JANUARY 23, 2014

THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING (1975)

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Based on Rudyard Kipling’s famous story, THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING is a rousing adventure that still retains its charm after all these years. 


Directed by John Huston, it was a passion project but it took 20 years for him to finally see it to fruition. Originally set to star Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart, the lead roles ultimately went to Sean Connery and Michael Caine. 


Ex-British Military rogues Daniel Darvot (Connery) and Peachy Carnehan (Caine) have been making their way in the Middle East after the war by pulling cons and stealing, but when they meet Rudyard Kipling (Christopher Plummer) by happenstance, they concoct a scheme to find Alexander the Great’s lost city and plunder its riches. 


But soon Daniel is mistaken for an heir of Alexander and a God amongst mere mortals. When he starts to believe his own hype, it not only erodes his friendship with Peachy, but also strains his credibility as an immortal. 


THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING is a cautionary tale about when your ambition exceeds your reach. Daniel’s hubris becomes his undoing and he realizes that too late. 


Connery and Caine make a delightful duo with amazing on-screen chemistry. As it turns out, they are equally good friends off-screen as well and that shows. Gorgeously photographed with luscious widescreen vistas, it has the feel of an old-fashioned adventure that seems to be missing from the cineplexes these days. 


Rated PG, it’s a film that can be enjoyed by the entire family and is a fun-filled and entertaining romp. My only disappointment is that only a mono audio track exists for the film. It has been beautifully remastered for the Blu-Ray and is quite clear but a movie like this deserves a 5.1 mix to fully immerse you in the adventure.