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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dorothy Dandridge was the original choice for the role of Tuptim. It has been reported that Miss Dandridge, who had just made history as the first African American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in Carmen Jones (1954), was strongly advised to refuse the role because Tuptim was a slave. The role went to Rita Moreno, who was of Puerto Rican descent. See more »
When the children are being presented to Anna, one of them turns and walks away instead of backing away as would be expected and the King reacts with surprise. The child recognizes the mistake but then continues to back away; however, in the next shot as the next child approaches Anna the first child is seen to be in front of Anna again, this time backing away properly. See more »
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!
Of course he can never be, if those who are closest to him are unwilling to help him!
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!
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Wonderful, glorious colour and Brynner in his finest hour.
Brynner is so strongly identified with this role that it is difficult to remember him in anything else. He gives his all in this performance, sometimes way over the top, but it fits with this movie which is in itself over the top, offering us the Hollywood version of Siam and introducing 1955 sensibilities to the era of 1862. No matter.
The musical numbers are great and hummable, most done by Marni Nixon, who dubbed for so many in that era of endless musicals and no-voice stars.
People who protest about the insensibility and racial aspect of these musicals (Showboat and South Pacific, etc. also comes to mind)don't get it - that this is a musical, composed about an unenlightened era and is not a documentary and cannot be taken seriously.
The play within the play is truly magical, I could watch it over and over again, it is a perfect little opera.
Deborah Kerr is terrific in this and should have received an Oscar. I felt sorry for the boy who played her son - I think they appeared again together in Tea and Sympathy, but I could be wrong - there was not much to his role, he had to stand around and just be pretty and nod at his mother a lot. Very difficult.
Rita Moreno excelled as usual.
8 out of 10. Not to be missed.
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