|THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING (director/writer: John Huston; screenwriters: based on a Rudyard Kipling story/Gladys Hill; cinematographer: Oswald Morris; editor: Russell Lloyd; music: Maurice Jarre; cast: Sean Connery (Daniel Dravot), Michael Caine (Peachy Carnehan), Christopher Plummer (Rudyard Kipling), Saeed Jaffrey (Billy Fish), Shakira Caine (Roxanne), Jack May (District Commissioner), Doghmi Larbi (Ootah), Mohammad Shamsi (Babu), Karroom Ben Bouih (Kafu Selim); Runtime: 129; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: John Foreman; Warner Brothers Pictures; 1975)|
|"A decent but
hardly great adventure escapist film, that's
played for broad comedy."
by Dennis Schwartz
decent but hardly great adventure escapist film,
that's played for broad comedy. John Huston ("Prizzi's
Honor"/"Under the Volcano"/"Fat City") co-writes, with
Gladys Hill, and directs by piling on the
melodramatics. It's based on a Rudyard
Kipling story. The fable gets off to a good start
but the rousing adventure tale grows increasingly
tiresome as it becomes more predictable and absurd.
opens in the 1880s, with author Rudyard
Kipling (Christopher Plummer) working alone in his
study, in India, when he is interrupted by a madman
derelict, who mentions that he's an old acquaintance,
Peachy Carnehan (Michael
Caine), who met the writer on a train in India.
With that, the almost unrecognizable Peachy tells of
the incredible adventure that he had with his fellow
opportunistic charlatan pal Daniel Dravot (Sean Connery)
over the past few years. It's a tall tale that tells
us that the Brit soldiers, stationed
in India, resigned from the army and fled
to the remote eastern Afghanistan
region of Kafiristan--a
place where no white man has
set foot since Alexander, but a place with lots
of gold and riches in its mountains.
Because of their fighting skills, the duo become
overlords as they successfully lead one town against
another. The conmen plan to take a fortune back to
England but through a stroke of luck, the tribal
head believes Danny is a god. He is prepared to
crown him king and make him very wealthy. But
instead of leaving while it was safe, the greedy
Brits change their plans and try to take advantage
of their situation to live as immortals. All's well
until Danny bleeds when scratched by the native
woman he marries (Shakira Caine,
Michael Caine's real-life wife)
and his posing as a
god is exposed to the not too amused hostile
It's a colorful film, with perky dialogue and with rapturous visuals by cinematographer Oswald Morris. Connery and Caine have great chemistry together, plus there's a catchy score by Maurice Jarre.
REVIEWED ON 2/23/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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