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Customer Review

49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rollicking Old Fashioned Adventure., 21 Jun. 2009
This review is from: The Man Who Would Be King [DVD] (DVD)
After watching Oliver Stone's truly awful film "Alexander the directors cut" where credulity was well and truly stretched with the Irish accents and an overdose of male bonding, I was in dire need of an antidote. I decided to reacquaint myself with John Huston's "The Man who would be King". I was not disappointed. The film has aged very well in the thirty odd years since it was made.

It is based on a story by the very British Rudyard Kipling who had lived and worked in India. It is a simple adventure story in the tradition of "Kim" and "Gunga Din", two other stories he wrote that were set in India during the time of the raj. Both these books were made into films by Hollywood. Huston had wanted to make a film of the book since the fifties and originally wanted Gable and Bogart, then as time wore on it was Lancaster and Douglas then Redford and Newman. Finally sense prevailed when Newman suggested the two very British actors Sean Connery and Michael Caine. A very good choice they are too, playing roles made for them. In stark contrast to "Alexander" their accents fit in seamlessly.

The film follows the fortunes of two rogues, Daniel Dravet played by Connery and Peachey Carnehan played by Caine. These two colourful characters are time served soldiers of the British Raj. Their nefarious activities bring them into contact with Rudyard Kipling, played by Christopher Plummer, and they hatch a daring plan to make a fortune by becoming the first white men since Alexander the Great to enter the kingdom of Kafiristan in the remote Hindu Kush. After an epic journey they reach their destination where Danny after a stroke of fortune is revered as a God. Like Alexander he comes under the spell of an alluring woman called Roxanna played by Michael Caine's very beautiful wife Shakira. He decides to wed her which causes much consternation amongst the locals. Gods don't marry mere mortals and they certainly don't bleed. With untold wealth within their grasp will the pair escape before being rumbled?

The essence of the film picks up the quintessential Britishness of Kipling's work remarkably well, in an era when Britain had an empire and Brittania ruled the waves. It has a handsome look and there is much to be admired. The location filming in Morocco and Chamonix was very impressive. I have been to both places but still believed it must have been filmed somewhere on the sub continent around the Himalayas. The dress of the local inhabitants also seemed very authentic to my untrained eye. The music by Michael Jarre is an excellent mix, using music from India and blending it with his own style and some old British stiff upper lip colonial type music. Saeed Jaffrey gives excellent support as the loyal Billy Fish and I believe Connery and Caine were never better. The film is hugely entertaining and is a fine achievement. Highly recommended.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Jan 2010 04:57:14 GMT
JCV says:
I saw "Alexander, The Directors Cut". I cannot comment on it, however, because I subjected it to "Alexander, The Viewers Cut It Off" and shoved Apollo 13 into the VCR. Yes, I know I am dating myself, I still have a VCR.

Posted on 3 Dec 2011 17:07:56 GMT
Andy K says:
Is there a UK region blu ray of this film? I really hope the &^%* who dreamed up regional coding suffers an eternity of torments.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Dec 2011 12:50:35 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 4 Dec 2011 12:52:50 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Dec 2011 13:10:02 GMT
Haverer says:
The US import is in reality region free and will play on a region 2 player. I have it myself and it plays fine on my Sony region-locked blu-ray player. As an aside the folloing site gives region information for Blu-ray discs http://bluray.liesinc.net/

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Dec 2011 14:41:13 GMT
Andy K says:
Thank you, very helpful

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jan 2013 00:58:08 GMT
I understand the US edition is missing several scenes.
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Location: Wiltshire, England

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