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  • I watched this film on Turner Classics as I had been entranced by it as a child, and wanted to see how it stood up to today's expectations. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that it was a rolicking good adventure yarn, that would be an ideal film for the family to watch together after a holiday dinner. As I had a tape of the TV version, with Peter O'Tool as the Llama, I was able to compare the two, which is why I felt that the 1950 version has worn well.

    The colour is excellent, the acting is very good, and the locations shots in India lend a great deal of authenticity to the production. I realise that many of today's audience will find the lack of sex and violence make for a tedious film, but it is precisely the lack of obvious sex and violence, it is implied rather than overt, which makes for a good family film. In fact it was a relief to see a film that did not include the obligatory chase and fisticuffs that we have seen in every film and TV series in the last 50 years.
  • Fans of The Great Game in general and Rudyard Kipling's Kim specifically will enjoy this film, I think, especially if they've read or re-read the book recently. While it is true the film shows its age, if you're not a nit-picker, you should remain engaged. Stockwell does a good job with the title character of Kim, who is the central character, just as he is in the book. While The Great Game swirls around Kim, the story is one of his education in the arts of spying and his devotion to his holy man. The courage portrayed by characters Mahbub Ali (played by Errol Flynn) and Hurree Chunder is reminiscent of the exploits of the real-life locals who served in the Indian Secret Service in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • This is a grand retelling of a wonderful story, with Flynn still shining through, though he is not in fact the main character in the tale. Young Dean Stockwell is the person who is on camera on almost every scene and he shows swagger and plumb that indicates a real talent and understanding of his part. While Flynn was certainly nearing the end of his career, he still showed he still possessed his outstanding ability to play parts such as his "horse trader" in this costumer, which no actors alive today, save Peter O'Toole or Sean Connery - who not surprisingly made another outstanding Kipling piece into the movie - "The Man Who Would Be King", are able to match. The movie is highly entertaining and the supporting players are veterans all and play their parts very well.
  • When KIM came out (1950) I was 10 years old. I was fascinated with the intrigue of a boy like me getting involved in a spy situation. Dean Stockwell was 12 or 13 at the time. The film stuck so close to me over the years that I wrote about it later in high school and remember it well to this day some 54 years later.

    Yes, there is action but not the usual, now-a-days blood-and-guts for two hours. In between the chilling scenes were the spy intrigues of the British trying to hold on to their empire. It was easy to tell the good guys from the bad. I admired the skill of Stockwell then and still do. His career has spanned nearly 60 years now.

    Watch KIM -- again and again. I still get something new every time I see it.
  • This is a nice version of Rudyard Kipling's notorious India tale, adapted in Hollywood style by Victor Saville and set in 1880s. Along with ¨Courageous captains¨, ¨Jungle book¨, ¨The Elephant boy¨ are the Kipling's most known adaptations. Kim(Dean Stockwell) is 15-years old boy posing as vagrant native , but he's actually son of a English sergeant. He's living on his own resources when finds a monk Lama(Paul Lukas) , a holy man. Kim is looking for a red bull an the Buddhist Lama on search for a river where Budda hurled an arrow becoming itself a sacred place. Kim also befriends an Afgan horse dealer named Mahbub Ali (Errol Flynn) . Later on , Kim is trained by English secret service(Arnold Moss) as spy. Then Kim receives orders of a Brit colonel(Robert Douglas) for a daring mission.

    This rousing adventure film packs emotion, feats, thrills and agreeable performances. Stars Paul Lukas does a magnificent acting as spiritual monk but is Dean Stockwell as the rogue waif , in the title role, who steals show. Although relies heavily on the enjoyable relationship between the protagonists , nevertheless the film is very amusing, providing some intense action scenes and lots of excitement. Enthusiastic supporting cast from Robert Douglas, Cecil Kellaway, Thomas Gomez, Laurette Luez and Reginald Owen as Father Victor, among them. Glamorous cinematography in glimmer Technicolor by William L Skall . Filmed on location in Rajasthan,Agra(India) and US, as Lone Pine, Alabama Hills, Sierra Nevada mountains of California and with production design by prestigious Cedric Gibbons and Hans Peters. Stirring and exotic musical score by Andre Previn. The picture is flavorfully directed by Victor Saville. Rating : Good and nice, it's an exciting family fare. It's remade for TV(1984) in an inferior version directed by John Davies and starred by Peter O'Toole as Lama and Blayr Brown as Ali.
  • A faithful rendering of Kipling's exciting tale, together with fine production values and an all-star cast, makes for great entertainment for young and old.

    I remember being read Kipling as a young boy, and while the animated Disney bowdlerization of the Jungle Book is unwatchable for anyone who knows the book, this rendering of Kipling's other great adventure is in a class with other great "exotic" tales like The Four Feathers and King Solomon's Mines.

    While some may fault the rather unconvincing casting of an over-the-hill Flynn, as a dashing thief, and Paul Lucas as an aging lama, these great professionals soon overcome that liability and assume their characters successfully. Stockwell credits Flynn for "opening the door" to manhood, something Flynn's character did For Kim.

    Dean Stockwell was at his peak as a child star. His impishness, as a white boy gone native, anticipates his screen persona after a successful transition to adult roles.

    Imagine a young boy (in a non politically correct era) being read or watching Kim just before bedtime. What dreams he'll have!

    By the way, while parts of the film were made on a sound stage or back lot - like all films with decent sound - much of it was shot on location - in India.
  • Excellent rendition of the Rudyard Kipling novel! True to the book, and preserving the nuance and subtleties of the original. A must see for any one and highly recomended for children. A great stocking stuffer, or gift for any child as an opening to the great writing of Kipling.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have always felt that among the child actors who managed to maintain their careers into adulthood, Dean Stockwell has been one of the best. He certainly is able to handle any role - he was the more sympathetic one of the two child killers in COMPULSION, and he played the amorous crime boss in MARRIED TO THE MOB. He even was Howard Hughes in TUCKER. His early films showed great promise too. Besides the one I am about to review, notice THE GREEN YEARS and THE BOY WITH GREEN HAIR and THE SECRET GARDEN.

    KIM gave Stockwell more than just a chance to play the central figure in a film. He was playing in a colorful background (India in the days of the British Raj in the 19th Century). He was sharing the central stage with one of the great film stars of the 1930s and 1940s (Errol Flynn). And he had a chance to play in a movie based on a classic story - Kipling's best remembered novel.

    Kimball O'Hara is half Anglo-Irish and half Indian. His father has been dead many years, so he lives with his mother's people on the streets of Calcutta. It is about 1885, and while the British are running India, memories of the atrocities of the Indians against the British (remember Cawnpore - see the review of Flynn's THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE), and memories of British retaliation against the Indians (such as tying Indian rebels to cannon mouths and blowing them apart) have poisoned the relationship quite deeply. Moreover, the Russians are active in the subcontinent supporting rebellion and dissent.

    He finds a pair of substitute father figures. One is the Hindu holy man, the Lama (Paul Lukas) who is seeking a final pilgrimage in his life to a holy site. When Kimball is identified as the son of a former army officer, Colonel Creighton (Robert Douglas) takes him off the streets, and puts him into a school. His learning is difficult (there is an amusing sequence where we see Kim cheating all the time, not realizing his pragmatic approach to learning is not what is expected of him). Eventually Creighton puts him in the hand of the spy-master Mahbub Ali (Flynn), who becomes the second substitute father while training him in intelligence gathering. The novel goes into great detail about this - called by Kipling (and ever since) "the great game". Kim is trained to react to stimuli as though he has a photographic memory: he can look at a bunch of seeds or jewels once and rattle off how many of each there are.

    But although he is patriotic, and follows the orders given from Creighton to Mahbub Ali, Kim remains deeply faithful to the Lama. Mahbub Ali sees this as an unexpected advantage: Kim can go undercover accompanying the Lama on that pilgrimage which goes towards the Russian Indian border (near present day Packistan and Afghanistan). So the novel (and the film follow Kim and the Lama on the pilgrimage - and show all the color and diversity of that remarkable subcontinent. It does not fail to continue the espionage, with Kim learning what is going on with the Russian agents (and relaying the information to Mahbub Ali, who is following from a distance as a back-up). But the crisis in the story is which of the two distinct missions of the two distinct father figures will get the upper hand in Kim's mind. And how will he balance them out?

    I won't go into the final details - the audience will not be disappointed by the resolution. The end result is that we do see a young, happy, care-free little boy turn into a thoughtful teenager preparing for manhood. Stockwell's performance was a very good one, abetted by Lukas as a simple and good man, and Flynn as a craftier one, but one who does keep a close eye on his apprentice "son". And the canvas of India won't disappoint at all. Definitely a film to watch.
  • I've always thought that Rudyard Kipling's Kim might very well have been influenced by Charles Dickens and his creation of those street urchins in London led by that young survivor, the Artful Dodger. Certainly Kim as portrayed by Dean Stockwell in this film is every bit as resourceful in his way as the Dodger is in Oliver Twist.

    The Dodger had the advantage of growing up poor, but growing up in his own culture in 19th century London. Kim is short for Kimball O'Hara who's growing up on the mean streets of India. Kim's dad was a British soldier and in this film, the mother who died in childbirth is also white. Kim learned the way to survive real fast.

    Which makes him of great use to British Intelligence ever worried in the 19th century about Russian designs on India. Of course what they were doing in India is a question not asked in these films.

    This is Dean Stockwell's film, maybe the best he did as a child actor. He's appealing as all get out in Kim. Adults like Errol Flynn as the horse trader Mahbub Ali who's really a British agent, Robert Douglas as the colonel in charge of British Intelligence, and Paul Lukas as the lama on pilgrimage who befriends young Kim are clearly in support of Stockwell.

    This is familiar territory for Flynn back in his salad days he had just such a role in The Prince and the Pauper supporting the Mauch twins as Miles Hendon. By the way you might get confused a bit when you hear Flynn's character referred by name in Kim. They pronounce it in the film as one word, Mahbubali.

    Flynn was loaned to MGM from Warner Brothers for That Forsyte Woman and a second film. He was given a choice of Kim or King Solomon's Mines, each film being shot on location in India and Africa respectively. Flynn opted for the Indian story although he got to Africa later in The Roots of Heaven.

    Kim is still a fine boy's adventure story, should appeal to the twelve year old boy in all of us.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Kipling had the key of appealing to the adventures of a boy's heart and Kim is no exception. A great summer read or movie, it is the kind of adventure boys dream of where they are free to explore, disguise themselves, spy, and fight as a hero all in exotic settings in the safety of adults.

    Kim is such a spritely soul, part monkey, part trickster, part diplomat, part soldier, who works with the British to solve a dangerous threat to their forces in India while solving his own mysteries of his past as well.

    Boys will enjoy living vicariously through Kim's adventures, but it does get a bit long sometimes, so I'd recommend getting the video and letting them watch in installments.

    And when I found out who Dean Stockwell was (I knew the name was familiar but couldn't remember who he was), that just added to the fun.

    Enjoy the adventure that is boyhood with Kim.
  • MGM's Technicolor adaption of the Rudyard Kipling novel of the same name. The plot's about an orphaned boy named Kim (Dean Stockwell) in colonial India who aids the British in putting down a native rebellion instigated by Russia. It's a colorful and sometimes fun adventure flick with a good performance from Stockwell and fine work from Paul Lukas (looking almost unrecognizable without his mustache) as a Buddhist lama. Errol Flynn's better days were behind him and it's painfully apparent in every scene of his. He looks paunchy and tired throughout and that dyed orange hair and goatee does nothing to help. Still, there are these moments where you see some of that roguish charm and can't help but smile. The movie was filmed mostly on location in India, which helps by providing some lovely scenery. I didn't mind the parts filmed on set, though, as the production values here are of typically excellent quality you would expect from Metro. It goes on a little long and is never as exciting as you would hope but it is enjoyable, particularly for fans of Stockwell or Flynn completists.
  • I saw the movie just after I had read the book and I realized that while some dialogue was copied verbatim, the end had been changed and the character played by Erol Flynn was given a greater role than in the book while the importance of some female characters that existed in the book was actually obliterated. Of course the movie cast the English as good and the Russians as bad as the book did and had all the trappings of the mythology of British imperialism as it would have been obvious in a book based on a Kipling novel.But the experience of watching it on screen was fine, since the movie had simplified some of the more esoteric meanderings of the book focusing on action or on the making a man- Kim- that is in character building, as the moral was that an essentially kind-hearted but mischievous oriental had to acquire the manners of an English gentleman-the role St Xavier's was preparing him for, and which he found difficult to follow-but at which he returned in the end through the guidance of the horse trader, a model of faith to the British. The role of he Lama was downplayed in the sense that the actions of his that the movie retained were only the ones that related with Kim's development as an individual and not the ones that had to do with his own spiritual quest. In the book, the Lama is just after Kim the second most important character while in the movie he is overshadowed by the horse trader played by Erol Flynn.Also importance is attached in the training Kim received in order to enter British Intelligence, an ambition that judging from the movie seemed to be what natives considered a crowning achievement. But still it is an enjoyable movie provided you agree with it's premises i.e. that the east is the playground of Westerners whose ways the natives would do well to emulate as Kim did or otherwise they would appear at best as well meaning but essentially exotic eccentrics as the Lama, or otherwise as dangerous criminals as all the opponent of British rule appeared in the film. The movie is really fun if you are a young westerner or someone who in latter life still retained this outlook but I suppose the same prerequisites apply to all Kipling's work- original or subject to adaptation.
  • girvsjoint26 February 2017
    I totally disagree with a lot of the reviewers here, I think Errol Flynn is terrific in this film, and proves what a great actor he really was. He brings the character of Mahbub Ali alive, and although it's essentially a supporting role, he's the main reason to watch this film, young Dean Stockwell if fine as Kim, probably his greatest child role in fact. The colour and spectacle of the India of the time are also visually very appealing, I don't know how close or not it resembles Kipling's book, as I haven't read it, but as a colourful stand alone, boys own adventure film, with some great atmosphere, I think it's great, Flynn has some great dialogue, and delivers it with his usual aplomb, in fact I think his final line at the end of the film, is one of the great closing lines of cinema, and perfectly suited to the character, and, the great Errol Flynn.
  • "Kim" is a Hollywood attempt at a literary adaptation that doesn't quite come off: on re-reading the book I was surprised at just how much is lifted directly from Kipling's original dialogue, albeit not always in the original context, and many of the familiar images are there even where the plot strands that were attached to them have been omitted. The little boys still ride astride the great gun in Lahore, the smashed water-jar reforms itself on the floor of Lurgan's shop, and the old woman from Kulu peeps shamelessly from the corner of her curtained cart.

    A great deal has been condensed in order to meet the requirements both of length and of the cinematic form; the most memorable parts of Kim's adventures, like those of Mowgli, occur before he is 'civilised', and the film does a good job of trying to reduce the strung-out remaining two thirds of the novel into a reasonably short timespan. Many of the added scenes, such as the one where Mahbub Ali cheerfully dispatches a would-be assassin and Kim tries for equal equanimity but fails, Creighton's device for helping Kim escape his pursuers at Ambala, and the boy's hard bargaining with the disguised goat-herd in the mountains, are true to the spirit of the book. Someone clearly did try hard on this.

    But what I would guess that MGM were hoping for was another Kipling-cribbed adventure story along the lines of "Gunga Din", and "Kim" simply doesn't come to life in the same manner. British-made films of India such as "The Drum" or "North West Frontier" capture the local colour better, but they also have the advantage of more sophisticated political dialogue and a more inherently cinematic plot. Ironically, "Kim" probably sticks too close to source: Kipling's novel was never intended as a conventional thriller, and once you take out the philosophy, description and the unequalled ear for the demotic that conjure up the author's India at such length, there isn't that much actual action in the book. The screenplay supplies some extra thrills to take the place of the novel's ignominiously simple defeat of the Russians and adds a couple of rooftop chases earlier on, with the somewhat creaky device of a narrator used to fill in the gaps, but it didn't really catch my imagination.

    Dean Stockwell is no Sabu, but he acquits himself well in a film that absolutely depends on its central child actor. He handles Kim's long streams of abuse or cajolery with aplomb, and looks if anything more convincing in Indian clothes than European costume, where he seems more the 1950s schoolboy than a child of the nineteenth century.

    Casting Errol Flynn as Mahbub Ali, the Afghan horse-trader 'as prompt as he was unscrupulous', was clearly a publicity coup for MGM, who awarded him top billing for what is really only a supporting role, and rewrote the story to give the character a more heroic place in the action. For his part, Flynn sacrifices not only his trademark pencil moustache, but his entire head of hair to the studio, appearing at one point with a shaven scalp and at another with a bizarre ginger stubble that suggests someone had misunderstood the concept of a crimson-dyed beard... He wears his costumes well, and the script adds in a couple of winking nudges to Flynn's image as a screen Lothario that aren't really an improvement; but on the whole he plays it straight, although relatively uninspired. There's nothing wrong with the performance but nothing really memorable about it either, although there is a visible rapport between Mahbub and the boy.

    Paul Lukas gives a good performance as the holy man whom Kim loves and protects, once you've got over the fact that he looks nothing whatsoever like a Buddhist monk -- more like an elderly Cardinal! The fact that he is supposed to be Tibetan is perhaps wisely glossed over in the script, and Lukas brings out the quiet steel behind the old man's unworldly determination, as well as his affection for Kim.

    Ultimately, however, I felt this film neither had the depth of character of its source nor the magic and excitement of the type of adventure it's trying to be; it reads as a tea-time adaptation rather than a film in its own right. I'd rank it as a 7 on my personal scale: worth recommending if it's on, but not worth going out of one's way to see.
  • Out of MGM, Kim is directed by Victor Saville and adapted from the Rudyard Kipling novel by Helen Deutsch, Leon Gordon (producer as well) and Richard Schayer. It stars Errol Flynn, Dean Stockwell, Paul Lukas & Robert Douglas. It's shot in Technicolor by William V. Skall and André Previn provides the musical score. Locations for the shoot were Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, India, and some work was done at Alabama Hills near Lone Pine in California.

    It's all very colourful, with performances from the cast to match, and the photography is at times gorgeous, but excitement is sporadic and threaded together by long periods of tedium. The story is a good one, tho the political correctness brigade would like to see the film given a Viking burial. Set during the British Raj, it tells how a young orphan boy named Kim (Stockwell) had adventures whilst becoming a spy for the Empire. The people he meets, good and bad, and his involvement with a Russian plot to seize India. Stockwell does very well in the lead role, and Flynn offers up some flamboyance. But it's ultimately too long at nearly two hours because the narrative is far too episodic. 4/10
  • Based on a Rudyard Kipling novel, this film boasts a red-headed Errol Flynn as Mahbub Ali, protector of the titled boy character, played by Dean Stockwell. Directed by Victor Saville, it tells the tale of how the orphan Kim helps the British fight rebels in India. The screenplay was co-written by Helen Deutsch. The cast includes Paul Lukas, Robert Douglas, Thomas Gomez, Cecil Kellaway, and Reginald Owen.

    Both the main characters dress themselves as natives of India, Flynn's because he's undercover and trying to infiltrate the rebel clan; Stockwell's to avoid school. Lukas plays a holy man that befriends Kim, and then works as his apprentice. When it is discovered that Kim is really a white boy, he is sent to a private school where his free and easy ways are punished. So, he escapes and catches up with Flynn's Red Beard, who trains the youngster in the spy trade. The two of them, with help from the holy man, work to aid the British during the time their kingdom included (occupying) India.
  • Many of Errol Flynn's bad career moves, particularly later in life, could be blamed on advice given by 'friends' who were far more comfortable on bar stools than making decisions, but in choosing to make KIM, Flynn had no one to point at but himself.

    For the second of a two-film commitment to MGM (following THAT FORSYTE WOMAN), Flynn was given a choice between two films. One would entail a long 'shoot' in Africa, with his role the central character of the film; the other would involve shorter location work, in India, with his role a supporting character, although he'd be top-billed. He opted for India, thus passing on one of MGM's biggest hits, KING SOLOMON'S MINES, with Stewart Granger achieving superstardom in the role Flynn turned down. While KIM was a pleasant enough film, it wasn't nearly the 'hit' of the African adventure, and did little to stem the 41-year old actor's fading career.

    The story of an English orphan, Kim (portrayed by 14-year old future "Quantum Leap" star Dean Stockwell), living on the streets of India and passing as native, while serving as a spy for the Empire, the production focuses on his 'education' by a holy Lama on a quest (portrayed by an oddly-cast Paul Lukas), and his covert activities, with his 'contact' being a woman-chasing, free-living Afghan horse trader/agent (Flynn, sporting a red beard and gray hair, but, as usual, simply portraying a caricature of himself). Evil is afoot in the Khyber Pass, stirred up by Czarist Russians, and Kim's knowledge and survival skills would be tested, even as his future is being decided.

    While the production was certainly 'family friendly', Victor Saville's direction often dragged, and the cast could not overcome the stodgy pacing. The location scenes in India were, however, beautiful in Technicolor, although the film's lead, Stockwell, never left California (due to his age). Despite occasional flare-ups of malaria, Flynn enjoyed his visit to the Far East, financed by MGM, and, with little responsibility for the film's success, and usually inebriated, his performance was high spirited, to say the least!

    With his MGM commitment complete, Flynn, after a brief stop in Italy to make a minor semi-documentary about soldiers (HELLO, GOD), would return to 'B' movies at Warner Brothers, as his career continued to free-fall.
  • I'd watched this picture in 1985 on television once, until march 2017 when the DVD come out with original dubbed version and l couldn't believe, for many years l've been looking for this movie, which is a vehicle to Dean Stockwell in this time Errol Flynn was already running down the hill, but it's an enjoyable movie adapted from Rudyard Kliping's novel about the boy who living as native Indian although he actually was son of English officer that helped a man called Red Beard and finding a Lama who is looking for a river, interesting as entertainment and adventure!!!
  • This film never fails to interest and please me no matter how many times I see it. Flynn was in the last stages of his career but his sheer presence and his charm are undeniable. He was born to play costume roles, woo women, ride horses and, if necessary, kill baddies. Dean Stockwell was a brilliant child actor. He was engaging but never merely cute. As Kim he is resourceful and cheeky but he is never superior to the adult world. Stockwell's Kim is visibly upset by violence and death. He is vulnerable and at times requires adult help. He is a boy in an adult situation and the adults are mostly in control. "Kim" was made at a time when most children aspired to be of help to the adult world rather than be the center of proceedings.

    The film captures Kipling's India. It is perhaps a sanitised and romanticised picture with India's rich colour and variety, human and natural, to the fore rather than true pictures of its overwhelming poverty and the oppressive domination by the British Empire. On the contrary, the British troops are seen as the heroes in "Kim". However, the film is really about being young and caught up in an adventure. It is about the thrill of being young and mentored by people you look up to as Kim looks up to Mahbub Ali and to the old Tibetan Lama.

    They can't and won't make them like this any more. But the past is sometimes a nice place to visit from time to time on a weekend afternoon with "Kim".
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a (fairly) big budget movie that could have been a lot better. It is also a poor transfer of Kipling's novel to the screen, for a variety of reasons.

    The raison d'être for this movie would appear to be the competition that television was posing at the time. One of the things Hollywood did to lure audiences away from their little box at home was to give them things that the TV could not provide: bright Technicolor, as in this movie, and often, colorful travelogues, either as short features between movies or as part of the movies themselves. The most famous example of this is Around the World in 80 Days, with used Verne's novel as an excuse for shooting colorful and exotic scenes around the world. This movie, if you watch the trailer, was presented as that, though it doesn't deliver the way Around the World did. A lot of the scenes are, quite obviously, either filmed on a sound stage altogether or filmed on a sound stage and then projected against film that was shot in India. Unfortunately, in both cases the result looks strangely amateurish for a big studio, big budget film. The landslide scene near the end that kills the rebel soldiers is probably the most obvious example of bad use of back projection, but there are others.

    The fact that the visuals were meant to be the big attraction may account for the fact that other aspects got short-changed.

    First, the casting.

    I disagree with some of the other posters on here. Dean Stockwell is generally inadequate as Kim. Far too often he just rushes through his lines as if they had been learned by heart and not understood. He's good in the last scene with the dying Lama, but too often he doesn't seem to be a real person expressing his feelings; he just sounds like a mediocre actor reciting lines.

    Part of the problem here, though, are those lines. The dialog is far too often stilted when it shouldn't be. In the novel, Kipling makes it very clear when his characters are speaking their native language, which they of course speak fluently, and when they are speaking a language they have learned (usually English) and over which they don't have the same command. The movie never bothered to figure out how to do this, and sometimes the characters speak in a very stilted fashion when they would clearly be speaking their native language, which makes them look foolish even when the lines are well delivered.

    Another problem with Stockwell that is not his fault is that the time frame of Kipling's novel has been truncated. In the book, Kim goes to school for three years, aging from a child of 15 to a young man of 18 before he gets involved in the intrigue at the end. This makes it quite believable in the novel. In the movie, Kim is still barely 15 when it all takes place - I assume so that they did not have to get another actor to play the older Kim - and it stretches credulity. To make matters worse, Hurree Chunder is killed off, unlike in the novel, so Kim is left to organize a lot of the dealings with the Russian and French spies, which really strains belief.

    Chunder is probably killed off so that Mahbub Ali (Errol Flynn) can play a more important role than in the novel. He, rather than Chunder, now organizes the routing of the Russians - though that episode is completely rewritten and becomes much less interesting - and not at all funny, which it is in the novel.

    It's also unfortunate that Chunder is killed off because Cecil Kelloway, who plays him, definitely gives the best performance in the movie. Flynn could have been great had he exuded the same charm and charisma that made him a star in the 1930s, but we seldom get to see any of that in this movie. The obvious comparison would be The Prince and the Pauper, in which Flynn also played against a boy who faced great travails. There he was at his best, as were the Mauch twins, who do a much more natural job of delivering dialog than Stockwell does.

    The change from the novel that I found most aggravating was the end. (Spoiler alert here.) In the novel, the Lama comes to an understanding of the goal he has been seeking, actually finds a river, and then comes to understand the nature of the river he seeks, which could be anywhere. He is quite alive at the end of the novel, and explains his entire philosophy in a very moving fashion. Kim will now have to decide, having finished school, whether he will continue to follow him or go back to the English. In the movie, the Lama has the hallucination of a river and dies, which makes him look crazy. Mahbub Ali then takes Kim to the English, deciding his future - something that Kipling's Mahbub Ali would never have done. In general, the Lama's role as a philosopher is greatly reduced in the movie, again, I suppose, because the attraction was to be the visuals and not the dialog. Decades later Steven Spielberg showed, with Star Wars, that great visuals did not mean intellectual dialog had to be sacrificed, but Victor Seville, who directed this Kim, was no Spielberg.

    So, for those who know the novel, this will be a real disappointment. It could have been better, with that budget, but it would have had to have been given to a better director and not approached as a Technicolor travelogue.

    But even for those who have not read the novel, there are too many weak points to make this anything other than sporadically interesting as a movie.
  • The film is named after a young boy (Dean Stockwell) in India who is an orphan and who has learned to use his wits to survive. He also knows that his father was in the Colonial Army and because of that, the lad has an affinity for working with his British overlords. And so, the boy becomes a spy for the British Army and eventually does his part to continue the British subjugation of the Indians. Well, that's not QUITE how Rudyard Kipling and the filmmakers saw it, but in essence it's a film advocating colonialism. All the anti-colonialists are bad in the film and the occupying forces (the Brits and their Indian allies) are good.

    "Kim" is a fun and enjoyable story even if it promoted an over-idealized view of the British in India. HOWEVER, it's also incredibly stupid. While I could see that the 'Indians' in the film were about as Indian as a cannoli, my uncle happened to be visiting and he was REALLY put off by the film. After all, he'd spent some time in India and said that the film was nothing but a long series of silly clichés--and was like a film made by someone who knew next to nothing about the country. And, with white folks painted up to look like Indians, it's even more profoundly silly. I think if they remade the film with an actual Indian cast (when appropriate), the film could really work. Imagine...Errol Flynn as a red-bearded Indian!!! And, the Hungarian actor, Paul Lukas, as an Indian lama!! Uggh!
  • More swings than hits in this 1950 Hollywood "adaptation" of Kipling's masterpiece. Mahbub Ali may have been a perfect Flynn role, but making him the hero of the piece in place of Kim himself and Hurree Babu -- gratuitously killed off, as is the old lama Kim follows, loves and learns from -- leaves out the crisis of identity Kipling's Kim must face, the central theme of the book. Also missing are Kipling's picturesque vistas of the India he knew and recalled so well, scenes he paints with words easily surpassing all the Technicolor location shots. One who has read and appreciated the book on all of its many levels will also miss its many memorable and important "minor" characters; its sensitive and sympathetic treatment of Buddhism and other non-Christian creeds; and will be left wondering whether it was the star, the writers, the producer, the director or some combination of the above who thought they could go Kipling one better by, among other things, replacing his almost-accidental crisis with a Flynn-caused avalanche, then neatly tying all his lifelike loose ends into a big Tinseltown bow. Three stars because it's probably the best job they could have done with it at the time -- sad to say.
  • Every moment Errol Flynn is on screen in this film sparkles with his undeniable panache. Every moment he is off screen (which is most of the movie) is either a bore or a puzzlement. Kipling's dialog works just fine on the page, but on screen there is no feel whatsoever that real people would talk in such a manner. What flows on the page is stilted when forced into the mouths of actual people. Dean Stockwell does as well as one can imagine with the title role, but everything he says sounds as written as the Declaration of Independence, not the spontaneous remarks of a boy. (The same applies to every character, actually.) The direction is flat and incredibly unimaginative for a major studio release. Scenes which could have had real dynamism are played in flat tableau. Sequences of physical action are staged as badly as a high-school play. (Was there no experienced stunt coordinator available?) Beautiful footage of India is interspersed through more prevalent scenes of largely cheap-looking soundstage sets. (A walk through an Indian train station shows not one speck of dirt or debris or trash on the floor, no sign of dust or even worn paint!) The rear-projection shots of principles on soundstages in front of Indian scenery are worse than the cheapest serials of the time. And nothing substantial happens! The spy games being played consist mainly of doing things through complicated means that could have been much more effectively done straightforwardly. The dramatic action of this film could have been condensed into a twenty-minute short, and the 113-minute running time of the feature would not have felt like 1,113 minutes. The only saving grace is the splendid work of Errol Flynn, who almost manages the impossible task of making Mahbub Ali a real and realistic person instead of a spout for the pouring out of novelistic and archaic dialog. Flynn seems to me to be at the height of his powers here, if slightly (and only slightly) past the height of his beauty. I rejoiced every time he (far too rarely) returned to the story. The rest of the time, I watched the screen with one eye and the clock with the other.
  • I enjoyed most of Kim, having never seen the Peter O'Toole version. However, I don't know where the director, or whoever, came up with the costume for the Lama. It looked more like it belonged in "A Man For All Seasons" or some such. Also, I don't think the Mahbub Ali character, portrait by Errol Flynn, who was very interesting in the book, was well enough drawn in the movie. Maybe with a more fully drawn character, Errol Flynn would have risen to the occasion.

    Lastly, I don't think the change in the ending was necessary. I really preferred the version in the novel. But that seems so typical of Hollywood, then as well as these days..
  • Keeping in mind that Errol Flynn is the marquee adventure film star, the film actually evolves around Dean Stockwell's character "Kim", a young boy who thrives on adventure and who takes many unexpected risks. Stockwell was only fourteen (14) years of age when he starred in this film opposite the established big box office film star Errol Flynn but he certainly holds his own against the seasoned veteran actor(s).

    Respectful that the film was made seventy (70) years ago, this adventure film still is able to capture a viewers imagination which I attribute to the excellent scenery, desert landscapes and superb direction by Victor Saville.

    I have watched the film twice and I look forward to watching it again a third time, not because I don't have a life, but because this film depicts a youth's adventurous life which all young boys (and girls) dream of.

    I give the film Kim a pleasant IMDB rating of 7 out of 10.
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