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The King and I (1956)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Musical | 29 June 1956 (USA)
A widow accepts a job as a live-in governess to the King of Siam's children.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (book) | 1 more credit »
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3,973 ( 527)

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Won 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
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Martin Benson ...
Terry Saunders ...
Rex Thompson ...
Carlos Rivas ...
Patrick Adiarte ...
...
...
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Storyline

Mrs. Anna Leonowens and her son Louis arrive in Bangkok, where she has been contracted to teach English to the children of the royal household. She threatens to leave when the house she had been promised is not available, but falls in love with the children. A new slave, a gift of a vassal king, translates "Uncle Tom's Cabin" into a Siamese ballet. After expressing her unhappiness at being with the King, the slave decides to make an attempt to escape with her lover. Anna and the King start to fall in love, but her headstrong upbringing inhibits her from joining his harem. She is just about to leave Siam but something important she finds out makes her think about changing her mind. Written by Randy Goldberg <goldberg@nymc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Fabulous Broadway Stage Success Comes to the Screen! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

29 June 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,550,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (70 mm re-release)| (1956 roadshow version)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marni Nixon was hired on a six-week contract, and she was to be at the studio every day that Deborah Kerr rehearsed a scene with a song in it. Nixon would actually stand next to Kerr and walk through the whole scene - both of them singing - and Nixon would be looking closely at Kerr's facial expressions to try to imitate her speech pattern in the songs. See more »

Goofs

Tuptim's play "Small House of Uncle Thomas" is an inaccurate hodgepodge of characters and scenes from the original book, but this can easily be understood as her best interpretation of the story as a new speaker of English who wants to use the story for her own purposes to change the King's heart. However, few of the references to Buddha or Buddhism within the song are depicted accurately and shows a clear Western interpretation of the religion. Some specific examples are that Buddhists do not view Buddha as God but rather as the founder of their teachings and the first to attain Enlightenment, they do not therefore pray to Buddha for help and guidance, they do not believe in angels, and they do not believe that Buddha calls them to his presence when they die; all of these are strictly Christian beliefs, most likely used in the story for the purpose of relating to a Western audience. See more »

Quotes

Kralahome: [to Anna] Why are you so blind; have you no eyes to see? King tries impossible task - wishing to be scientific man who know all modern things... He will only tear himself in two, trying to be something he can never be!
Anna: Of course he can never be, if those who are closest to him are unwilling to help him!
Kralahome: You do not know King as well as you think you do. You believe you have great influence over him. You will end up as his slave-like all the others!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Siam 1862 See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Screen Tests: Take 2 (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Rule Britannia
(1740) (uncredited)
Music by Thomas Augustine Arne
Briefly in the score when the British visit Siam
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A musical classic
16 January 2000 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Known best as a musical version of 1946 FOX film "Anna and the King of Siam" starring Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison, "The King and I" often takes a back seat to "The Sound of Music". Whilst the latter is both my favourite all time movie and musical, "The King and I" is only second to it. Most of this, is due in part to the wonderful performances of Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner and a delightful supporting cast.

Musical characters have been immortalised by few in the time musicals were fashionable. A few would be Julie Andrews' Maria, Gene Kelly's character from "Singin' in the Rain", Judy Garland's Dorothy and James Cagney's George M. Cohan from the biopic "Yankee Doodle Dandy". Brynner, in his best and most defining role, has forever left his mark on the King, arrogantly fierce, so simple, so desperate, so true.

Although not a singer and well known to be dubbed by Marni Nixon, the 'ghost' favourite of Hollywood musicals, Deborah Kerr gives another beautiful and loved performance as the English governess, with son Louis, travels to 1860s Siam to be tutor to the Royal children. Her performance demanded character, command and charm, and Kerr managed to successfully combine all three in a memorable performance.

But it is the Rodgers and Hammerstein score that tops it all off. The element of the screenplay in the FOX movie adaptions was not always the strongest. Tentative and urging was "Something Wonderful". "I Whistle a Happy Tune", bright, calming and inspirational. "Getting to Know You" sets the mood of happiness, "Hello, Young Lovers" keeps a note of optimism, and the rich, lush score of the overture and throughout the film make it memorable. But it is "Shall We Dance?", a joyful song that I believe to be the best of the lot. Although it is melodiously challenged because of Gertrude Lawrence's low voice range, it is still one of the best of the duo's scores.

Cinemascope, used first in the first of the Rodgers and Hammerstein movies of the year "Carousel", provided opportunities to open up moments in the picture. On a widescreen print, only then can the real grandeur, splendour and colour of the enormous sets and opulence of the movie itself can be fully appreciated.

Despite my love for the musical, since viewing both "Anna and the King of Siam" and the new Jodie Foster, Chow Yun-Fat movie "Anna and the King", the flaws in what was previously believed to be an accurate and true account of Anna Leonowens story, have unfortunately ruined the musical, both in Anna's life and the depiction of the Siamese court. The non-musical versions have been obviously more historically accurate, and the comparison of the three different FOX versions have all been noticably scripted to the fit the time of release.

But I have not yet allowed that to get in the way of enjoying a great musical. With "Anna and the King" as my favourite movie of 1999 of the moment, I hope it won't spoil things further.

Rating: 10/10


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