This Tuesday June 7, 2011, one of the greatest adventure films of all time will be coming to DVD and Blu-ray. The Man Who Would Be King (1975) is one of director John Huston’s finest films and one of my favorite Rudyard Kipling adaptations.
The film stars Sean Connery and Michael Caine as two British soldiers who are stationed in India and decide to seek out the distant and isolated land of Kafiristan. The journey is filled with peril and once they get there, they immediate carry out with their mad plan.
“In any place where they fight, a man who knows how to drill men can always be a King. We shall go to those parts and say to any King we find – “D’you want to vanquish your foes?’ and we will show him how to drill men; for that we know better than anything else. Then we will subvert that King and seize his Throne and establish a Dynasty.”
They find a Gurkha soldier named Billy Fish (Saeed Jaffrey) who speaks both English and the native tongue. They go to the first village and inform the leader there that they want to help him defeat his enemies. When they go to fight Connery is shot with an arrow that doesn’t kill him but becomes entangled in his uniform instead. The locals then start to think that Connery is a god and things get real interesting from there.
The film was original released way back in 1997 on DVD. It was one of those really early DVD’s that were flippers. Half the movie on one side, the other half on the other. They were really annoying to watch because the movie stops and you have to get up and flip the disc. Not that I’m lazy but it disrupted the flow of the film. Because of this I refused to buy it, assuming that Warner Brothers would upgrade the DVD, which like all movie companies, they love to do. There are ten versions of Army of Darkness on DVD, surely there is a market for two copies of The Man Who Would Be King. Fourteen years later and I was right.