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The Kingdom - Series One (Riget)

4.6 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Acclaimed director Lars von Trier (Dogville, Dancer in the Dark) delves into the world of the supernatural with the acclaimed series that inspired Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital. At The Kingdom, Denmark’s most technologically advanced hospital, a number of strange and otherworldly events begin to occur, much to the dismay of its doctors and patients. A ghostly ambulance appears and disappears, the voice of a little girl calls to a patient in an elevator shaft and a doctor’s fetus begins growing at an alarming rate.

Special Features

  • Behind-the-scenes Footage
  • Commentary by Lars Von Trier
  • Misc TV spots directed by Lars Von Trier
  • Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Ernst-Hugo Järegård, Kirsten Rolffes, Ghita Nørby, Holger Juul Hansen, Søren Pilmark
  • Directors: Lars von Trier, Morten Arnfred
  • Writers: Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel, Tómas Gislason
  • Producers: Ib Tardini, Marianne Slot, Ole Reim
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Content/Copy-Protected CD, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Danish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Koch Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: November 8, 2005
  • Run Time: 272 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AYYV74
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,963 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Kingdom - Series One (Riget)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I agree that this is a brilliant series filled with black humor, pathos, social satire and horror. Set in and actually filmed at Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet, it is essentially a ghost story, a haunting, but told in a quirky, refreshing way. One can see why it attracted Stephen King and inspired him to write his subsequent novel "Kingdom Hospital." It certainly deserves all the 5 stars it gets at this site.

However there is a problem with the DVD edition issued by Koch/Lorber. On Disc Two, Episode 3, during the scene where Helmer enters the Central Archive after Mogge, the picture suddenly skips (at just after 39mins) to a part of the movie that is actually from Episode 1 on Disc One (the scene where Helmer's nose is being patched up). This sequence from the previous Disc then goes on for about 2 minutes before you suddenly switch back to the current episode but several minutes later with Dr Mogge already out of the Central Archive and running for his life. You are left wondering what happened in between.

This is not a problem with an individual disc. Replacing the disc makes no difference because they all have the same flaw. It is a production issue. It probably occured during the video-editing or mastering process. How this could have been passed for release is beyond me. I know Fox Lorber's previous reputation for producing shoddy DVDs but after the name change and several fairly good early releases under the Koch/Lorber label, I actually believed they had reformed. Alas not. This kind of sloppiness is wholly unacceptable. Koch/Lorber goes into the same black book as its disgraceful predecessor. If it had any conscience, Koch/Lorber would order a recall and replacement. But with this company's reputation, it's hardly likely. Hopefully the rumors are right and Criterion will pick this up for release in the future as part of a Lars von Trier retrospective.
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Format: VHS Tape
The Kingdom is the name of a gargantuan decaying hosital in Copenhagen where this amazing Lars von Trier Gothic television miniseries is set. of course, the title also refers to the kingdom of Denmark (in the staff meeting room where many scenes take place, the portraits of Queen Margrethe and her consort are prominently displayed), for which the hospital is a metaphor, and for the kingdom of society in general. And, as von Trier explains in his charming afterwords to the episodes, it also refers to the kingdom of the imagination itself.
The miniseries works on all these levels. It's a quirky, incredibly atmospheric study of the hospital centering upon the discovery of the ghost of a girl murdered 75 years previously on the same site haunting the hospital, and it revolves around a giant cast of dozens of memorable characters, all of whom are intensely sympathetic even though they're pretty miserable human beings. The three at the core of the story are a malingerer, the septuagenarian medium Mrs. Drusse, obsessed with discovering the story behind a ghost; a blackmailer, the young and sexy Dr. Hook; and his nemesis in the neurology department, the jaw-droppingly arrogant brain surgeon Dr. Helmer, who had to take this job in Denmark (which he loathes) after being cast out of a job in his native Sweden under suspicion of plagiarism. Although the Gothic aspects to the story are beautifully brought out by the labyrinthine deserted basement hallways of the hospital and Von Trier's gorgeous sepia-tinted cinemtography, like all the best ghost stories the ghosts here serve as metaphors for what's wrong with the state of society in general.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This 5-hour marathon was originally a mini-series on Danish television, which partly explains the length. It won't take you long to get completely involved in the weird goings-on at the massive Copenhagen hospital complex named "The Kingdom", though, and once you're hooked, you'll want to savor every minute. The primary plot concerns a malingering woman's search within the hospital for the spirit of a young girl, but there's also a phantom ambulance, a secret society (complete with some really bizarre initiation rites!), a Greek Chorus doing the dishes, and at least a half-dozen sub-plots. Although there are some visually disturbing scenes, plus a few steamy ones, the overall tone is best summed up as "quirky humor". The vast impersonality of the hospital is conveyed through washed-out sepia-tinted shots of endless corridors and fly-over shots of the huge complex, but the halls are chock-full of nuts. The Swedish chief neurosurgeon, on the lam from Stockholm thanks to assorted misdeeds there, shouts his frustrations at the "Danish scum" from the rooftops. A resident takes *his* title quite literally, setting up living quarters in the basement, where he recycles pharmaceuticals and keeps tabs on who's up to what. A portly orderly, cowed into submission by his psychosomatic mother, wheels her throughout the building while she searches for the spirit of a young girl she believes was murdered. The loopy head of staff seeks to inspire the workers with a typically management-brain-dead scheme he proudly calls "Operation Morning Wind". If you like the movies of the Coen brothers ("Fargo", or "The Hudsucker Proxy") or if you enjoyed "Twin Peaks", this is *definitely* one to check out. And since this isn't enough in itself, yup, there's a five-hour *sequel*!
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