Sunday, December 30, 2018

CONSENSUS #90. The Man Who Would Be King

SYNOPSIS: "The Man Who Would Be King" is the retelling of the classic adventure story by Rudyard Kipling. Two British soldiers (Sean Connery and Michael Caine) trek to Afghanistan to make their fortune. They offer themselves as military trainers and help a village defeat its rivals. In the process, one of them is proclaimed a god. They now are governing the area and are rich beyond their dreams. Unfortunately, being a god can go to your head.

BACK-STORY: “The Man Who Would Be King” is a war movie that was released in 1975. It was directed by John Huston and is based on a short story by Rudyard Kipling. Huston co-wrote the screenplay. Originally intended as a project for Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable, then Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, then Robert Redford and Paul Newman, it was finally made starring Michael Caine and Sean Connery. It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Writing, Costume Design, and Editing. The movie was critically acclaimed and did well at the box office.

TRIVIA:   Wikipedia, imdb

1.  In the novella, the narrator was anonymous.  The movie makes him Rudyard Kipling.
2.  John Huston was a huge Kipling fan from childhood when he was bedridden and read all of his works.  He wanted to make the movie since the 1950s.  Originally he envisioned the two leads to be Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart, and then Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, and then Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole, and then Robert Redford and Paul Newman.
3.  Huston wanted a native-looking actress to play Roxane and was complaining to Michael Caine at a dinner with Caine’s wife Shakira.  They both looked at Shakira, who was from Asia, and had a brainstorm.
4.  The movie was nominated for Oscars for Art Direction, Writing, Costume Design, and Editing.
5.  Sean Connery’s favorite role.

Belle and Blade  =  N/A
Brassey’s              =  4.0
Video Hound       =  N/A
War Movies         =  5.0
Military History   =  #74
Channel 4             =  not on list
Film Site                =  yes
101 War Movies  =  no
Rotten Tomatoes  =  no

OPINION:   While not really a war movie, “The Man Who Would Be King” certainly belongs on the list.  It is one of the greatest adventure stories and a must-see for men and teenage boys.  Connery and Caine are a dream teaming.  You get the famous story by Kipling without having to read it and you get it improved over the source material.  This is a movie that should not be remade.

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