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The King and I (1956)

 -  Drama | Musical | Romance  -  29 June 1956 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 15,883 users  
Reviews: 72 user | 32 critic

Musical about a widow who accepts a job as a live-in governess of the King of Siam's children.

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(screenplay), (book), 1 more credit »
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Title: The King and I (1956)

The King and I (1956) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Won 5 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
Martin Benson ...
Terry Saunders ...
Rex Thompson ...
Carlos Rivas ...
Lun Tha
Patrick Adiarte ...
...
Sir John Hay
Geoffrey Toone ...
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Storyline

Mrs. Anna Leonowens and her son Louis arrive in Bangkok, where she has 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, expressing her unhappiness at being with the King. She attempts to escape with her lover. Anna and the King fall in love, but her British upbringing inhibits her from joining his harem. She is just about to leave Siam when she hears of the King's imminent death, and returns to help his son, her favorite pupil, rule his people. Written by Randy Goldberg <goldberg@nymc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the complete grandeur of Cinemascope 55! Richer - Deeper - Clearer! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

G | 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  »

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

The play was written for Gertrude Lawrence and her appearance in the film version was contractually guaranteed. However, shortly after the show opened she was diagnosed with cancer, and she died while still playing the role on Broadway. 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

Anna: Then how do you explain, your majesty, that many men remain faithful to only one wife?
King: They are sick
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits first say "Twentieth-Century Fox presents a Cinemascope Picture in Cinemascope 55", and then they go on to say "Darryl F. Zanuck presents Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'The King and I'". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.47 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Finale Ultimo: Something Wonderful
(1951) (uncredited)
Sung by Chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A wonderful musical that will be loved and remembered forever!
21 December 1999 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

In the 1860's Mrs Anna Owens was appointed by the King of Siam as the teacher of his children. He wanted to give them (and himself) a "modern" education, to impress visiting dignitaries with how up-to-date he was, so that they would accept him as a world leader, like them. He thought it would be a simple communication of knowledge and understanding, like someone learning a new set of jargon.

This naive and misguided motive, seeking to impress without really wanting modernity, produced a clash of cultures. Fortunately for all of us (and especially for the film industry) Anna kept a scrupulous and detailed diary of the whole affair. It was made into a film starring Rex Harrison, which was rather more historically accurate than this musical version, and was a very appealing film in many ways.

This film, however, has become legendary. Although it is based on the principle "Never let historical facts get in the way of a great musical", that doesn't matter at all, because it is a truly great and deeply moving romantic musical film. For example, has there ever been a more loving love-song than "Something Wonderful", which the king's number one wife sings in explanation of her devotion to him? I seriously doubt it! It's one of the best-written songs of all time, and could only have been written by someone who truly understood love!

The simple charm and joyful exuberance of "Getting to Know You", the unforgettable "Hello Young Lovers" which is a message of hope and encouragement to all those who love under difficult circumstances, "Whistle a Happy Tune" which helps when we are frightened and alone, and all the other songs have become famous.

Yul Brynner, who had been a relatively unknown bit-part actor with hair, shaved his head and gave a towering performance for the part, then spent the rest of his life basking in the glory of that one role! Deborah Kerr, who had given so many exquisite performances in so many films, also rose to the occasion in this one. Rita Moreno, who was a pin-up girl as well as one of the world's greatest actresses, is beautiful as the runaway slave.

It's a film that everyone must see at least once, especially now that they've put out a restored version. I've given it 10 out of ten.


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