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Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

In 1885, two con men and ex-officers of the Indian Army (Sean Connery, Michael Caine) devise a plot to travel to the desolate and remote country of Kafiristan, overthrow its King and become kings themselves. Based on the novella by Rudyard Kipling and directed by John Huston. The film feels old fashioned (in a good way) but also fresh. Everything aligns perfectly from the screenplay (by Huston and Gladys Hill) to Oswald Morris's glistening cinematography (it was filmed in Morocco) and expert performances by Caine and Connery (it may possibly be Connery's best work). The two con men with their superior imperialist attitude should be repugnant yet you can't help but like them. Connery and Caine's camaraderie is tangible and goes a long way in keeping the movie afloat. It's great fun but also moving in its own way as its two protagonists discover too late that they're in way over their heads. Edith Head's costumes were justifiably Oscar nominated but shockingly Maurice Jarre's most effective underscore was not. With Christopher Plummer as Kipling, Saeed Jaffrey and Shakira Caine (Michael's wife).

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