King of the Khyber Rifles (film)
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King of the Khyber Rifles Film
King of the Khyber Rifles
King of the Khyber Rifles.jpg
Directed byHenry King
Produced byFrank P. Rosenberg
Written byIvan Goff and Ben Roberts (screenplay)
Harry Kleiner (story)
Based onKing of the Khyber Rifles
1916 novel
by Talbot Mundy
StarringTyrone Power
Terry Moore
Music byBernard Herrmann
CinematographyLeon Shamroy
Edited byBarbara McLean
Distributed byTwentieth Century Fox
Release date
  • December 22, 1953 (1953-12-22)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.6 million (US rentals);[2] $3.5 million (foreign rentals)[3]

King of the Khyber Rifles is a 1953 adventure film directed by Henry King and starring Tyrone Power and Terry Moore. The film shares its title but little else with the novel King of the Khyber Rifles (1916) by Talbot Mundy. This novel was also the basis for John Ford's The Black Watch (1929). The Khyber Pass scenes were shot in the Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California. Released by 20th Century Fox, the film was one of the first shot in Technicolor CinemaScope.

Plot synopsis

In 1857, freshly-arrived Sandhurst-trained Captain Alan King (Tyrone Power), survives an attack on his escort to his North-West Frontier Province garrison near the Khyber Pass because of Ahmed, a native Afridi deserter from the Muslim fanatic rebel Karram Khan's (Guy Rolfe) forces. King was born locally and speaks Pashto. As soon as his fellow officers learn that his mother was a native Muslim (which got his parents disowned even by their own families), he falls prey to stubborn prejudiced discrimination. Lieutenant Geoffrey Heath (John Justin) even moves out of their quarters.

Brigadier General J. R. Maitland (Michael Rennie), whose policy is full equality among whites, learns that King knew Karrum Khan as a boy and charges him with training and commanding the native cavalry. The general's daughter, Susan Maitland (Terry Moore), takes a fancy to Alan, even falls in love, but the general decides to send her home to England after a kidnap attempt which was foiled by King. King volunteers to engage Karram Khan, the only man who can bring the normally divided local tribes together in revolt, pretending to have deserted.



Fox announced plans to remake the film in 1938. They were going to make it with Richard Greene or Victor McLaglen,[4] but plans were pushed back because of the start of World War Two.[5]

In 1951 the project was reactivated as a vehicle for Tyrone Power. Walter Doniger was to write the script and Frank Rosenberg was to produce.[6] By December Henry Hathaway was listed as director.[7]

In January 1953 Fox announced the film would be one of a series of "super specials" the studio would make in CinemaScope.[8]

In April 1953 Henry King was given the job of directing and Power was confirmed as star.[9] Guy Rolfe signed in June.[10]

Filming started 14 July in Lone Pine, California.[11] During filming, 22 people were injured when an explosion went off with more force than anticipated.[12]


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p248
  2. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1954', Variety Weekly, January 5, 1955
  3. ^ Daily Variety, November 9, 1955, p. 4
  4. ^ DRAMA: Tyrone Power Named 'Johnny Apollo' Star Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 20 May 1939: A7.
  5. ^ 'Khyber Rifles' May Become Donlevy Film: Arnaz in Powell Opus Sherman Slates 'Utah' Veidt May Act General Patricia Morison Cast Smith Wins R.K.O. Pact Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 18 July 1941: A12.
  6. ^ WAXMAN PREPARES FIRST FILM STORY: Producer to Screen 'Dreadful Summit'--Barrymore Jr. Signs for Key Role Of Local Origin By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times 11 May 1951: 40.
  7. ^ Looking at Hollywood: Cary Grant Grows Younger in Next Movie; Potion Does the Trick Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 27 Dec 1951: a5.
  8. ^ FOX FILMS TO MAKE 7 'SUPER-SPECIALS': Technicolor Features to Cost $3,000,000 Each Join List of 29 Major Projects By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times 6 Jan 1953: 22.
  9. ^ British Players Present Wilde Story on Screen Los Angeles Times 15 Apr 1953: B9.
  10. ^ 4 STARS GET ROLES IN NEW METRO FILM: Miss Kerr, Holden, Pidgeon and Calhern to Be Principals in 'Executive Suite,' Best-Seller By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times 5 June 1953: 18.
  11. ^ CURTIZ TO DIRECT 'COVERED WAGON': Paramount Remake of Silent Epic Will Have New Plot -- Terry Moore in Fox Film By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times 23 June 1953: 25.
  12. ^ PRISONER FLEES COURT, RECAPTURED: Friend Also Held, Accused of Aiding Escape From Detention Room Los Angeles Times 20 Aug 1953: A14.

External links

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