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Azi la Cinemax: Omul care voia sa fie rege (1975, John Huston)

The Man Who Would Be King (film)


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The Man Who Would Be King

original film poster by Tom Jung
Directed by John Huston
Produced by John Foreman
Written by Rudyard Kipling (story)
John Huston
Gladys Hill
Starring Sean Connery
Michael Caine
Christopher Plummer
Saeed Jaffrey
Music by Maurice Jarre
Cinematography Oswald Morris
Distributed by USA: Allied Artists Pictures Corporation
non-USA: Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) 17 December 1975
Running time 129 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English

The Man Who Would Be King is a 1975 film adapted from the Rudyard Kipling short story of the same title. It was adapted and directed by John Huston and starred Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Saeed Jaffrey, and Christopher Plummer as Kipling (giving a name to the short story's anonymous narrator).

The film follows two rogue ex-non-commissioned officers of the British Raj who set off from 19th century British India in search of adventure and end up as kings of Kafiristan. Kipling is believed to have been inspired by the travels of American adventurer Josiah Harlan during the period of the Great Game between Imperial Russia and the British Empire and James Brooke, an Englishman who became the "white Raja" of Sarawak in Borneo. Like much of his writing, Kipling's original story takes a nuanced view of imperialism; in Huston's telling, both East and West have their faults and virtues.

 

 Plot

While working as a correspondent at the offices of the Northern Star newspaper, Kipling (Christopher Plummer) is approached by a ragged, seemingly crazed derelict, who reveals himself to be his old acquaintance Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine). Peachy tells Kipling the story of how he and his comrade-in-arms Danny Dravot (Sean Connery) travelled to remote Kafiristan (in modern-day Afghanistan), became gods, and ultimately lost everything.

A few years earlier, the pair of rogues had met Kipling at his office. After signing a contract pledging mutual loyalty and forswearing drink and women until they achieved their grandiose aims, Peachy and Danny set off on an epic overland journey north beyond the Khyber Pass, "travelling by night and avoiding villages", fighting off bandits, blizzards and avalanches, into the unknown land of Kafiristan (literally "Land of the (Non-Muslim) Infidels").

They chance upon a Gurkha soldier who goes by the name Billy Fish (Saeed Jaffrey), the sole survivor of a mapping expedition several years before. Billy speaks English as well as the local tongue, and it is he, acting as translator and interpreter of the customs and manners, who smooths the path of Peachy and Danny as they begin their rise, first offering their services as military advisors, trainers, and war leaders to the chief of a much-raided village.

Peachy and Danny muster a force to attack the villagers' most-hated enemy. In their first battle, the natives decide that Danny must be a god when he is unharmed after being struck in the chest by an arrow. In fact, the arrow was stopped by a bandolier hidden beneath his clothing. As victory follows victory, the defeated are recruited to join the swelling army.

Finally, there is no one left to stand in their way, and they are summoned to the holy city of Sikandergul. There, the head holy man sets up a re-enactment of the arrow incident, but when Danny flinches, the holy monks grab him & rip open his shirt, in order to pinpoint whether he is a man or a god by seeing if he bleeds or not. Only to be stopped however, by Danny's Masonic Jewel (given to him for luck by fellow Mason Kipling). By coincidence, the symbol on the Jewel matches that of "Sikander" (Alexander the Great), who had passed through many centuries ago and promised to return. The holy men who rule the city are convinced Danny is the reincarnation of Sikander. They hail him as king and lead the two men down to storerooms heaped with treasure that belonged to Sikander, which now belong to Danny.

Danny develops delusions of grandeur and begins making plans to turn the land into a modern country, to the extent that he envisages eventually meeting Queen Victoria "as an equal". As the months pass, Peachy is anxious to leave with the treasure before winter closes the passes (and before the natives learn the truth). Danny is against it. He goes so far as to suggest that Peachy bow to him like the others. Disgusted, Peachy decides to take as much booty as he can carry on a small mule train, with his old friend's blessing.

Meanwhile, Danny decides to take a wife after seeing the beautiful Roxanne (played by Caine's wife Shakira), despite Peachy's strong warning. Roxanne, having a superstitious fear that she will be struck dead if she consorts with a god, tries frantically to escape, biting Danny during the wedding ceremony. The bite draws blood, and when everyone sees it, they realise Danny is human after all.

The angry natives pursue him and Peachy. Billy tries to buy time by courageously charging the mob singlehandedly with a Khukuri, but the pair are soon captured. Danny is forced to walk to the middle of a rope bridge over a deep gorge; he apologises to Peachy before the ropes are cut. Peachy is crucified between two pine trees, but is cut down the next day when he miraculously survives the ordeal. Eventually, he escapes, though his mind has become unhinged by his sufferings. As Peachy finishes his story, he presents Kipling with Danny's head, still wearing its crown, thereby proving the tale is true.

 Cast

Shot on location in Morocco, Huston had planned to make the film since the 1950s, originally with Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable, then Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, and then Robert Redford and Paul Newman — Newman suggested British actors Connery and Caine.

Saeed Jaffrey is an ethnic Indian, not a Gurkha.

The film has almost no speaking parts for women, and except for the part of Roxanne (who barely speaks at all), there are no other named female roles.

 Reception

In a retrospective review, the New York Times called it "Gloriously old-fashioned in its approach – right down to the characters' politically incorrect attitudes toward anyone who isn't one hundred per cent British – The Man Who Would Be King is pure entertainment in the grand tradition of Gunga Din." Roger Ebert wrote, "It's been a long time since there's been an escapist entertainment quite this unabashed and thrilling and fun."[1]

] Awards and nominations

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards:[2]

 Music

Maurice Jarre scored the film and invited classical Indian musicians to participate in the recording sessions with a traditional European symphony, blending the musical styles for the melodies, based around the hymn "The Minstrel Boy", (although the lyrics are those of Reginald Heber's "The Son of God Goes Forth to War"), which figures in the plot. Connery and Caine sang for the LP and CD of the film music.

 Comparison to the short story

The movie is largely faithful to the original story, except at the end which has the half-insane Carnehan leaving Dravot's head on Kipling's desk. In the original story, Carnehan takes Dravot's head with him; two days later, the unnamed narrator has Carnehan taken to an insane asylum, where he dies of sunstroke. No belongings are found with Carnehan. There are also variations in the use of masonic detail - for more information, see Daniel Dravot.

[ Inaccuracies

Billy Fish is accurately depicted as a Gurkha rifleman of the British Indian Army, from the uniform to the Kukri knife. His battle cry when he charges the mob at the end, "Ayo Gurkhali!" ("The Gurkhas are here!"), is in fact the ancient war-cry that is still in use. However, Billy translates English into Hindi while ostensibly speaking to the natives of Kafiristan, who then answer him in their native tongue.

 Parodies

This story/movie was parodied in "The Beef who Would be King", an episode of the animated television series Galaxy High, as well as in SCTV's "The Man Who Would Be King of the Popes"..

 References

[ External links

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