Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Adventure film 2: The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

In this episode we talk about the 1975 John Huston film, The Man Who Would Be King, based on the short story by Rudyard Kipling. Click the image below to listen to the podcast (27.1 MB, 1 hour 15 mins).

Recorded Monday 30 May 2011, edited by Murray Ewing.

Notes & Errata: 'A Touch of Zen' began filming in 1969 but wasn't completed until 1971, with 1971 being the release date.

Purchase the DVD from Amazon UK: The Man Who Would Be King (1975).


  1. Enjoyed today's program, including the added Afghan history (like the part about family members creating their own history - would be very interesting to hear more on the Afghan topic).

    And like last week, I will have to have a few listens to catch everything.

    I know it's true about films can be for a male audience or female audience, but for me, as long as the story is well told and characters are engaging, that's what's gets me excited about a film.

    I got thinking...I do remember Plummer playing Kipling in this film, and someone playing Kipling in Gunga Din, but was trying to think of any other films Kipling was played as a character? (And if Kipling ever appeared in an early silent film?)

    It has been awhile since I have seen this film, but placed on my list to get. And this didn't spoil it, just peaked my interest in seeing again. Thanks for doing this!

  2. According to Philip Leibfried's Kipling/Haggard film book (2000) by 1975 Christopher Plummer was only the third actor to play Kipling on film, the other two being Reginald Sheffield in Gunga Din (1939) and David Watson in a 1966 TV episode of The Time Tunnel.

  3. The Time Tunnel is a new one for me. I never saw it. Thanks. (Also going to try and find 'A Touch of Zen.' Says 1971 on the IMDb listing. That sounds very interesting.)

  4. IMDB adds two more (pre-1975) - Paul Scardon in The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944) and Dennis Kohler in a 1960 episode of Shirley Temple's Storybook.

  5. I always remembered the 1969 date for A Touch of Zen as it was my own year of birth. Wikipedia reveals it began filming in '69 but wasn't completed until 1971, so '71 would be the correct date - I'll add that info, thanks.

  6. Really enjoyed that again guys. I'm not remotely as familiar with this as I was with King Kong - I only saw The Man Who Would Be King for the first time a few years ago.

    My film education from my parents was generally pretty good but for some reason I was raised to believe both TMWWBK and Laurence Of Arabia we boring which I naturally accepted way way way into adulthood. When I finally got around to watching them I utterly loved them both.

  7. Thanks, Lee. I always loved TMWWBK, but grew to like 'Lawrence...' on about the third viweing. Even so, I'm wondering if that's the one I might struggle with things to say about it. We'll see!

  8. Really enjoying these. Know Kong well, have seen TMWWBK a while ago, but remember it fondly. Ashamed to say have never seen Treasure, so may have to do homework for the next one! Looking forward to favorites like Time Bandits, Lost Horizon and Raiders.

  9. Glad to hear you're enjoying them, Jonathan. We're certainly enjoying making them! Treasure podcast just recorded - well worth watching the film.

  10. I just got the DVD of this a few days ago and watched it. Your podcast didn't spoil my viewing, but only enhanced it. Excellently acted, as you mentioned.

    The opening scene was quite amazing too. And I would have never known about the mat scenes created in this, as they did look seamless in the film. Much better than the computer stuff in films today.

    Just wish Warner Brothers DVDs of this was better. The film is split into two parts, on a single double sided disc. It just stops and goes black. It has no menu on the first side (only the second side) and film image appears stretched, as some of the heads of the actors are cropped off. So thumbs down on the recent Warner Bros. DVD release in the US. Hope a proper release will come out someday. But I enjoyed the film, very much.