Victor Saville’s telling of Kipling’s epic novel Kim stars Dean Stockwell as the orphaned son of a British soldier who finds school too stifling and, disguising himself as an Indian, takes to life on the streets. Befriended by bandit Mahbub Ali (Errol Flynn), he’s soon involved in a plan devised by the British secret service to thwart Russian agitators who are trying to stir up rebellion in the Khyber Pass, but also spends time with an aged lama (Paul Lukas), who teaches him wisdom and the way forward in his life.
The film was planned in 1938, with Freddie Bartholomew and Mickey Rooney considered for the lead role, but the war followed by the changing political climate in post-war India put production on hold until 1949. Stockwell, one of the leading child stars of the time, turned in one of his finest performances and the film, largely shot in India but with some exteriors made in California, is a glorious epic with Flynn, resplendent in flowing robes and red beard, revelling in another swashbuckling role.
USA / MGM / 112 minutes / 1950
Writers: Leon Gordon, Helen Deutsch, Richard Schayer, based on Ruyard Kipling’s novel / Cinematography: William Skall / Music: Andre Previn / Producer: Leon Gordon / Director: Victor Saville
Cast: Errol Flynn, Dean Stockwell, Paul Lukas, Robert Douglas, Thomas Gomez, Cecil Kellaway, Arnold Moss, Reginald Owen