stuart) can resume the monarchy - I remember that the Stuarts took over the English throne with James Stuart, James the First of England, but I don't recall when the Windsors took over. Oh, for some reason the royal family is called Wyndham, not Windsor (Hollywood playing it cautious?) in this movie.

    The transition of Ralph from brash uncivilised American to somewhat more civilised monarch is not handled very smoothly. The one thing that does show his progress is the increasingly better fit of his clothing.

    You've seen this sort of story before. This is not the best version ever made, but it is not the worst, either. It is mildly entertaining, and pretty much inoffensive.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The picture is presented in an aspect ratio of about 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is softish, but adequately clear, with good shadow detail. There is no low level noise.

    Colour is quite reasonable, and adequately saturated.

    There are a number of small film artefacts, but they are pretty much negligible. There are frequent instances of aliasing, but nothing screams for attention. There is some moire artefacting on Ralph's jackets, which is a bit distracting. There is some near-constant minor background shimmer, but nothing special. 

    Subtitles are provided in seven languages, including English for the Hearing Impaired. The subtitles are easy to read and well-timed.

    The disc is single-sided, single layer: no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are two soundtracks: English Dolby Digital 2.0 and German Dolby Digital 2.0, neither of them surround-encoded. I only listened to the English soundtrack.

    The dialogue is easy to understand and there are no audio sync problems, excepting a moment of sloppy ADR of James Villiers.

    The score is from James Newton Howard. It is a decent amalgam of royal music (fanfares and whatnot) and rock-and-roll.

    The 2.0 soundtrack does not support the surrounds or subwoofer. They are not missed. This is a dialogue-driven movie.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menus are silent and static.

Theatrical Trailer (1:33)

    A plain simple trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this disc is not widescreen - I cannot discover if it is full-screen or pan-and-scan, but either way, the 16x9 enhanced widescreen version we've received is definitely preferable.


    A moderately amusing film, presented adequately on R4 DVD.

    The video quality is good enough.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extra is rudimentary.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, December 30, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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