The 25 Movies They’d Better Never Remake.
DIRECTED BY: John Huston
STARRING: Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer
Two friends and ex-army pals, Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine) and Daniel Dravot (Sean Connery), have an idea to make themselves rich; in order to do so they must cross the perilous Khyber Pass that leads into Kafiristan. When they do, an accidental arrow-shooting incident leads to Dravot being declared a God and riches beyond their wildest dreams being lavished upon them. Of course Dravot lets the power go to his head and sort-of beard, and it eventually leads to his downfall and ultimate death. Carnehan is beaten and mutilated, but survives the trip back… carrying with him the severed head of his friend Dravot.
In every sense of the word, The Man Who Would Be King is an “Old Hollywood” movie. It’s a patient character drama with only a handful of action scenes, relying more on the interplay between Connery and Caine. There are some who consider this a small classic (as opposed to something like Gone With the Wind or Lawrence of Arabia), which is one that isn’t really regarded as sacred. Obviously I’m not one of those people. King is actually a bigger film than most realize, and it accomplished this without swallowing vast amounts of cash in the process. Filmed on location in Morocco, Huston got a lot out of his scenery, and it gives the film this exotic vibe shooting on a backlot never would have. People will point to the fact that there aren’t any real massive set pieces to point to, but what it does have are some great little events scattered throughout that help build the feel and presence. In many ways it is a small film masquerading as a big budget epic, but a classic in every sense of the word. A film like this could never exist in today’s Hollywood. The studio would keep it short for two reasons: they would be afraid modern audiences would find the tempo boring, and secondly they would want to maximize the number of showings per day in order to make the most dollars. So a business decision would very likely overrule a creative one and the eventual remake would suffer. Plus, the list of filmmakers who could do a film like this is slim to begin with.
- Sealing the deal inside Kipling’s office. Sounds like slang, but it’s a great little scene. The fellows sign a contract stating they will not partake of booze or women during their trek, then light their last cigars by striking their matches against one another. It’s a great, quiet scene. And striking matches like that isn’t all that easy.
- The lads’ disapproval of authority, such as the scene where they yell at an Embassy official before spinning and walking out. A wonderful character moment.
- The playing-polo-with-a-severed-head bit. Classic.
- The moment where the priests discover Dravot’s a phony. It’s a chilling moment, especially because Carnehan was so close to leaving before the truth was revealed.
- Danny’s last stand, all alone in the middle of the rope bridge singing, trying to hold back the tears. A heartbreaking moment and one of Connery’s best acting moments.
- The iconic final scene, where Peachy delivers the decayed severed head of Dravot to Kipling. A perfect ending.
A Man’s beard.
It would be scary filth, and not in the good way. I shudder at the thought of a dumbed-down interpretation, with more focus on action and sex than character development (although, that doesn’t sound too bad). And with the way things are trending these days you’d figure it’d probably be in 3D. The film is wonderful mainly because the chemistry between the two stars is an oozing thing, it’s real. I can’t think of a modern duo who could possibly be as enjoyable to watch as Connery and Caine and the film still be a drama. It’s a real shame they never worked together again after this (although they both appeared in A Bridge Too Far, they didn’t share a scene).
- A couple of camel chase scenes.
- Only a few thousand more killings.
- Probably get rid of Peachy’s name, too old fashioned. Maybe replace it with something classy, like Prick Gypsy.
- Over saturate the whole film, give it that nice glossy hue that reminds one of nuclear fallout.
- Let Len Wiseman direct it.
The Man Who Would Be King was nearly made several times earlier with others in the lead roles, such as Bogart/Gable, Lancaster/Douglas, Newman/Redford and Stallone/Russell.
It’s possible that last one isn’t true.
Rebuttal: None. We agree!
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