Thursday, August 13, 2015

If I Were King (1938)

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Francois Villon (Ronald Coleman) begins the film If I Were King as a thief. Along with a few other men he is stealing food from the king’s supply. The guards get wind of the break in and storm the supply building. Francois manages to get away to the home of the Franciscan priest who raised him. The Father recalls that Francois has always been a troublemaker since the moment he took him in as a boy. The guards have tracked Francois to the house. The Father cannot lie so Francois tells him to make up a story the best he can without telling a lie. Francois runs upstairs and so do the guards a few moments later. The guards find sheets tied to a bed hanging out the window so they follow it. A few seconds later Francois comes walking in from another room having never gone out the window.
            The Father takes Francois to church to repent for his sins. That does not work out very well because Francois eyes a beautiful woman and leaves the Father without a sound by himself. The beautiful woman is Katherine (Frances Dee) who is part of the king’s court. He follows her outside to her carriage where the guards come because they believe he is bothering Katherine. The head of the guards recognizes Francois and goes to arrest him. A dock worker who Francois had tied up the night before is asked if he recognizes Francois. The worker says no he has never seen Francois in his life. Without the witness’s recognition the guards let Francois go.
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            King Louis XI (Basil Rathbone) has a man who was captured for the raid on the supplies tortured. The prisoner reveals how to find Francois and his band of thieves. Louis and his aid dress in black robes and bring with them a certain kind of arrow that will reveal they are a part of some kind of group. Everyone in the pub mocks the king and says how horrible he is. Francois comes strolling in with his stolen goods for the pub owner to sell. The king’s guards come storming in and a large fight breaks out. Louis has Francois and all his friends arrested.        
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            Some things happen that I did not pay attention to and Louis makes Francois his new leader of the guards as punishment since Francois does not like authority. Francois uses his new position to his advantage for the good of the people. He acts like he would if he were king.
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            At some point I lost interest because I was totally exhausted and the storyline became a little boring.
            I watched If I Were King for Frances Dee. A lot of her films are difficult to find so when I found this on YouTube I jumped on watching it. Dee is, as always, incredibly beautiful. Her acting is wonderful too. Ronald Coleman was so fantastic as Francois. I loved seeing him act like a little kid at the beginning. I am so used to see him in these roles where he is a typical sophisticated Englishman that seeing him as a lively and charming thief was so enjoyable. Basil Rathbone deserves all the mention because his portrayal of Louis XI was hilarious. He put on this silly kind of high pitched voice that I was a little taken aback when I first heard him.
            Edith Head designed the costumes. The woman was ridiculously talented creating beautiful costumes. She made Frances Dee even more stunning.

            If I Were King is not a terrible classic film. As I said I was totally exhausted when I watched this and really unfortunately did not give it the attention I should have. If I Were King is worth watching at least once and is available to view in full YouTube. 
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