In 1862, young English widow Anna Owens accepts the job of teaching the royal children of Siam. On her arrival in Bangkok, culture clash is immediate. The king respects Anna for standing up to him, though this appalls his courtiers. In due course, she becomes the king's confidant and diplomatic advisor; their relationship endures through many trials. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The music and dancers seen during the formal dinner party are not Siamese, but Balinese. The music is in the style known as "gong kebyar", not yet known in the 1860's, but developed later in Bali. See more »
The banquet scene includes a performance of Siamese theatrical dance. However, the music which accompanies this performance is unmistakably Balinese gamelan, not Siamese. Furthermore, it's "gong kebyar" style, which hadn't been invented yet in the 1860s. See more »
[Anna, thinking the king is a barbarian, is about to leave. The Kralahome has had her brought to his office at night to reason with her. She is outraged]
How dare you treat me in this manner. I demand an explanation, and I warn you...
Be quiet, sir.
...that I'm a British subject.
That is nor reason you are safe. I could have you killed if that would serve my purpose. Such things are simple here.
[Walks across room]
Sir, did you enjoy your triumph about your house? Because you shall now ...
[...] See more »
I grew up with the story and the music of the musical, The King and I, in our household. It is a wonderful production. It would be a mistake to compare that musical to Anna and the King of Siam. They are of different genres. This story is taken from the writings of the real Anna and they provide a glimpse into nineteenth century times, when changes in world politics and communications produced stresses that would alter the map and the future of the world.
I found the acting in this movie wonderful. Rex Harrison, in his first American production, really brings the complexities of the Siamese king to life. He is a man torn between the traditions of the past and the necessities of change, which he embraces with open arms, even if his mind, from habit, is partially closed. Comparing his performance to that in My Fair Lady allows one to really see how he used his voice effectively in portraying the king.
One must give credit to those who took this narrative and later produced the musical, amending the story to create a vehicle more suitable to music and humor. But Anna and the King of Siam deserves kudos as a believable story that evokes real feelings for its characters. You may need a few hankies.
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