John Huston Pauline Kael - Essay

Pauline Kael

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

As a movie, this Empire gothic [The Man Who Would Be King] has elements of Gunga Din and of a cynical Lost Horizon, along with something that hasn't been a heroic attribute in other Empire-gothic movies: the desire to become the highest-ranking person that one can envision. The heroes are able to achieve their goal only because of the primitiveness of the people they conquer, and this is very likely the stumbling block that kept the movie from being financed for the twenty-odd years that Huston wanted to do it. Maybe he was able to, finally, on the assumption that enough time has passed for the heroes' attitude toward the native populations of India and Kafiristan—the benighted heathen—to seem...

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