The Man Who Would Be King (1975) Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, Saeed Jaffrey Movie Review

The Man Who Would Be King (1975)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Sean Connery and Michael Caine in The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

Connery's Power Move

Ex British Army sergeants, Daniel Dravot (Sean Connery) and ‘Peachy’ Carnehan (Michael Caine) come to the attention of newspaper correspondent Rudyard Kipling (Christopher Plummer) when the two rogues fail in their attempts to blackmail someone in power. As the trio are Masons they share a bond which Daniel and Peachy use when the two decide to go to Kafiristan and so have Kipling witness an agreement between the two to remain loyal to each other in their adventure even though he thinks they are mad. And so they start their journey which not only sees them deal with avalanches and bandits but also near death experiences. But it is a near death experience for Daniel which sees him made a ruler of Kafiristan which leads to a difference of opinion between the two friends.

There is a simple fact that all movie reviewers know; if you saw a movie when it was released there is a better chance of loving it than if you came to it many years later. In many ways it is common sense but it leads to two issues; the first of which is those who watch a well loved moved several decades later and wonder why it is held in such high esteem. The second issue is that those who hold an old movie in high esteem can be quite protective, just see the out cry when the words remake are mentioned alongside a much loved movie. The reason I mentioned this is that it is 40 years since legendary director John Huston made "The Man Who Would Be King" and having just experienced it for the first time I am left neither disappointed nor enthusiastic about it.

Christopher Plummer in The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

Now if I was to sit here with a list I would tick a lot of boxes whilst watching "The Man Who Would Be King". There is some enjoyable comedy banter between the characters of Danny and Peachy and the pairing of Sean Connery and Michael Caine works well with a lot of camaraderie. In fact whilst there in a supporting role Christopher Plummer is also entertaining as Rudyard Kipling. There is also some enjoyable writing none more so as to when Daniel and Peachy plan to lead a tribe in to battle only for both side to pause to allow some religious men to walk across the battle field. On the subject of which Huston whilst not making this an epic certainly captures the impressive locations.

The trouble is that it feels like Huston was determined to make what was originally a short story by Kipling in to something more, something substantial which exceeded two hours. But in doing so he makes "The Man Who Would Be King" feel drawn out with scenes which go on much longer than is necessary when it comes to the telling of the story as well as getting the moral of it across.

What this all boils down to is that "The Man Who Would Be King" is the sort of movie which probably holds some sort of charm for those who saw it back in 1975 but watched now ends up a flawed movie due to it being drawn out and over long.