The Potato Who Would Be King

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It takes the death of a king to quiet CP's impeachment jones, and a king like Hussein of Jordan to live a life out of Kipling. Before he was 16 and a monarch, Hussein dodged death when an assassin's bullet caromed off a medal on his chest. For Sean Connery it was an arrow, and a bandoleer. The Man Who Would Be King (1975) was John Huston's last great adventure, based on the Kipling tale of two raffish Brits who venture outside the old Empire in search of suckers. Connery, Caine and Christopher Plummer as the journalist Kipling; great scenery; and a rollicking (this movie defines rollicking) theme song that you'll never forget. We wish Warning: When in Jordan, avoid the exclamation "God's own trousers!" It may be considered blasphemous.

And this Friday's Please Remain in Your Homes feature is . . . Mel Gibson in Payback. A one-named antihero, betrayed (and shot) by his wife and best friend during a heist, comes back for revenge and his money they stole -- ring a bell yet? Though it bombed back in the summer of love, John Boorman's Point Blank, is one of the best U.S. movies of the 60's, and a CP favorite. It's not only a nifty Godard-style critique of the depersonalization of America, it's a tres cool gangster movie -- and Lee Marvin's turn as the dully implacable Walker is the best acting of his career. Thirty years later it gets Lethal Weapon-ized (or at least "Maverick"-ized) with Mel as "Porter." Shameless, that Big Hollywood. But with the supporting cast -- James Coburn, Kris Krostofferson, William Devane, and Predator chrome-dome Bill Duke -- well, it might be kinda fun. Moral: see the first one first, and save Mel for a drab impeachment-drenched Saturday afternoon.