Based on Ethan Canin’s short story “The Palace Thief”, The Emperor’s Club is about a prep school teacher named William Hundert (Kevin Kline) and his students at St. Benedict’s Academy near America’s capitol.
Hundert is dealing with a problem student named Sedgewick Bell (Emile Hirsch in younger days, Joel Gretsch), a senator’s son who could care less about his education. The teacher take an interest in the young man and even raises his grades — a conflict of ethics — to keep him encouraged and so that he can participate in the school’s annual Mr. Julius Caesar contest, in which the top three students compete in a quiz. During that contest, it is apparent that Sedgewick has help from the headmaster and already has the questions. Even though he loses to Deepak Mehta (Rishi Mehta as a teen, Rahul Khanna as an adult), their friendship never comes back. The senator’s son goes back to his old ways and barely graduates.
Twenty-five years later, Sedgewick is running to be a senator and says that he will make a big donation to the school if the entire class — including the person who should have been in the contest, Martin Blythe (Paul Dano in the past, Steven Culp in the present) — comes to his resort hotel for another Mr. Julius Ceasar challenge. Nothing has changed, as Sedgewick has an earpiece to get all the answers.
The teacher must now reveal to his old student what he did and deal with whether or not his career as an educator had any impact. As the son of teachers, this scene really resonated with me.
I’d never choose to watch this movie, so that’s why I love these Mill Creek decades sets. I came away really enjoying this film.
The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 2000s Collection has some great movies for a great price like Nurse Betty, One Night at McCool’s, Spy Game, The Shape of Things, 21 Grams, Baby Mama, State of Play, The Hitcher and Cry Wolf. You can order it from Deep Discount.