The Man Who Would Be King


2h 9m 1975
The Man Who Would Be King

Brief Synopsis

Two con artists set out to take over a remote Asian land with a priceless golden treasure.

Film Details

Also Known As
Man Who Would Be King, hombre que pudo reinar, El
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Adventure
Historical
Adaptation
Release Date
Dec 1975
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures
Distribution Company
CBS Video; Columbia Pictures
Country
United States
Location
England, United Kingdom; India

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 9m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's story about two English ex-soldiers who leave British-ruled India for a remote part of Afghanistan in order to become kings.

Photo Collections

The Man Who Would Be King - Movie Poster
The Man Who Would Be King - Movie Poster

Videos

Movie Clip

Man Who Would Be King, The (1975) - Don't You Know Me? Following the credits, chilling first scene from director John Huston, Michael Caine as "Peachy Carnehan" visiting Rudyard Kipling (Christopher Plummer, playing the author of the original story), in The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
Man Who Would Be King, The (1975) - Two Englishmen Left Over Clever scene, not from the Rudyard Kipling novella, adventurers Carnehan (Michael Caine, also narrating) and Dravot (Sean Connery) encounter five Afghan tribesmen, in their journey toward Kafiristan, in John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
Man Who Would Be King, The (1975) - Alexander Who? Newsman and fellow Freemason Kipling (Christopher Plummer) baffled, as Peachy (Michael Caine) and Danny (Sean Connery) lay out their plan to become kings of Kafiristan, at his office in Lahore, colonial India, ca. 1870, in John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
Man Who Would Be King, The (1975) - Your Lodge Brothers Christopher Plummer as correspondent Rudyard Kipling, the author inserted into the story by director John Huston, explains to an Indian colonial official (Jack May) why he’s helping arrested fellow Freemasons Carnehan and Dravot (Michael Caine, Sean Connery), in The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.
Man Who Would Be King, The (1975) - Dear Me Alas By Jove Dravot (Sean Connery) and Carnehan (Michael Caine) have reached (imaginary) Kafiristan and saved members of one tribe from raiders of another, planning to be greeted as heroes, meeting Billy Fish (Saeed Jaffrey) and Oohta (Doghmi Larbi), in John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.

Film Details

Also Known As
Man Who Would Be King, hombre que pudo reinar, El
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Adventure
Historical
Adaptation
Release Date
Dec 1975
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures
Distribution Company
CBS Video; Columbia Pictures
Country
United States
Location
England, United Kingdom; India

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 9m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1975
Alexander Trauner

Best Costume Design

1975
Edith Head

Best Editing

1975
Russell Lloyd

Best Writing, Screenplay

1976
John Huston

Articles

The Man Who Would Be King


While bedridden as a child, director John Huston became a student of Rudyard Kipling's writing. In a l976 article for Film Encyclopedia, Huston remarked, "I read so much Kipling, it's in my unconscious. You start a verse I'll finish it. Kipling writes about a world gone, a geography gone. It's the world of adventure, high honor, mystery". Kipling's romantic worldview may well have informed Huston's adult life, with his experiences as a Mexican cavalry officer, big-game hunter, boxer, painter and even opera singer. There could be no more perfect director, then, to helm the larger-than-life story of The Man Who Would Be King (1975).

Set in colonial India in the l800s, the film follows the exploits of two rogue British Army sergeants, Danny Dravot (Sean Connery) and Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine). During a skirmish, Dravot is shot in the chest with an arrow; rather than entering his flesh, it lodges in his Masonic pendant. To the natives' astonishment, the soldier draws it out without a trace of blood or injury, leading them to believe him a god. With this twist of fate, the two take advantage of the situation and the luxuries bestowed on them, until the fateful day when their sham is discovered and the natives turn on them. Kipling's story is brought to life in grand style by Connery, Caine and Huston, but like Dobbs in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and Ahab in Moby Dick (1956), Kipling's characters pay dearly for their avarice. Though the director never leans toward blunt social commentary, Kipling's allegory of the waning days of the British Empire reads clearly enough in the film.

Huston had envisioned a screen version of The Man Who Would Be King as far back as the l950s, at various times considering Bogart, Gable, Peter O'Toole, Richard Burton, and (lastly) Paul Newman and Robert Redford for the lead roles. At Newman's urging, the director hooked Connery and Caine, and the result was a rare screen chemistry that drives the narrative wonderfully. Christopher Plummer holds down the role of Kipling himself in a performance that makes it difficult to imagine anyone different playing the role. In Lawrence Grobel's The Hustons, Caine remarked that The Man Who Would Be King was "a classic of its kind" and "the only film I've done that will last after I've gone". In regards to Huston's deft direction, Caine noted, "Most directors today don't know what they want - so they shoot everything they can think of. They use the camera like a machine gun. John used it like a sniper". The film is a grand-scale, "don't-make-'em-like-that-anymore" adventure that plays like Kipling himself would likely have imagined it.

Director: John Huston
Producer: John Foreman
Screenplay: Gladys Hill, John Huston, Rudyard Kipling (story)
Cinematography: Oswald Morris
Music: Maurice Jarre
Art Direction: Tony Inglis
Principle Cast: Sean Connery (Daniel Dravot), Michael Caine (Peachy Carnehan), Christopher Plummer (Rudyard Kipling), Saeed Jaffrey (Billy Fish), Doghmi Larbi (Ootah), Jack May (District Commissioner), Karroom Bouih (Kafu-Selim), Mohammad Shamsi (Babu)
C-130m. Letterboxed.

by Jerry Renshaw
The Man Who Would Be King

The Man Who Would Be King

While bedridden as a child, director John Huston became a student of Rudyard Kipling's writing. In a l976 article for Film Encyclopedia, Huston remarked, "I read so much Kipling, it's in my unconscious. You start a verse I'll finish it. Kipling writes about a world gone, a geography gone. It's the world of adventure, high honor, mystery". Kipling's romantic worldview may well have informed Huston's adult life, with his experiences as a Mexican cavalry officer, big-game hunter, boxer, painter and even opera singer. There could be no more perfect director, then, to helm the larger-than-life story of The Man Who Would Be King (1975). Set in colonial India in the l800s, the film follows the exploits of two rogue British Army sergeants, Danny Dravot (Sean Connery) and Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine). During a skirmish, Dravot is shot in the chest with an arrow; rather than entering his flesh, it lodges in his Masonic pendant. To the natives' astonishment, the soldier draws it out without a trace of blood or injury, leading them to believe him a god. With this twist of fate, the two take advantage of the situation and the luxuries bestowed on them, until the fateful day when their sham is discovered and the natives turn on them. Kipling's story is brought to life in grand style by Connery, Caine and Huston, but like Dobbs in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and Ahab in Moby Dick (1956), Kipling's characters pay dearly for their avarice. Though the director never leans toward blunt social commentary, Kipling's allegory of the waning days of the British Empire reads clearly enough in the film. Huston had envisioned a screen version of The Man Who Would Be King as far back as the l950s, at various times considering Bogart, Gable, Peter O'Toole, Richard Burton, and (lastly) Paul Newman and Robert Redford for the lead roles. At Newman's urging, the director hooked Connery and Caine, and the result was a rare screen chemistry that drives the narrative wonderfully. Christopher Plummer holds down the role of Kipling himself in a performance that makes it difficult to imagine anyone different playing the role. In Lawrence Grobel's The Hustons, Caine remarked that The Man Who Would Be King was "a classic of its kind" and "the only film I've done that will last after I've gone". In regards to Huston's deft direction, Caine noted, "Most directors today don't know what they want - so they shoot everything they can think of. They use the camera like a machine gun. John used it like a sniper". The film is a grand-scale, "don't-make-'em-like-that-anymore" adventure that plays like Kipling himself would likely have imagined it. Director: John Huston Producer: John Foreman Screenplay: Gladys Hill, John Huston, Rudyard Kipling (story) Cinematography: Oswald Morris Music: Maurice Jarre Art Direction: Tony Inglis Principle Cast: Sean Connery (Daniel Dravot), Michael Caine (Peachy Carnehan), Christopher Plummer (Rudyard Kipling), Saeed Jaffrey (Billy Fish), Doghmi Larbi (Ootah), Jack May (District Commissioner), Karroom Bouih (Kafu-Selim), Mohammad Shamsi (Babu) C-130m. Letterboxed. by Jerry Renshaw

Quotes

I know you, you English persons. Take off hat to woman, give name to dog.
- Billy Fish
I'm heart fully ashamed, for getting you killed instead of going home rich as you deserve, on account of me being so bleeding high and bloody mighty. Can you forgive me?
- Daniel Dravot
Ay, that I can, and that I do, Danny.
- Peachy Carnehan
Let him put *that* in his paper. If he is in need of news.
- Daniel Dravot
Keep looking at me. It helps to keep my soul from flying off.
- Peachy Carnehan
Pardon me while I fall down laughing. HA, HA, HA.
- Peachy Carnehan

Trivia

'Huston, John' tried to launch the film version of "The Man Who Would Be King" many times before completing it . It was originally conceived as a vehicle for Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart in the fifties, and later as a vehicle for Burt Lancaster and 'Douglas, Kirk' . When it was considered as a vehicle for 'Redford, Robert' and 'Newman, Paul' , Newman suggested Sean Connery and 'Caine, Michael' .

Director 'Huston, John' had failed to cast the role of Roxanne before shooting started. During filming, at a small dinner party for some cast and crew Huston was asked if he had yet filled the part. When he answered no, all heads turned toward Shakira Caine, star 'Caine, Michael' 's wife. Huston cast her on the spot.

Karroom Ben Bouih, who played the high priest Kafu-Selim, was 103 years old when he made his first and only film appearance. When he saw some of the footage he declared that now he would live on forever.

Sean Connery stood on the bridge while the first (nonstructural) ropes were cut. However, for the actual fall, he was replaced by stuntman Joe Powell.

The main theme of the movie is an old Irish air "The Moreen" to which Thomas Moore wrote the lyrics "The minstrel boy to the war is gone." However the words sung by Daniel and Peachie are from the Christian Hymn "The Son of God goes forth to war" by Reginald Heber.

Albert Whitlock completed the matte painting of the fortress in only six hours.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States August 1997

Released in United States Winter December 1975

Shown at Edinburgh International Film Festival (Closing Night) August 10-24, 1997.

Released in USA on video.

Released in United States August 1997 (Shown at Edinburgh International Film Festival (Closing Night) August 10-24, 1997.)

Released in United States Winter December 1975