Polish Cinema: Where is the Third King? (Ryszard Ber, 1967, Poland)

Where is the Third King? is a 60s Agatha Christie-style murder mystery by director Ryszard Ber. Ber worked on several films in Poland from the 1950s until the 1990s. His writer on this film was Maciej Slomczynski, who was the author of many crime novels with "Joe Alex" as the main character. The film stars Andrzej Lapicki as Captain Stefan Berent. Along with Lt. Katarzyna Rogalska (Alicja Wyszynska), Berent is sent on a mission to obstruct the theft of a famous art piece (The "King" mentioned in the film's title) being carried out by an international crime group known as the "Syndicate." 

Filming took place at a historical residence in Kórnik, and there we meet all of the residents of the museum. Notably among the cast is Kalina Jędrusik, the great Polish actress, singer, and sex symbol of the 1960s and 1970s. We also meet a professor, a curator, and a keeper of historical weapons, among other figures. While it seems that the mission is going to go off without a hitch, Małgorzata Sadecka (Jędrusik) screams in the night, revealing that the curator has been murdered. Captain Berent now is forced to find out who murdered the curator, but also - as it seems the painting was exchanged before the detectives exchanged.

Where is the Third King? is a solid piece of genre cinema, and our first experience with the Polish whodunit on this blog. The film feels old-fashioned, particularly for the late 1960s, however, this is not necessarily a bad thing and certainly will please fans of Agatha Christie. While the film is undoubtedly a B-movie, the on-location castle setting lends a certain charm, and it is nice to meet the film's cast of eccentric characters, all of whom will be recognizable to anyone who is a fan of classic Polish films.



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