One of the reasons the unexpected re-discovery of Raoul Walsh's The King and Four Queens is a great surprise, is that you can see tiredness in it. In 1956, Walsh had been making films for forty-three years and Gable for thirty-two... The least fit in the group is Clarke Gable, who will die four years later. And it's around a slow and flickering King that Raoul Walsh organised his mise-en-scène. Stripped down, minimal, and very refined: a real 'lesson' in mise-en-scène.
While a total bagatelle, The King and Four Queens holds interest as a prototype to more fully realized films... and shows director Raoul Walsh and Gable effortlessly coasting on the fumes of their talents (particularly in a charming dance sequence), while composer Alex North and DP Lucien Ballard, working in CinemaScope and DeLuxe Color, are near the peak of theirs.