The Man Who Would Be King

How good is The Man Who Would Be King on a scale of 1-10?


  • Total voters
    50

Ranko

I'll shoot the gunner first!
I just finished watching The Man Who Would Be King, a movie from 1975 starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer.

After having seen it, I'd say that there's a pretty good chance the song is related either to the movie or Rudyard Kipling's book of the same name and theme.

The movie begins in a manner very similar to Rime of the Ancient Mariner - Peachy (M. Caine) comes to Kipling (C. Plummer) and tells him how a few years back himself and Danny (S. Connery) were in the very same office, plotting their plan. The plot then goes back a few years when Peachy first encounters Kipling and realizes that they're both freemasons, as is Danny.

Kipling is actually just a side character, and Danny and Peachy are the main characters. Their plan is to go to the land of Kafiristan (part of modern-day Afghanistan) and become rulers of the land. On their journey, they run into desert robbers and even survive an avalanche.

When they finaly arrive to one of the villages in Kafiristan (armed with rifles and guns), they promise the local people to rid them of their enemies. A few battles after, Danny gets shot at with an arrow that hits his bandolier and doesn't injure him. The local people see this as a sign and start considering him to be a god, and he manages to unite all of the villages without even a fight. A priest discovers that he's wearing a medallion with masonic symbols (square, compasses and the all-seeing eye) and declares him to be the son of Sikander, or as we know him, Alexander the Great, who also apparently wore the same symbols.

The Kafiri people, who have been guarding Sikander's treasures for two millennia, now relinquish it all to Danny (and we're talking an entire room filled with gold and rubies). However, because it's monsoon season, they can't leave for another four months so Danny starts ruling the country and eventually planning to turn it into an empire and creating a dynasty of his own. Although Peachy warns him against his delusions of grandeur, Danny decides to take a local girl and marry her. The priests warn against it, but he remains adamant about it. During the wedding ceremony, the girl bites him and of course he starts bleeding, which is a sign to everyone that he is no god.

The locals decide to execute him by throwing him off a bridge. Back in the present time, Peachy tells Kipling that he himself was crucified between two trees and presents him with Danny's crowned head. The end.

As I said, the narrative structure is similar to ROTAM, as is the morality of the story - don't get cocky, you'll get your punishment for it.

A little bit about the movie itself: the pacing is kind of slow, there are no twists or turns during its course, the plot just goes forward, follows their journey. All of the British characters act a bit racist towards the non-British (Indians, the Kafiri etc) whom they consider subordinate. The non-Brits are portrayed like simple and obedient people, at first it seemed to me that it's satirical, but after reading a bit about Kipling's views, it's also possible that he personally believed that Britain was there to help the other "lower" nations, whether they wanted it or not, and that they in turn owed them obedience. :huh:
 

Genghis Khan

Ancient Mariner
I've seen the movie in a history class in university highschool.  You're right that is has similar morals as ROTAM.  Hopefully, it has excellent riffs, mood and lyrics as well.

EDIT: Crossed out.
 

Jeffmetal

Ancient Mariner
Great synopsis, Ranko. Gonna watch this movie any of these days. Total Harris kind of tale about life lessons, and about the moral of the movie, it has a lot to do with Russell's quote in my sig.
 

Stan

Nomad
I don't know about this one, the 30 second clip just sounded bizarre... it didn't sound like Maiden at all. Hope the song is good.
 

Khan

Trooper
Ranko said:
I just finished watching The Man Who Would Be King, a movie from 1975 starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer.

After having seen it, I'd say that there's a pretty good chance the song is related either to the movie or Rudyard Kipling's book of the same name and theme.

The movie begins in a manner very similar to Rime of the Ancient Mariner - Peachy (M. Caine) comes to Kipling (C. Plummer) and tells him how a few years back himself and Danny (S. Connery) were in the very same office, plotting their plan. The plot then goes back a few years when Peachy first encounters Kipling and realizes that they're both freemasons, as is Danny.

Kipling is actually just a side character, and Danny and Peachy are the main characters. Their plan is to go to the land of Kafiristan (part of modern-day Afghanistan) and become rulers of the land. On their journey, they run into desert robbers and even survive an avalanche.

When they finaly arrive to one of the villages in Kafiristan (armed with rifles and guns), they promise the local people to rid them of their enemies. A few battles after, Danny gets shot at with an arrow that hits his bandolier and doesn't injure him. The local people see this as a sign and start considering him to be a god, and he manages to unite all of the villages without even a fight. A priest discovers that he's wearing a medallion with masonic symbols (square, compasses and the all-seeing eye) and declares him to be the son of Sikander, or as we know him, Alexander the Great, who also apparently wore the same symbols.

The Kafiri people, who have been guarding Sikander's treasures for two millennia, now relinquish it all to Danny (and we're talking an entire room filled with gold and rubies). However, because it's monsoon season, they can't leave for another four months so Danny starts ruling the country and eventually planning to turn it into an empire and creating a dynasty of his own. Although Peachy warns him against his delusions of grandeur, Danny decides to take a local girl and marry her. The priests warn against it, but he remains adamant about it. During the wedding ceremony, the girl bites him and of course he starts bleeding, which is a sign to everyone that he is no god.

The locals decide to execute him by throwing him off a bridge. Back in the present time, Peachy tells Kipling that he himself was crucified between two trees and presents him with Danny's crowned head. The end.

As I said, the narrative structure is similar to ROTAM, as is the morality of the story - don't get cocky, you'll get your punishment for it.

A little bit about the movie itself: the pacing is kind of slow, there are no twists or turns during its course, the plot just goes forward, follows their journey. All of the British characters act a bit racist towards the non-British (Indians, the Kafiri etc) whom they consider subordinate. The non-Brits are portrayed like simple and obedient people, at first it seemed to me that it's satirical, but after reading a bit about Kipling's views, it's also possible that he personally believed that Britain was there to help the other "lower" nations, whether they wanted it or not, and that they in turn owed them obedience. :huh:

I REALLY hate to say this...but the lyrics don't sound anything like that story.
 

Khan

Trooper
Suicidehummer said:
Does it suggest any king in particular?

Nope...unless it's SO subtle that you'd really have to know your history very well to pick it out.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I've translated the following piece with Steve Harris from an interview in the latest Aardschok (Dutch rock & metal magazine).

Location: Toronto / date: probably 3 Juli 2010, the concert date, since the gig was reviewed by the interviewer.

Steve Harris:
“Another extreme is “The Man Who Wouldn’t Be King”. It is a challenging, capricious composition. Because of that reason, Rod didn’t want it on the record. It would be too difficult for the average listener. I let myself have my own way with this. I think it’s good if a record can give something to everybody: direct and complex songs.”
Grins: “I should remember to play the album to our manager when everything is done and when nothing can be changed anymore.”
 
Forostar said:
I've translated the following piece with Steve Harris from an interview in the latest Aardschok (Dutch rock & metal magazine).

Location: Toronto / date: probably 3 Juli 2010, the concert date, since the gig was reviewed by the interviewer.

I'll put it in spoiler tags, and as soon as the album is released, I'll remove these tags.


Steve Harris:
“Another extreme is “The Man Who Wouldn’t Be King”. It is a challenging, capricious composition. Because of that reason, Rod didn’t want it on the record. It would be too difficult for the average listener. I let myself have my own way with this. I think it’s good if a record can give something to everybody: direct and complex songs.”
Grins: “I should remember to play the album to our manager when everything is done and when nothing can be changed anymore.”

If the song is actually as good as Steve made it out to be in that interview, it could possibly be one of the best songs on the entire record, or even Maiden's career!
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
What amazes me is that Rod Smallwood tries to have influence on the musical content of the album. I am glad that Steve still is the boss when it comes to that aspect.
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
HallowedBeMyName said:
I put my response to Foro's post in spoilers out of fear of the mods' strict spoiler rule.

There's no rules for spoilers for the album. The community decided to spoiler on its own. We never told you to do that.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
LooseCannon said:
There's no rules for spoilers for the album. The community decided to spoiler on its own. We never told you to do that.

I guess I was being "over" careful. And now I suddenly realize that people have started with the lyrics as well.
So, I'll remove the tags immediately. Much better this. :)
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Travis_AKA_fonzbear2000 said:
I thought I read somewhere the song was about King Arthur.
  that was isle of avalon. I highly doubt they would do 2 songs about him.
 
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