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Two British soldiers in India decide to resign from the Army and set themselves up as deities in Kafiristan--a land where no white man has set foot since Alexander.

  • John Huston
  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
  • Devon/Persky-Bright
  • Allied Artists Pictures
" The Man Who Would Be King" is about two ambitious ex-soldiers stationed in India who set out to become the rulers of an entire country. After finishing their tour of duty in India, Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnehan have decided that India is "too small for the likes of them," so they decide to bribe a local ruler and extort money from him, in order to buy twenty Martini rifles, which they will use to take over villages in Kafristan. They face many challenges and perils along the way, including difficult terrain, hostile natives, freezing temperatures, and an avalanche high in the mountains. They eventually come to a small village, Urheb, where they meet Ootah and Billy Fish, an Indian who speaks English; he then becomes their translator. They then train the natives of this village to use the rifles, and soon conquer village after village. During a battle, Daniel is struck by an arrow that seemingly sticks out of his chest. The ignorant natives believe that he must be a God for not having died, and fall down and begin worshiping him. Daniel and Peachy decide that it would be easier for a "God " to take over the country, so they pretend that Daniel is a god, the son of Alexander the Great who has returned after 2200 years to again rule Kafristan. The entire country celebrated the return of their new ruler, the Son of Segunda ("Alexander"). As a token of their admiration, the holiest of holy men gives Daniel all of the gold and riches left by Alexander in 328 B.C. It is enough to make them the richest men in the world . . . All goes well until Daniel's ego and greed gets the best of him. He asks Peachy to bow when he walks in front of him. He later tells Peachy that he has decided to stay, and now believes that he is the son of Alexander ( 'in spirit, anyways"), and that to fulfill his destiny, he will marry Roxanne, like his "father" Alexander did before him. The Kafiri's believe that a mortal cannot marry a God, but Daniel goes ahead anyway. Peachy was set to leave with his share of the treasure, but Daniel convinced him to stay " for old time's sake" for the wedding. At the ceremony, Roxanne, believing that she would soon die, bites Daniel, drawing blood. The entire crowd realizes that since Danny is bleeding, that he is a man, not a God, and that he has been deceiving them the entire time. Peachy grabs Daniel and they run off with their twenty soldiers, shooting at the crowd of monks who set out to kill them. They are eventually captured, and Daniel is forced to walk out on a rope bridge. The monks cut the ropes, and Daniel bravely falls to his death. Peachy is later crucified; when they come to see him the next day, he is still alive, and they say that it is a miracle that he lived and they cut him down. He eventually climbs down into the valley and retrieves Danny's head, still wearing the crown. He brings it back to Rudyard Kipling, a writer for the Northern Star, as proof that Daniel accomplished his goal, and became the King of Kafristan. Themes developed in the story: 1. ambition 2. friendship 3. taking risks 4. perseverance (not giving up) 5. power 6. honor and dignity


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