Written and created by Matthew Pejkovic

Contact: mattsm@mattsmoviereviews.net

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1975
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING

STARRING:MICHAEL CAINE,SEAN CONNERY,CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, SAEED JAFFREY,DOGHMI LARBI,KAROOM BEN BOUIH,SHAKIRA CAINE

BASED ON THE SHORT STORY BY RUDYARD KIPLING

SCREENPLAY BY GLADYS HILL & JOHN HUSTON

PRODUCED BY JOHN FOREMAN

DIRECTED BY JOHN HUSTON

GENRE:ADVENTURE/DRAMA

RATED:AUSTRALIA:PG/UK:PG/USA:PG

RUNNING TIME:129 MIN

The Man Who Would Be King begins in India where Kipling (Christopher Plummer), the editor of the Northern Star newspaper, is approached by a diseased riddled Indian man who introduces himself as former acquaintance Peachy Carnahan (Michael Caine). Three years previously Peachy and his partner Daniel Dravot (Sean Connery) - members of the British Royal Army and fellow Freemasons - were to be deported from India due to their criminal behaviour which included (but was not limited to) grifting and gun running. Not wanting to return to a dour life back home, Carnahan and Dravot think up a dubious plan where they will travel to the far off land of Karfristan, side with a warring tribe, vanquish their enemies and then proceed to loot the land piece by piece. Labelled as madmen by Kipling (who is also a fellow Freemason), Carnahan and Dravot were never the less persistent in their quest even going so far to write up a contract which would assure the goals for their mission will be upheld (these include abstinence from alcohol and sex). Disguising themselves as Indians they leave for Karfristan, travelling through the punishing Afghanistan desert, past raging rivers and across snowy mountainous terrain, facing death at every turn. When they finally reach Kafristan they set out with their plan and side with a primitive tribe to whom they proclaim to be heaven sent and promise victory over their enemies. They travel from village to village defeating tribes, looting them and then offering their services to the men they had just defeated. Quickly Carnahan and Dravot create a nation of people under their rule, yet things get complicated when Dravot is mistaken for a God, an idea he takes to which creates a strain in his relationship with Carnahan and a wrench in their plans.
The Man Who Would Be King contains the type of old school, epic movie making that has sadly gone astray over the last few decades. Featuring mesmerising locations, great cinematography, high achievements in set design and costume, hundreds of extras and a riveting screenplay by Gladys Hill and director John Huston (based on the short story by Rudyard Kipling), Huston has crafted a fun and wild adventure movie which takes the viewer to the far corners of the civilised world where old testament style customs still reign supreme, showing how two men can exploit the power, gullibility and danger of primitive religion to suit their greed.
Michael Caine and Sean Connery are great as two larrikins spreading English customs and morals throughout a primitive part of the world. The chemistry between both actors is electric. It is a wonder as to why they did not team up again since they could have easily been the UK equivalent to the USA's Newman and Redford. The charm and humour that both men possess are shown in spades throughout the film. While watching The Man Who Would Be King it is clear that one of the main differences between this movie and other epic adventure productions is the humour found within its two main characters. Watch Caine try to keep his vow of celibacy while fending off the advancements of a half naked woman and try not to laugh during the initial battle scene that is suddenly disrupted by the arrival of a group of travelling holy men. No movie in recent memory- with perhaps the exception of the Pirates of the Caribbean series - has been cheeky enough to undermine huge battle sequences with such comedic timing without it turning into a full blown farce.
A unique movie experience, brilliantly brought to life by Huston and exceptionally well played by Caine and Connery.
****
 
 

 

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