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The Man Who Would Be King Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! 

By Jim Emerson

A grandly entertaining, old-fashioned adventure based on the Rudyard Kipling short story, The Man Who Would Be King is the kind of rousing epic about which people said, even in 1975, "Wow! They don't make 'em like that anymore!" When director John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The African Queen) first started trying to make the film, with Gable and Bogart, the project was derailed by the latter's death. It was a few decades before Huston was able to finally realize his dream movie--and with an unimprovable cast. Sean Connery and Michael Caine are, respectively, Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnahan, a pair of lovably roguish British soldiers who set out to make their fortunes by conning the priests of remote Kafiristan into making them kings. It's a rollicking tale, an epic satire of imperialism, and the good-natured repartee shared by Caine and Connery is pure gold. In today's screen adventures, humor is usually imposed on the material by a writer or director trying to make some kind of cleverly self-aware comment ("Hey, we know it's a movie!"), but that sort of jokiness can create so much ironic distance that it pushes the audience right out of the picture. Huston lets the humor emerge naturally from the characters, for whom we wind up caring more deeply than we ever expected. The digital video disc includes a wonderful documentary on the making of the film.

See also: The Wind and the Lion (1975).

Academy Awards

The Man Who Would Be King received Academy Awards nominations for Writing (Best Screenplay adapted from other material; John Huston & Gladys Hill), Art Direction/Set Decoration (Alexander Trauner - Art Direction, Tony Inglis - Art Direction, Peter James - Set Decoration); Costume Design (Edith Head), and Film Editing (Russell Lloyd).

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: John Huston

Stars: Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Shakira Caine, Christopher Plummer, Saeed Jaffrey

Released: December 17, 1975

Availability: DVD VHS


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