Hollywood vs. History: The Man Who Would Be King
The swashbuckling 1975 film The Man Who Would Be King was both a critical and commercial success, telling the story of two British Army sergeants turned adventurers and con artists in the time of colonial rule in India. Played by Sean Connery and Michael Caine, they work their way to Kafiristan, now a part of Afghanistan but then little known to the West since its conquest by Alexander the Great. There, the two rogues set themselves up as kings.
Brian Steed of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College examines the film’s historical accuracy – from its depiction of life in Afghanistan in the late 19th century to its take on British colonialism – launching the series Hollywood vs. History in partnership with the Command and General Staff College. It is offered both in person at the Plaza Branch’s Truman Forum Auditorium and via livestream over the Library’s YouTube channel.
Steed uses clips from the film and draws from his deep expertise in Middle Eastern history. He is a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served as a Middle East foreign area officer, living and working there for eight years. His discussion is set against today’s struggles in Afghanistan.
The Hollywood vs. History series is made possible by a generous gift from the Jerry Rosenblum Trust.