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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> January 2002 >> The Man Who Would Be King

The Man Who Would Be King

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
3 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
January 2002
IMDB Name:
Man Who Would Be King, The (1975)
John Huston
MPAA Rating:


By the time he made The Man Who Would Be King, John Huston had been a top name in movie directing for decades. He headlined the cast with three big names: Sean Connery, Michael Caine, and Christoper Plummer. Given the extraordinary travelogue potential, he filmed on three continents, bringing Oswald Morris along to capture the sweeping majesty. Edith Head did the costumes. Maurice Jarre did the score. With all of this royalty in the production, and the classic storytelling of Rudyard Kipling as a foundation, Man was destined to be something great. Connery and Caine are a formidable duo playing interesting characters. The story provides action, suspense, and mile after mile of spectacular scenery. What could be better?

Of course, for this to be properly enjoyed, it has to be watched properly. I made a critical mistake, outlined in the DVD comments, and so the movie can never be as terrific for me as I suspect it is. I can pretty solidly recommend it, though.


Earlier, I mentioned that the movie was filmed on three continents. The movie is set entirely in Asia, but was filmed in Europe, Africa, and North America.

DVD Comments

The most grave offense commited by the DVD for Man Who Would Be King is the decision to go with a dual-sided disc. When I first got the disc, I looked at the little label and saw "Side B Widescreen". Knowing that I didn't want the pan-and-scan version, that's what I picked. This mistake forever ruined the flow of the movie for me: I watched the last fifty minutes before the first eighty! I waited more than a year to try to forget what I'd seen, but Huston's filmmaking left too much of an impression for that to work. Even barring the possibility of others repeating my mistake, disc-flipping is quite annoying on its own. Since multi-side laserdiscs were the norm, some players were equipped to automatically play both sides of a disc. I've yet to see a DVD player with that capability, and I've almost never seen a need for it, either. One other annoyance with having to physically remove the disc from the player: the player sees a different disc and resets the preferences between Side A and Side B, so that subtitles must be reactivated manually.

The bonus features of the disc are largely undistinguished. There are about a dozen screens of text, each more difficult to read than the previous. The designers chose a typeface that is poorly suited to any amount of body text, and then placed it over background images that are far too busy to ever look good on a television. The topics covered typically get one screen of text, even though the text often sounds like the beginning of an essay. The making-of featurette "Call It Magic" is of reasonable quality and provides some interesting information. The one good thing about the disc is the abundance of trailers for classic films like The Maltese Falcon.

See the IMDB information on The Man Who Would Be King's DVD or compare prices at DVD Price Search.

Copyright 2002 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.