Roger Ebert called the John Huston film, The Man Who Would Be King (1975), “unabashed and thrilling and fun.” To me, there is too much brutality displayed for the picture actually to be fun, but a frank and enjoyable adaptation of Kipling it is. Peachy (Michael Caine) and Daniel (Sean Connery) are blackguards. A British colonial in India says he has no cause for arresting them but, as it happens, primitives in a faraway land have cause for executing them.

In point of fact, the men abide by certain values the Empire smiles on, but they also fail the Empire’s institutions, from the military to the church. Both are ex-soldiers, demonstrating as much gusto in their warfare as in their corruption. Good material is here for a film, which film is not much flawed and devotedly made. In terms of merit The Man Who Would Be King is the movie The Wind and the Lion should have been.